The Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (formerly Hofbibliothek) is the Austrian National Library, and, with 8 million items in its collections, the largest library in Austria. It is located in the Hofburg Palace in Vienna; since 2005 some of the collections find themselves in the baroque Palais Mollard-Clary. Founded by the Habsburgs, the library was originally located in the current Prunksaal building and called the Hofbibliothek, changing to its current name after 1920 (details below).
The collections consist of: papyri, manuscripts, ancient and rare books, maps, globes, music, portraits, graphics, photographs, autographs and posters as well as works in and on Esperanto and other artificial languages are stored in the various collections and are available for scientific research.
The Prunksaal (en: “state hall”) was the former building of the Imperial Library, called the “Hofbibliothek” until 1918.
It was built particularly for the Court Library, and the books in the Minoritenkloster were stored (see: Minoritenkirche). The building was begun in 1721 by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and finished after his death in 1723 by his son Joseph Emanuel.
The sculptures on the building come from Lorenzo Mattielli. The Prunksaal is divided, after the original list of the books, into a “war” and a “peace” side, which is reflected also in the wall frescoes, from Daniel Gran. The fresco in the central dome represents a kind Apotheose Karl VI, whose picture is held by Hercules and Apollo. Around the picture of the emperor all kinds of allegorical figures are met in a complicated theme, which are to symbolize the virtues of the Habsburgs and the wealth of their countries.
In the time of Maria Theresia, cracks appeared in the dome, so Court Architect Nikolaus Pacassi strengthened the dome with an iron ring. The memorial fresco of Daniel Gran (in which the trace of a tear can be seen) was restored by Franz Anton Maulbertsch.
At the same time, the building wings were developed, which connect the Prunksaal with the Court Castle and the St. Augustine’s Church and form with it Joseph Square (Josefsplatz). Also in the Prunksaal are located emperor statues, created by the sculptors Peter Strudel and Paul Strudel (with Karl VI in the center), and four globes of Vincenzo Coronelli.