State Hall in the heart of the Austrian National Library is the most impressive place I have ever been in my life. We could have finished visiting the place in 20 minutes but it was so amazing; we stayed there for about an hour and a half. That’s what libraries do to me.
State Hall, also known as Prunksaal has its entrance right next door to Hofburg, the Imperial Palace. Even though your Hofburg combination ticket will not cover The State Hall and you will have to pay something like EUR 15, it is well worth it. Once you’re in, you can stay as long as you like and are allowed to take photos, too. Without using flash, of course.
Construction of this Baroque style library was ordered by Emperor Charles VI—hence the large statue in the middle of The Ceremonial Room—as a private wing of the Hofburg Imperial Residence. The State Hall was built from 1723 till 1726 according to the plans of the famous court architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, and carried out by his son Joseph Emanuel.
‘A library is a hospital for the mind.’
These books were singled out. You just wonder why. Have they been naughty?
The Ceiling of State Hall, Austrian National Library
The dome of State Hall is adorned with beautiful, celestial frescoes as seen in the photos below and above. It is the work of court painter: Daniel Gran. The frescoes were completed in 1730.
The Globes of State Hall
Among the exhibits are four exquisite Venetian baroque globes: two for the earth (terrestrial) and another two for the sky (celestial), each with a diameter of more than one meter. These globes are the work of Vincenzo Coronelli and located in the central oval of the State Hall.
Vincenzo Coronelli (1650 – 1718) completed and donated these globes to Emperor Leopold I in 1693. He initially had them placed in his summer residence. Emperor’s summer residence is today’s private high school and diplomatic academy Theresianum. However, in the mid-18th century, all four globes were moved to the central oval of the State Hall.
Due to the special representation of the heavens chosen by Coronelli for this celestial globe, the right and left sides of the constellations are not reversed, appearing against their unusual bluish green background in the same way we see them on the firmament at night.
Notable in this topographically very precise terrestrial globe with its numerous records on voyages of discovery are the very accurate and artistic representations of human beings, animals, plants and even ships.
The Statues of State Hall of Austrian National Library
The statue of Emperor Charles VI (above) is located in the middle of the State Hall is created by the sculptors Peter Strudel and Paul Strudel. Sweet!
Does that bottom shelf look familiar to you?
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