A walk through the zoo - in the library

A walk through the zoo - in the library

The Austrian National Library invites you to take a walk in the zoo, not in the green open-air, but to its Ceremonial Hall. One of the most beautiful rooms of the Baroque, receives the representants of the animal world, and the natural history “trip” in such an extraordinary environment can turn a very pleasant pastime.

On 24th of March opened the exhibition: The emperors most beautiful animals. The Habsburg pictures collection (Des Kaisers schönste Tiere. Bilder aus den habsburgischen Sammlungen). Its purpose is to emphasize the importance of the animals in the life of the imperial court during the span of four centuries.

Animal depictions are common in the pages, initials and miniatures, of the medieval codices, from the utopian to the everyday representation or even humorous display. Starting with the farm animals to the wildlife a wide range of animals are presented in their natural environment. Real and imaginary animals of the skies, land and the waters are all displayed in this virtual zoo.
The zoological collections of Emperor Ferdinand I (1793–1875) or the colorfull watercolors collected by Prince Eugen de Savoyen, from the former Hof-Naturalienkabinett, are presented for the first time to the public. Pieces representing scenes from the 18th century “Hetztheater” in Vienna appear also in the exhibition, together with the written impressions of
Prince Eugene regarding the sad fate of animals destined to entertain viewers with their tragical ending during animal fights. As a result of the many expeditions respectivelly scientific research, the collection of zoological images reaches almost 10,000 watercolors, collection which is the result of the collecting passion.

The exhibition, which runs until June 26th this year, is an enjoyable walk which encourages its wiewers to have a visit in the real zoological garden.

(Original: Ágnes Ádám: Állatkerti séta a könyvtárban)