In 2024, the Austrian National Library will once again be presenting six "special exhibits" from its extensive holdings in the State Hall, curated by the collection directors according to their specialisations. These will be accompanied by expert lectures (in German), which are open to the public free of charge.
On March 18, 1863, a charity event for the benefit of unemployed weavers and their families was held at the Winter Riding School before an invited audience. Riding demonstrations in fanciful dress were presented, with members of the Austrian high nobility forming a total of 12 pairs: Six of them were dressed as knights in the style of the crusaders while the six Saracen couples wore oriental robes with Bedouin cloaks. Just one month after the successful event, photographs of the nobles in their precious costumes were available for purchase in art shops. Among them were studio photographs of individuals, group pictures as well as photographs of the aristocrats on horseback, taken in the lavish garden of court photographer Ludwig Angerer.
The object is on display in the State Hall from January 23 until March 24, 2024.
The winner of our most recent online voting "Everything for dogs and cats. Extraordinary animal objects" for the special exhibit is "Leo Belgicus! (Map,1656). The winning object will be on display from May 28 until July 28, 2024 in the State Hall as well as at an expert lecture (in German) on June 6. The next online voting will start on March 18, 2024.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, maps in the form of anthropomorphic or zoomorphic figures often contained political allusions alongside references to heraldry and mythology. The depiction of the 17 Dutch provinces in the form of a lion from 1656 was a look back into the past. The Leo Belgicus was a popular motif in Dutch cartography and here symbolises the former political unity of the Spanish Netherlands before the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648), in which the northern provinces won independence from Spanish rule. The lion looks south – towards the territories remaining under Spanish rule.
Due to filming, the State Hall will be closed from February 27 until March 12, 2024.
The Augustinian Reading Room will be closed from February 27 until March 8, 2024. During this time, no books can be provided from the collection in the State Hall. As a substitute, the Reading Room of the Collection of Manuscripts and Old Prints (Josefsplatz 1 in the left wing of the building, Manuscripts Staircase 2nd floor) will be available to you from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thank you for your understanding.