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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kirche am Steinhof

- angel by Othmar Schimkowitz

The latest church I've virtually visited is the Church of St. Leopold in Vienna, "one of the most famous Art Nouveau churches in the world", as Wikipedia states ....

The church, situated 310 metres (1017 ft) above sea level, dominates and forms part of the Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital .... It was built in 1903-1907 by the 63-year-old architect Otto Wagner, with mosaics and stained glass by Koloman Moser, and sculptural angels by Othmar Schimkowitz (1864 - 1947). The great majority of the other smaller details are the work of Otto Wagner himself. The statues on the two external towers represent Saint Leopold and Saint Severin (l. & r. respectively: they are the two patron saints of Lower Austria) and are the work of the Viennese sculptor Richard Luksch (1872 - 1936) .....

Otto Wagner incorporated numerous features specifically related to its function within an asylum: e.g. there are very few sharp edges, and most corners are rounded; almost no crosses are visible; the priest's area is potentially entirely separate from the patients'; access to the pulpit is only from the vestry; emergency exits are built into the side walls in case a patient needed to be speedily removed; continuously flowing water replaced holy water stoups at the entrance; there were separate entrances for male and female patients; confessionals were more open than is customary. There were toilet facilities easily accessible within the church in case of patient need. Originally the pews were of different widths to accommodate different categories of patient: calm / restless / disturbed (the latter needing more space). The floor is raked as in a theatre though not as steeply; the fall from entrance to altar is approx. 26 cms: standing at the back the view to the altar is thus less obstructed.

Here are some photos ....

- a painting by Koloman Moser of one of his stained glass windows at the church


Anonymous Henry said...

This looks beautiful!!! I want to see it. Thanks for posting it Crystal. Pax.

10:23 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Thanks, Henry.

12:53 PM  

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