St. Mariä Himmelfahrt: High Altar

Posted by MadScientist (Düsseldorf, Germany) on 3 February 2009 in Art & Design.

'High' indeed: with 22.50 m (~74 ft) it fills the choir up to the ceiling. Donated by a Bavarian elector in 1628, reconstructed from rescued remnants 1964 - 1979; this altar is a perfect example of Jesuit staginess. Its flanking figures are various saints from the Old and New Testament; the paintings are exchangeable according to the ecclesial holidays. Also remarkable is the tabernacle that has a complicated mechanism that opens the doors and presents the monstrance, accompanied by angels. For a brief moment I was in Rome.

Linerberry from Sumner, Christchurch, New Zealand

What an incredible intricate Altar!! Incredible shot ms!

3 Feb 2009 5:50am

@Linerberry: Altars this big are even a rarity here. Usually they can be found in the southern parts of Germany.

Sarito from Basingstoke, United Kingdom

Amazing shot with lots of details.. thanks for the description, helps to understand and appreciate the work!!

3 Feb 2009 10:03am

@Sarito: Well, it's a blog, isn't it? :) Doing some research on the things I take photos from helps me to understand what they are, so why not let everybody else know too. Of course I could post today's picture with a title "church" and leave it speaking for itself, but I wouldn't be satisfied with this. Another aspect is that it helps me to better express myself in English (which is not my first language).

Michael Skorulski from Cigel, Slovakia

Really beautiful vibrant detail, MS.

3 Feb 2009 11:54am

@Michael Skorulski: Thanks, Michael! Can't wait for spring, though. It's time to capture some plants again!

Tracey from White Hall, United States

WOWzers! What amazing detail and beauty! So ornate! I can't even imagine standing in a building like that. Must take your breath away!

3 Feb 2009 1:23pm

@Tracey: That's what they were built for! :o) Too bad that Baroque architecture can only be found in Spanish America, but I've found a decent surrogate for you: the Polish Cathedral style provides some great architecture too, and some of these churches are not too far away from your home!

MaryB from Staffordshire, United Kingdom

WOW! this is awesome! sunningly beautiful and wonderfully photographed MS.
In the summer, I hope to go and photograph some churches (inspired by you MS :) ) in particular ones designed by a man called Pugin, who designed the most beauitful churches. One of which St Giles, is in Staffordshire the county where I live.

3 Feb 2009 1:55pm

@MaryB: That would be great and I'm looking forward to that! (Just for completeness I'm adding a link to Pugin's work, I really like his buildings!)

JoeB from Brampton, Canada

Like a large jewel, a palace of a church.

3 Feb 2009 5:18pm

@JoeB: The opposite of humbleness. :)

Twelvebit from Victoria, United States

Fabulous altar.

3 Feb 2009 11:04pm

@Twelvebit: I'd like to see its backside, this mechanism would interest me...

Ron from Saint Louis, United States

Amazing image at ISO 1600 ... while the altar is an amazing, incredible work of art, the first thing I noticed was the beautiful reflections you captured in the floor ... ron

3 Feb 2009 11:22pm

@Ron: Thanks, Ron! I'm not totally satisfied, as the sharpness is afflicted with non-optimal light conditions. Will have to work on this.

Observing from West Cheshire, United Kingdom

It certainly dominates the Altar, but all its ornate golden carvings, it almost looks like something from a Hindu temple.

4 Feb 2009 12:58am

@Observing: Hehe, indeed, there are parallels in the design, but this Hindu temple is even more colourful. :)

jim from sebastopol, United States

Observing, what a wonderful eye-opener you have given to me, i looked at this before i left for work this morning and now that i look at it again i must say that it does indeed very strongly resemble Hindu temple architecture..
how fascinating that there are such strong resemblances! jim

4 Feb 2009 2:45am

@jim: I a way, both designs (Hindu temple and this altar) are (flat) pyramids. The intended effect is to raise your head, I think.

PD from Overland Park, Kansas, United States

WOw, this is beautiful!

4 Feb 2009 4:06am

@PD: Most of it was destroyed, but many parts were collected from the debris and added by items from other churches.

Steven from Chicagoland, United States

What detailed and intricate work this high altar is composed of. And you did a great job of capturing this and sharing it with us.

5 Feb 2009 2:41pm

@Steven: It's a bit blurry - I would have liked to do a few more shots but the next mass was already in preparation.


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