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

Interior view

St. John Nepomuk church, Munich

Egid Quirin was a deeply religious man who never married, and from 1729 he dedicated his entire fortune to the construction and furnishing of a private church, St Johann Nepomuk in Munich. He bought four houses in Sendlinger Strasse in Munich: he occupied the southernmost, the middle two were given over to a new church and the northernmost was intended for the priest. After his brother’s death in 1739, he mainly devoted himself to completing this church.

The façade of this unique private church, constructed between the adjoining houses is based around a triple portal: in the lower stage there is the door surround and above it the frame of the large window; finally, the whole façade can be viewed as a portal with huge side pilasters supporting the curving gable that soars above the adjoining houses.

The proportions of the interior are unusual; the width is just 9 m, while the length is 28 m. The roof had to surmount those of the adjoining houses so that the ceiling fresco by Cosmas Damian above the cornice could be directly lit by a window area. In their private church the Asam brothers created a superb Gesamtkunstwerk based on the combined effects of the architecture, painting, sculpture and ornament. In the high, narrow area all four arts work together, with none taking precedence. Each is carefully coordinated in colour with the others, making it a jewel among late Baroque religious buildings in Bavaria: red, gold and white, everything emanates a festive brilliance in honour of God. The crowning glory above the altar is the freestanding group representing the Seat of Mercy: painted in gold and silver, it draws the eyes up from the darker lower stage towards the fresco flooded in light where the Church personified appears within a quadratura, with the Virtues and temporal power paying her tribute. The furnishing of the Asam church was not completed until 1746.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.