ASAM, Egid Quirin
(b. 1692, Tegernsee, d. 1750, Mannheim)

High Altar

Benedictine Abbey, Weltenburg

The first major commission of the Asam brothers was the decoration of the St George and St Martin church in the Benedictine Abbey at Weltenburg.

On 29 June 1716 the foundation stone of the new church at the Benedictine monastery of Weltenburg an der Donau was laid, with Cosmas Damian Asam as architect, and the shell of the building was consecrated in autumn 1718. The building opens from a porch into a lengthwise oval leading up to Egid Quirin's high altar.

The high altar is like a stage set: under a high arch the figure of St George on horseback in shimmering armour appears on a pedestal; as he pierces the dragon, the king's daughter shrinks away in vivid terror. They are framed by statues of St Martin and St Maurus looking on. Behind this triumphal arch can be glimpsed the fresco of the Immaculate Virgin on the globe with the serpent coiled round it, looking like a theatre backdrop. The dazzle created by looking against the light and the reflections on the gilded and silver stucco sculptures add to the miraculous impression.

The reliefs in the inner surface of the dome are also by Egid Quirin. They form the transition from the architecture to the painting: placed above the side arches, the Evangelists, sculpted in the round, form a link with the lower storey, while the finer reliefs above them, with their painted background, lead into the ceiling frescoes by Cosmas Damian. Their theme, of the Church represented by the Benedictines, struggling to save pagan souls, connects with the Church Triumphant on the ceiling. The architecture, sculpture, ornamental work and painting in this area form a perfect unity.

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