FISCHER VON ERLACH, Johann Bernhard
(b. 1656, Graz, d. 1723, Wien)

Exterior view

begun 1715
Photo
Karlskirche, Vienna

The Karlskirche (St Charles Church) was commissioned by Emperor Charles VI in thanks for answered prayer after the 1713 Black Plague in Vienna. The construction on the church began in 1715. The Baroque master Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach did the original work from 1716 to 1722. After his death in 1723, his son took over and saw the project through to completion in 1737. Johann Michael Rottmayr painted many of the frescoes inside the church from 1725 to 1730.

The design of the church combines architectural elements from ancient Greece (the columned portico), ancient Rome (the two Trajanesque columns), and contemporary Viennese Baroque (the dome and towers). The green copper dome rises 72 meters high, making it a major landmark on the Viennese skyline.

The great columns of the façade, designed in direct imitation of Trajan's Column in Rome with a Baroque touch at the top, represent the most interesting feature of the church. The reliefs depict scenes from the life St Charles Borromeo.

The picture shows the west front.