ROTTMAYR, Johann Michael
(b. 1654, Laufen, d. 1730, Wien)
Apotheosis of St Charles Borromeoc. 1721
Oil on canvas, 130 x 58 cm
This painting is an oil sketch (modello) for the principal altarpiece in the east transept of the Kollegienkirche in Salzburg, built by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach (1656-1723) between 1696 and 1707. This altarpiece is one of the most important works from Rottmayr's later period. The modello is a smaller version of the six-meter high altarpiece and reproduces the elongation and distortion of the figures which create the perspective of the altarpiece itself.
St Charles Borromeo was the intercessor for people stricken with the plague. In response to an outbreak of the plague epidemic in the city of Salzburg, processions are held and Holy Communion is administered following the example of St Charles Borromeo. Rottmayr defined the location of the event by depicting recognisable features of the Salzburg landscape and architecture.
Rottmayr's style of painting was shaped by and bears the imprint of his schooling in the Italian, and above all Venetian, art of painting in the sixteenth century.