Gallery of Sciences

By Austrian National Library

Below the cupola fresco and above the walls of books in the copula oval, the sciences of the early 18th century are represented in the form of a gallery of scholars. In a painted trompe-l’oeil of balustrades and openings that encircles the copula oval, a series of scholars welcomes the viewers. The sciences are distributed around the room in accordance with the division of the Hall into a Wing of Peace and a Wing of War. The Gigapixel showcases a cupola fresco, which is many square meters in size. It at the height of 30 meters and the viewer can explore it from different angles. This three-dimensional spatial impression can only be reproduced digitally to a limited extent, which is why some figures are upside down in this exhibition.

Cupola fresco in the State Hall (1726/1730) by Daniel GranOriginal Source: The famous ceiling fresco in detail

The representation of the arts of war begins with shipbuilding. A soldier is holding the model of a warship, while next to him an older more experienced man is bending over a nautical chart with a compass rose.

Behind the balustrade stands an army commander with his baton, and next to him an old man holding a book about Roman camps. In the background, a trumpeter is playing in honour of the commander, while in the foreground a youth is playing kettle drums.

Geodesy and geometry: A young man is holding a field surveying table. He is looking at a group of four men who appear to be well versed in the geographical arts.

An old and experienced soldier is instructing two soldiers in the art of weaponry. Behind him, another soldier is looking at a target through a telescope. In the foreground, a young man holds a board with a petard used to force open the gates of fortifications. Next to him, there is a soldier sitting on the balustrade, while a second examines the plan of a fortification.

The representation of the sciences on the Peace side begins with the sciences of antiquity, numismatics, astrology and various forms of prophecy.
An old man is using a magnifying glass to examine old coins that he has taken from a box of medals next to him. Behind the box, a young man is leaning with one arm on a closed book and holding an Egyptian idol in the other.

On the balustrade of this section sits an old man presenting a Greek book of mathematics. Next to him stands a younger scholar holding in his hands a sunring, a simple type of sundial with the time scale marked on the inside of the ring, identifying this scholar as a representive of gnomonics (the science of sundials).

The mechanical arts and mining are presented on the balustrade above the large arch to the Peace Wing. Three men use measuring instruments to investigate the nature of water. Next to them stands a miner, allegedly a portrait of the artist Daniel Gran, with a crucible in his hand. He wears a sash on his chest, bearing the symbols for the minerals which, according to the contemporary classification, correspond to the planets of the solar system. On view are the signs for Mercury (quicksilver) and Mars (iron).

In this section of the balustrade, a teacher of pharmacy and anatomy is instructing a student, who enters the knowledge he has acquired in an illustrated anatomy book.

Credits: Story

Kurator: Hans Petschar
Projektmanagement und Redaktion: Maria Feher, Thomas Zauner
Übersetzung: David Wright

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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