In 2023, the Austrian National Library will once again present six "special objects" from its rich holdings in the State Hall, which for conservation reasons can only very rarely be exhibited in public. This will be accompanied by expert lectures (in German), which you can attend free of charge.

The current special exhibit: Claude Debussy "La Mer"

Two of Claude Debussy's great passions come together in the first printing of his three "Symphonic Sketches" La mer: Throughout his life, he was attracted by the sea and was an equally intense enthusiast for Japanese art. He was particularly attached to the work of the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. Debussy selected the images for the covers of his works himself and for the 1905 publication of La mer chose Hokusai's world-famous woodcut "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" from the series "36 Views of Mount Fuji". Debussy's composition is not based on a specific observation of the sea, but was inspired by his memories of it as well as by depictions of the sea from the fine arts – such as those by Hokusai. The object is on display in the State Hall from July, 24 untill September 24, 2023.

Claude Debussy: La Mer



The winner of our most recent online voting for the special exhibit is "Luther Bible with Splendid Illustrations" (Printed work, 1544-1545). The winning object will be on display from November 28, 2023 untill January 21, 2024 in the State Hall and at an expert lecture (in German) on December 5, 2023.

The next online voting starts on October 9, 2023.

Objekt 1:

Luther Bible with Splendid Illustrations

Printed work, 1544-1545

This Bible was the last Luther Bible printed during Martin Luther's lifetime. The illustrations produced in the workshop of the famous painter and graphic artist Lukas Cranach are of exceptional quality. Paying great attention to detail and in unique splendour of colour, he depicts, for example, the evangelist John with his attribute, the eagle as one of the four winged creatures assigned to the evangelists as symbols of divine power. 

The Bible comes from the famous library of Prince Eugene of Savoy, which the Court Library acquired after his death (1736). The approximately 15,000 printed works, mostly first-rate editions from the book market of the time, are now mostly kept in the central oval of the State Hall of the Austrian National Library.

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