Sunday, September 30, 2012

St. Stephen's Cathedral - Vienna

First a link to tell the complete story of this beautiful church.  St. Stephen's Cathedral with its tall tower is very much the landmark around which the rest of the city revolves.  Built on an ancient cemetery and the remains of two previous churches, it has survived wars, weather, looting and fire.  Its preservation and repair have been ongoing since its original construction in the 12th century.

The tower combined with the highly ornate roof have it made it one of Vienna's most recognizable buildings.  

Inside, the building is a gallery of marble sculpture, paintings, and wooden carvings.

I'm sure I am not the only one who counts the pulpit as a favorite piece.  It stands in the the nave instead of at the front of the church. 

Long attributed to Anton Pilgram, new evidence points to Niclaes Gerhaert van Leyden as a more likely carver.   Beneath the stairs is a small portrait. The chisel in the subject's hand, and the stonemason's signature mark on the shield above the window indicate that it is most likely a self-portrait of the sculptor. The locals call this portrait Fenstergucker:  gucker, German for gawking; fenster, German for window. 

One of the most interesting aspects of the pulpit are the relief portraits of the four original doctors of the church.  Each of them is portrayed in one of four different temperaments and in one of the four different stages of life. 


Another favorite, the tomb of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor.  

The baptismal font

The massive pillars are all covered in carvings.  This one is a  beautiful Madonna sheltering figures representing all walks of life. 

I don't have a clue who he is supposed to be, but he's pretty wonderful.

The organ

The main altar.

A side chapel

One of many, many carvings gracing a pillar - a work that took countless hours of loving, tedious labor by a creative genius whose name is unknown and whose  work is so high above the floor it is seldom noticed.  Without my camera I would have never known it was anything more than a blob of marble.