Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Karlskirche church

Location: Vienna

Dates: 1715-38

Architect: Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach

In 1713 the bubonic plague that swept through Europe reached Vienna. Emperor Charles VI vowed to build a church in the honor of the plague saint, Charles Borromeo, if the plague would end. Borromeo was an Italian bishop famous for ministering to plague victims. When the plague finally had ended Charles VI stayed true to his word and Karlskirche church, “St. Charles's Church”, was constructed.

Charles VI held a competition for the design of this church in which Fischer prevailed. Unfortunately he passed away in 1723 and his son, Joseph, saw out the remainder of the construction. The church is located at the bank of the river Wien, and has a line of sight to the Hofburg and up until 1918 the imperial patron parish church.

The sculpture on the façade illustrates Borromeo delivering Vienna from the plaque. Also the reliefs that are found on the triumphal columns depict moments from his life.

Fischer captured architectural elements from ancient Greece, Rome, and the Baroque to design this church. The columned portico is reminiscent of ancient Greece while the two columns in the front have a similar appearance to Trajan’s column in Rome. The dome and bell towers can be attributed to the baroque style.

Baroque and rococo art and architecture by Robert Neuman

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