Catholic Parish and Pilgrimage Church of St. Notburga
Eben-Maurach on Achensee, Tyrol, Austria
Architecture, attributed to: Jakob Singer (1685–1760); ceiling frescos, attributed to: Johann Georg Höttinger (c. 1690–after 1645) or Christoph Anton Mayr (c. 1720–1771); stuccowork, attibuted to: Franz Xaver Feichtmayr (1698–1763); sculpture, attributed to: Franz Xaver Nißl (1731–1804)
Ecclesiastical architecture (parish and pilgrimage church)
A chapel, dedicated to St Rupert, stood in Eben before and during the lifetime of St. Notburga (c. 1265–1313). In 1434 the patron was changed in favour of Notburga who was increasingly venerated as a patron saint; elevated to the status of a chaplaincy in 1474. The predecessor building was renewed in the Late Gothic style in 1510–15, of which the choir and east tower were integrated into the Baroque building erected in 1736–38. Elevation to the status of a parish in 1891. A thorough renovation of both the interior and exterior was carried out between 1988 and 1992.
The pilgrimage church is the main site for the veneration of St. Notburga of Rattenberg, who according to legend was buried here in 1313. The nave was built, with the integration of the Late Gothic choir, by Jakob Singer; a simple hall church with cupola-like vaults and the adjoining retracted, polygonal choir. Powerful pilaster piers establish the Baroque configuration. Rich stuccowork in the style of the Early Rococo completely covers the Gothic architectural features. The magnificent high altar, like a monumental reliquary, contains the upright bones of the saint in a glass shrine.View Short Description
The pilgrimage church in Eben, the centre of the veneration of St. Notburga, the patron saint of peasants, is an especially charming example of the combination of popular rural piety and great artistic quality within Austrian Late Baroque. The frescos depicting peasant scenes in the style of folk art are framed by the finest stucco of the Wessobrun school. The magnificent spatial impression, despite the simple architectural structure, is largely due to the rich interior work.
Choir form the southeast
1510–1515 and 1736–1738
Jakob Singer (1685–1760)
Only the curved windows, of a bell-shape on the nave, indicate a building of the Late Baroque period. Everything else is of unimposing design and the former Gothic buttresses have been reduced to bands. The west side has not been designed as an ornamental façade and the gable has even been finished in shingles. The shaft of the Gothic tower with pointed helm roof has remained unrendered.
View from the nave into the choir
Jakob Singer (1685–1760)
In contrast to its plain exterior the building interior surprises with its ambitious combination of architecture and interior work and a magnificent prospect with the high altar at its centre. At the transition of the somewhat wider nave to the choir, projecting pilasters form the frame for the view in the direction of the altar. In the foreground rounded niches housing the side altars form the transition from nave to choir. Choir and niches form a triad at whose zenith the high altar with the Notburga shrine is staged like an oversized monstrance.
c. 1740; altar figures 1760
Franz Xaver Nißl (1731–1804)
The Baroque modification of the church was preceded by the exhumation of the remains of St. Notburga. The bones, in the form of a whole-body relic with rich garments housed in a glass shrine, were integrated into the altar in 1740. The bulky, two-storey altar with free-standing columns and a baldachin in the altar crown served as a form of triumphal gate between earth and heaven with the saint as mediator. Two of the outer saintly figures, Leopold and Emperor Heinrich II are attributed to Franz Xaver Nißl.
Johann Georg Höttinger (c. 1690–after 1645) or Christoph Anton Mayr (c. 1720–1771); Franz Xaver Feichtmayr (1698–1763)
Perhaps of greatest aesthetic interest is the decorated vault. The fine Wessobrunn stucco with its combination of late-period strapwork and emerging rocailles is the height of the prevailing fashion and is indicative of the transition to Rococo. It probably originates from Franz Xaver Feichtmayr. Thanks to their small format and their general failure to account for viewing from below, the frescos, depicting scenes from the life of the church patroness, appear like inserted folk art pictures. The landscapes depict the environs of Eben. The attribution is contested.
Naupp, Th., St.-Notburga-Kirche in Eben am Achensee, Salzburg 2002.
Frank Purrmann "Catholic Parish and Pilgrimage Church of St. Notburga" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2023. https://baroqueart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=monument;BAR;at;Mon11;26;en
Prepared by: Frank Purrmann
Translation by: Colin Shepherd
Translation copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez
Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.
True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.
MWNF Working Number: AT 26
On display in
Discover Baroque Art Exhibition(s)Devotion and Pilgrimage | Pilgrimage
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