One of our lecturers’ books – the Modern Age
Eclectic is the word to describe the reading this weekend: enlightened absolutism, how to read a painting; Irish missionary monks and gothic architectural terms, amongst others
this book has been my lifesaver this last week as it’s basically the same broad brush approach to all of ‘western’ history that the course is trying to cover. We” gone from hunter gatherers to starting to write, the Greeks and Romans came and went, the Avars mysteriously appeared and disappeared. Irish monks travelled through europe as missionaries and Pippin became king of the Franks who crowned themselves Holy Roman Emperors and now we are at the very start of the monastic expansion in Europe and the birth of Austria
NB: I do not trust myself with German dates due to having to simultaneously translate and write at high speed and German numbers being expressed backwards to English – please check my facts. Things misheard or places where I lost concentration are marked ??
Today we saw the Babenberg Family Tree, Altars, the treasury and the wine cellars. You can take photos but only without flash.
Start in the Sala Terana which was opened 7 years ago. It’s an enormous baroque room/hall. Every Baroque palace had a sala terrana eg schloss hof in NO also has one. It was built as a waiting area or winter garden to provide access to the extensive baroque gardens. These were planned to stretch as far as the Essl Museum’s location today. This part of Klosterneuburg where we are standing was built by Maria Theresia’s father, who wanted to create his own version of the Escorial palace. Unfortunately, he died in 1740 leaving the lower portions of the palace unfinished.
For 240 years it wasn’t used at all. The windows you can see were bricked up and only a small door opening was left in the main entrance portal. Then in 2006 the Innsbrucker architect Georg Driendl http://driendl.at/?p=437 decided to open it up and present it as an entrance for visitors. The interior was left as a baroque building site, not replastered only repaired, where necessary. The infrastructure was improved with the addition of an underground car park. If you get your ticket stamped at the entrance ticket desk you can get 4 hours free parking.
They also installed a bio mass heating system This is underground and heats the floors. http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/museums/museum-profile/Stift+Klosterneuburg/991.htm
Lorenzo Matiela came from a family from Vicenza but was a Viennese citizen and he and his pupils created the 8 Atlases that run round the upper walls. There also used to be a wooden ceiling. The space was used in World War 2 as an underground shelter.
Moving out of the Sala Terrana to the next area we are told that the building is 5,000 square metres/ around 54,000 square feet. We can see the exposed brickwork which was not refaced with sandstone cladding during renovations.
Moving on down to the cellars in the foundations. There is a ventilation system which allows damp air to escape through ventilation shafts– a baroque aircon system.
Kaiser Karl VI
–why did he want to renovate and rebuild a medieval church and monastery? KKVI was KKIII in Spain. He was brought up in Vienna but then went to Madrid where he took over as ruler but Spain lost the war of the spanish succession and lost its colonies. Karl VI refused to give up the Spanish territories but the other monarchs did not want to see the earlier empire of Charles V recreated and so Phillip V got the throne, although Karl Vi did not recognise him for a long time. Karl’s brother Joseph died childless in 1711 and so Karl VI inherited the Hapsburg possessions and returned to Vienna and was then crowned in Frankfurt. Karl VI had therefore been forced to abandoned Spain but he brought the Spanish court ceremonial etiquette with him to the Austrian court. He wanted to build a version of the Spanish Escorial palace which had 14 courtyards.
The Augustinian Cannons regular were invited to this endowment and only a quarter of it was completed before Karl VI died. Because the monastery stood on a hill it had been necessary to build down under the existing church and monastery to a depth of 36 metres to provide foundations for the planned extensions to the pre-existing buildings. These foundations provide the cellars today.
The man responsible for the building was the official in charge of the Vienna City Fortifications. His name was Donato Fellice D’alio – happy garlic in translation. The bricks came by ship up the Danube near Wagram
Visitors watch a short film focussing on wine production:
Klosterneuburg is the first carbon neutral wine estate in Austria. Winter the vines are pruned and the shoots trained on the wires, spring time try to get as much light to every single bud so maximum sugar can be produced, in the summer the grapes are thinned so only the best will be harvested. Towards the end of September it is time to harvest the grapes and they are put in small boxes so they are not crushed on their way to the wine press, where wine making follows the usual process.
‘where heaven and earth meet’ is the slogan of Klosterneuburg Monastery.
The Augustinian cannons will be celebrating the 900th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone in 2014 -1114. Some history and pictures here. Margrave Leopold III from now on L3), Babbenburg = BB founded a monastery and invited the cannons. 47 cannons nowadays live in the community according to the rules of Augustine. There are 6 other ‘stifts’ or foundations of the Augustinian congregation read here for clarification . Klosterneuburg co-ordinates 700 cannons and 9 congregations directly under the provost
Special religious clothing = Habit or ecclesiastical garb or vestments include a long black cassock with 33 buttons – 1 for each of JC’s life on earth and a special sarozium – a long white cravat-like sash which is to remind them of their dedication to God’s work.
The legend of the founding of Klosterneuburg – 1106 L3 and his new wife Agnes are on the Leopoldsberg hill when a typical Danube valley wind catches hold of her valuable bridal veil and carries it away. L3 vows to build a church wherever the veil is found – but it isn’t found until years later on an elderberry bush and so he built a big Romanesque church/basilica like the ‘ Speyer Dom’ or basilica in English. L’3s wife Agnes was the daughter of Henry IV holy roman emperor who was in disagreement with the pope over the investiture process. See walk to canossa.
The Babenbergs had been given the fief of ‘Austria’ in return for favours since the 966 document which mentioned Ostarrichi for the first time and which is in Neuhofen an der Ybbs Ausrian cultural centre. However for a Margrave the daughter of an emperor was a good catch and her wedding veil was a part of her valuable dowry. (From Wikipedia: This was her 2nd marriage – she already had had 11 children with her first husband and went on to have at least 11 more with L3 – and may have had another 7 births!. Reason for marriages were dynastic to advance political standing of one or both families. She was also his 2nd wife).
In this location there was evidence of a celtic ‘castrum’ or fortification on the hill, then the Romans kept a military camp here. Asturis and Vindobona downstream with the13th legion. In the region of Upper Panonia, spelling = Pannonia, at Hoefflein, in the direction of Tulln with the border with Noricum. Roman border with the barbarians at its greatest extent in 2nd Century AD called the limes . Roman withdrawal in 5th century AD. The Babenbergs were entfeoffed/given this land as a fief click here for UK description of the feudal system and what a fief was). The land area was called a ‘Mark’ in German or ‘March’ in English which refers to a border region. The Ostmark = eastern borders of the territory or reich = eastern reich = Ostarrichi. The Babenburgs originally came from Bamberg. 1013 they founded and developed Klosterneuburg and L3 transferred his court downstream from Tulln. His son Henry II named Jasomirgott moved the court to Vienna, ‘am Hof’ at the court. He founded the Schottenstift.
Capella Speciosa was built in 1200, making it the first gothic church, in Austria. It used red/white marble. Joseph II came to the throne after death of his mother MT in 1780 and wanted to reform and made drastic changes in society and in the state’s relationship with the church. His policy is called Josephinism. Monasteries were dissolved and many churches were torn down, including the church at Klosterneuburg in 1790. The interior was sent to the Franzensburg in the Laxenburg palace complex 10 miles south of Vienna.
L3 was a peaceful ruler and enjoyed peace in his land for 40 years – no mean feat at that time. He didn’t take part in the Crusades. He died, as every Austrian will tell you on 15 November 1136. This day is a holiday in parts of the country since he is the patron saint of Austria, Vienna, Upper and lower Austria= as well as death of children, large families and step parents.
In klosterneuburg, Niederoesterreich there is a special fair/festival at the monastery to try the new wine and to take part in the old tradition of Sliding down the Barrel or Fesslrutschen. This old barrel contained 1000 buckets of wine and in the olden days the vintners would throw their harvest into the barrel. It’s a 200 year old tradition Visitors pay €2.50 to slide down the barrel. 12,000 people one year generated income for their support of Konkordia programme to help orphans in Moldova, Romania and South Africa. The monastery owns land and is a major wine producer and therefore plays an important role in the local economy.
In the 14th century it was decided to erect a south tower on the church and a north tower in the 17th century. F Schmidt, the architect who designed the Vienna town hall on the Ringstrasse renovated the façade in 19th century. Now there are two ‘spires., before there was an onion dome and a corner tower. The artwork was kept safe during the 2nd world. The NS regime in 1942 appropriated the ‘vermoegen’ of the monastery. On St Leopold’s day 1945 the canons regular took the monastery over again.
Augustinian beliefs: his death day is 28 August so the day before 27 August is the start of the way into the order for novices with a robing ceremony – see previous hyperlink for procedure. A more detailed break down with all of the various groups and associated orders here
Wherever the Augustinians own land there will be a cannon to look after things – so there are pastors in Hietzing, Grinzing, Sievering, Heiligenstadt, Bergen in Norway, long island, USA , etc. There are 20 in Austria, 7 in Italy, 4 in Norway – the Bishop of Norway is an Augustinian
We moved upstairs to a court, there should be 4 of them – we can see the small archdukes hat on one of the domes. Everything is being renovated for the 900th anniversary. In the summer there is open air opera in the court yard – it has concert hall acoustics and the singers don’t need microphones when they perform in front of an audience of 800.
The passage through the court yard is tiled with wood to muffle the clatter of the horses hooves.
We go upstairs; The monastery is only open 13.30 for guided tours and the museum is open 9 .00– 18.00. There is a model of what has been built from the plans for the Austrian Escorial – the completed parts are in grey and are only 25 percent.
We go into the marble hall and we are above the Sala terrana. It was painted in 1749 – Kaiser Karl VI had started having it built in 1640 and it wasn’t finished at his death – there were no ceiling frescoes. The frescoes clearly show the Hapsburg power at the time – the reign following was Maria Theresa. There is an obelisque with a medallion. Margrave Leopold 3 and nearby 3 angels/small fat angels are cherubs/ have ‘the veil’ their hand. A further group has a roman emperor opposite MT they both have a heart in their hand and to show it was a love marriage. Near MT is a woman with a full horn – symbolising fertility and MT had 16 children- 11 girls/5 boys.
Another group has the crown of the Romans. Wenceslas’ crown of Bohemia and the Hungarian crown.
From the marble hall we get a good idea of the planned size of the palace as they are always symmetrical and should extend from this central point as far to the right as it does down the long corridor to the left.
KK6 had his furniture brought up from Vienna when he came to KNBG. One room is dedicated to the visit of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1805 – he only stayed 30 minutes. The furniture is ‘empire style and, therefore, not typical of the time of KK6, rather 100 years later. The rooms are heated by majolica ovens. They are typical of ovens in palaces where there is no access to the oven from the state rooms – everything is cleaned and served from behind and out of sight of the nobility.
The question is why did KK6 want to build an Escorial here? They Hapsburgs came here on 15 Nov for Leopolds’ day. In 1485 L3 cannonised .
In 1663 Leopold VI was elected emporer. With his entire family and the court – in total about 300 people they came to get authorisation for their emperor status from the Provost and to hunt for wild boar etc
The golden decorated majolica oven is example of absolutism. He had the Karlskirche built – same 3 columns – the emperor and flying over him genius holidng a laurel wreath and trumpeting the might of the emperor. Italian craftsman were brought in to do the stucco work on the ceiling.
There is a big table and also of note are two Japanese vases that were brought to Vienna for the World Exhibition in 1873. The walls are hung with Gobelin tapestries. On the wall in the last room is another plan of the building to recap where we have been.
In this room a portrait of KK 6 wearing a fur cape On a cushion in the picture are symbols of his worldly power the Imperial crown and the Orb.
The ceiling frescoes deal with power and Permanence?. The rock of Gibraltar is mentioned – interesting for UK guests – one of the possessions lost in the war of the Spanish succession.
Up the stairs to the art collection
Medieval art, sculpture. Taken to look at Rueland Frueauf the younger who also painted the veil story.
Famous picture of St Leopold. Always depicted holding the church he founded and with his crown – in the schatzkammer now.
The call for Leopold to be canonised came from Rudolph IV – der Stifter/The founder who established Vienna University and the Stefanskirche. He went to the pope – the whole process took 120 years on 6 January 1485 Leopold was canonised. In order to bring the Babenburgs closer to the people the Babenburger family tree was commissioned as an educational tool to tell the people more about the family, Family tree was painted at the end of the 15th C. and it provides a fascinating record of the actual fashion of the time. On the right and the left are the women and the wives – including Agnes wearing her coronet. She founded a women’s order and had her St Agnes day. In Herrenchiemsee today there are 2 islands in the lake called men’s and women’s islands. in the middle Leopold III with children holding his hand. They had 17 kids, although 7 died in infancy. He also founded Klein Mariazell and the Cistercian monastery of Heiligenkreuz.
Leo 3 had plans for his son Otto to be important in the church so sent him to France, Paris was centre of religious study at the time. Otto joined the Cistercians so Leo 3 founded a Cistercian monastery when he returned and Otto went on to be Otto of Friesing.
An important historical source are the family records on 8 oak panels written by the chronicler Ladislaus Sunthaym. It was Sunthaym who gave the Babenberg rulers their epithets, e.g Rudolph the founder, Leopold/Luitpold II the fair, Leopold III the good/the pious, Henry Jasomirgott, Frederic the quarelsome etc.. The same time as L3 was canonised.
Outside the monastery the area in front should all have been taken up with the Escorial building but MT decided to focus on Schoenbrunn and she was broke after the wars for her succession – see Birgitte Hamman Die Hapsburger and Erich Zoellner Geschichte Österreichs.
In front of the palace, near the Light column we can see several kilometres across to the Leopoldsberg and just how far the veil travelled on the wind to where we are standing.
Klosterneuburg ??130 EW? 40 wine estates – it is a wine city. The Leopoldi market is held where we are standing. Over to the left with our backs to the church is the Nunnery Agnes founded. There is a wine press in the basement from ?1653. If we turn back to look at the church we can see how the palace directly abuts the apse of the church.
There used to be a burial ground where we are standing and we can see the tall stone column which is known as Tutz column which dates from the plague time and was lit in the cemeteries. You can see a small door near the top where the light was housed. Other features of the area are the surrounding wall of the former palace from gothic times.
W e now got into Sebastian’s chapel to see Albricht’s altar. It dates from 1790 but the wooden roof is modern. Underneath in the crypt is the burial place of the cannons who have been buried here since 1800. Before they were buried near the cloisters
What does CHORHERR mean? Canons regular are members of certain bodies of Canons living in a community under the Augustinian Rule (“regula” in Latin.
Albrecht’s Altar is a gothic winged altar from the church in the court ?in Vienna. The church was baroque-ised and rebuilt so the alter was cut up into panels. There are Sunday sides and feast day sides. In 1774 the chamber of Rarities bought the panels and at the beginning of the 20th C. began to think about how they had been organised in a display and they put them back together. The style is called gothic realism after the school of the master painter Kaschauer school there were many pupils eg a winged altar in Ghent .na
The name of the painter is Albrechts’master. The material skirt underneath the altar was woven to replicate the material shown in one of the panels by the company Backhausen. The altar tells the story of the virgin Mary showing her with her parents, the birth of Christ and her death. In one of the panels which purports to show the gates of Jerusalem we can see the earliest existing representation of Vienna –In 1433 the Stefansdom tower was completed and it can be seen together with the spire of Maria on the Strand with the Vienna woods in the background. There is a full tour in the summer of the Albrechts’ altar.
In the courtyard again we go past a gothic oriel window and then into a film on the Verduner Alter.
It has been looked after for 800 years by the Augustinian canons in St Leopolds’ chapel. The design has 3 rows – the central row is the new testament in chronological order and ends with Christ as the saviour of the world. Top and bottom are images from the Old Testament -in the upper row is before Moses was given the 10 Commandments and in the lower row is after he was given them. On the left is the annunciation of Isaac, then the annunciation of Mary the old testament and new testament are shown as indivisible from each other.
The Goldsmith was Nikolas of Verdun. The enamel plates were originally used to clothe the outside of a pulpit. After a disastrous fire in the church they were rescued at the last minute, 6 new plates were added to make a wing altar. On the reverse side are the oldest examples of their kind. The artist worked for 10 years on the altar and during that time his style changed from sketchy and stylistic to monumental and better able to portray emotions. Shadowing and colours were used to good effect. Famous plate of hell has a monk, a bishop etc. The film is available in many different languages.
Next paragraph unclear: History. The life of Christ is meant to be read vertically – in the middle is Christ on the cross . The relic of the skull in velvet and silk? Leo is covered with the archducal coronet. In this chapel the ceiling paintings are of Leo and Agnes. A monastery is as important as the relics it possesses.
Go into the church;
The church always had its present size. It has a main aisle and 2 side aisles . It was restyled in baroque but this took a long time – started with the west entrance? 2 gothic organs were combined to make one Baroque one in 1746. The church puts on wonderful organ concerts. Additionally, the organ is played on feast days.
The altar area was also baroquised and an emperor’s loge built on St L’s day so the emperor took his place and this pilgrimage informed the design so the altar is higher. Leopold ‚hat Stift mit Geld und Boden geschenkt.‘
In 1108 a Marian altar in Neufenburg was mentioned. Why is KNBG called KNBG L3 founded the monastery and built a new castle. The church has underfloor heating.
Follows more adventures in the tunnels beneath the monastery. You can, in theory, come up the hill under the terrace from the Sala terrana.
Cannot get too close due to laser security. The oldest work of art in the monastery is this 7 armed candelabra of guilded bronze dating from 1130. It had been decorated with crystals but now they are glass. Inside it is supposed to be a piece of the Elderberry bush where the veil was found. It comes from Verona. Verona had a bronze foundry. The Verduner altar used to stand in this chapel, called the fountain house but there wasn’t a spring here rather it was the place where the ritual washing of deceased cannons took place prior to burial. 1882 the glass windows were renovated.
The cloisters are glazed here /are closed in with windows, which is unusual for cloisters but they face north and cloisters are usually south facing.
In new room with the rear side of the Verduner altar, don’t go to near because of the security installation:
The panels have been on show here for 7 years. When the altar was in the church there was a proscenium arch between the altar and the congregation and it is represented with some stones still bearing remnants of the brightly coloured fresco painting that was normal in Romanesque churches. For example, Ox blood was mixed in for red. here are a few examples of photos of painted Romanesque churches
Holy figures in the chapel speciosa . Only 8 now above the door. They are half figures from one trunk of ash and the centre has been hollowed out to make them more stable – typical Wienerwald design.
A sandstone pieta out of limestone – note the expression of the pain and the lines on the face. These soft stone statues have been worn down over the centuries due to their exposure on the west façade of the church.
Another precious object is an early bible in the vernacular from the beginning of the 16th century.
Who was Frederik III? The first holy roman emperor and father of Max I – the man who prepared his own mausoleum in the court church in Innsbruck. Max moved Leo3’s bones in 1506.
It has been redesigned to be more accessible and to enable the flow of visitors. It is suited to self guiding with an audio guide but group tours are also offered. Children particularly enjoy the gory horror of seeing St Leo’S skull. The treasures are houses in purpose built cabinets in the baroque style from a master carpenter/cabinetmaker Marcel Ortner. It took him 3 years. A year ago, before the renovations, they were on the floor above and they had to be dismantled and then fitted together again like a jigsaw puzzle. The interiors were newly fitted during which time many interesting old newspapers were found when the old interiors were removed. Not all the cabinets are open – Leopold’s relic is in one and this is only displayed in the Leopold’s chapel on St L’s day.
The archducal coronet/hat was in a cabinet and was awkward to see so it’s now displayed in the centre of the room behind high security glass. It was donated in 1616 from Archduke Max3 governor of Tirol and Grand Master of the Teutonic order. He is buried in Innsbruck cathedral.
Why was it donated? It was in tribute/honour of St Leo. It was made by an Innsbrucker Goldsmith and kept in the tiny pilgrimage church of Maria Stein near Kufstein in a glass case. That one is silver and this one is gilded silver.
The Priviligem Minus – this was acquired at the Reichstag in Regensburg in 1156 and had raised the margraves to dukes which was a step up the aristocratic ladder but they need to be archdukes to qualify to vote for the Holy Roman Emperor. Rudolph IV’s father in law was Kaiser Karl VI – Wenzel in Prague. So in a bit of trickery he used his father in law to ‘falsify’ documentation to get a priviligem maius to elevate the dukes to archdukes The heartland of Austria was upper Austria and Lower Austria. Since 1616 hereditary homage was provided for Political power?
The archducal coronet wasn’t worn and had a ceremonial significance – it would be in its open red case on state occasions. The hat is called a hat because of its band of ermine. It has a cross on the top and a blue sapphire from Cambodia and sweet water pearls.
Ferdinand II brought the hat to Vienna in 1620 and then it went back in 1835 with Ferdinand Hapsburg to Hungary/Frances I. The German Roman emperor gave it back. Franz Josef didn’t pay any hereditary homage(erhuldigung). In the revolutionary year 1848 it was put in the treasury in the ministry.
Another important item is the veil monstrance – in the middle is the ‘umula’ which is a half moon shape and at corpus Christi the host is put in there. The monstrances were just on show in the church – they were too heavy to parade around. They have scientifically tested the material in the monstrance and it would appear to date to 1200 and originate from Syria but we don’t know for sure if it really was Agnes’s. Ursula kupfers are to do with St Ursula and the 11 virgins.
The treasury has a wonderful collection of ecclesiastical robes and regalia, some from Jugendstil artists. The cope in the cabinet weighs 20 kg due to metal supports inside. Other precious things on view in other rooms are ivory and precious metal religious items.
There is a life for wheelchairs so the museum is ‘barrier-frei’ = fully accessible
Great press release in English with lots of clear facts: http://www.stift-klosterneuburg.at/resources/files/2012/11/8/4463/pressemappe-jaenner-2012-engl.pdf
- Some general ENGLISH SOURCE MATERIAL background – non-academic – to monasteries in Austria here from the very well written tourmycountry.com – well worth a look if you are not sure of your wording or need a good phrase to describe something tricky.
In German: 300 years of Karl VI from the Austrian state archives – inc. sections on the plague, international trade, court ceremonial here
We were recommended to read about
Investitionsstreit – investiture controversy here
War of the Spanish succession start with encyclopaedia britannica
Pragmatic sanction – Wikipedia here
St Augustine was baptised by bishop, later st Ambrose in Milan
The first practical trip will be to Kosterneuburg – long German word. Kloster = monastery; neu = new; burg – castle. We will be looking around the 900 year old monastery complex and also visiting a modern art collection. i visited Klosterneuburg about a year ago and here are my spring like photos.
when you read you begin with ABC, when you want to be a Tour Guide in Vienna you begin wih WIFI – that’s ‘wiffy’ not WIFI.
And so begins my Odyssy. My life’s challenge in German. The realisation that you really only do have one life and time starts to run out to do the things you really want to do. The economic crisis, redundancy and an unattractive new offer post-restructuring were signs that it was time to grasp the opportunity to do something else and here I am.
The first week of lectures is drawing to a close – I am not a particularly gifted linguist so taking notes for 3 hours in German – the devil’s own language – is somewhat challenging but hey you can do it if you put your mind to it.
On ne peut pas faire une omelette sans casser les oeux -French traditional proverb.