CHRISTIAN, Johann Josef
(b. 1706, Riedlingen, d. 1777, Riedlingen)

St Benedict Chanting Psalms (detail of the organ)

1754-56
Wood, 213 x 140 cm
Benedictine Abbey, Ottobeuren

Contrasting with the dynamic exuberance of the atlantes and the overall decoration is the calmer style appearing in the nine gilded wood reliefs representing scenes from the life of St Benedict. The sculptor conveys the idea of deep space through the perspective flight of the architecture and the variation in the depth of the relief, from forms almost in outline to forms modelled in the round. The restraint and gracefulness of his subtly modelled surfaces, distantly reminiscent of Ghiberti, create an intimate atmosphere in which is revealed the Rococo feeling for the supernatural and the ecstatic.