Saturday, June 19, 2010

Art Nouveau Church -- Kirche Am Steinhof

After our whirlwind tour of the wider Vienna area, we returned to the city itself for a tour of Kirche Am Steinhof, an Art Nouveau church designed by Otto Wagner. The architect was very much at odds with the conservative powers-that-be of his time (beginning of the 20th century), and thus he was relegated to designing a church for a mental institution on the outskirts of town. Wagner took this assignment and created a church centered around the idea of moving from spiritual rejection to redemption, conveying this theme through architecture and art.

A view of the church coming up the hill. Although Wagner's style was not in favour at the time, there was no expense spared in the construction of the church. The dome is entirely covered in gold leaf, and the walls are covered in plates of Italian marble.

The stained glass above the entrance to the church conveys the idea of spiritual rejection, showing God expelling Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

Inside the church, the wall above the altar at the front of the church is dominated by a large mosaic. The mosaic shows Jesus and an assortment of saints, offering redemption.

On the side walls of the church, there are two large stained glass windows, that show two groups of saints. The ones pictured here are saints associated with temporal virtues -- giving food to the hungry, housing to the homeless, and so on.

On this window, we see saints associated with spiritual virtues.

Up next: Another museum and climbing the obligatory European tower. (See back to July 2007 and July 2008 for other towers we've climbed.)

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