Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach,
Student name: Anqi Gu
Student ID: 480403247
Tutor: Claire Cybele Hosking
?Purpose of the construction
iStructure and materials
iiFunction of the structure
iiiStyle of the ornament
ivSymbolization of the ornament
vInfluence from or to other buildings
This report is going to discuss the construction of Karlskirche in Vienna, Austria, which is among the most widely discussed and disparaged monuments of eighteenth- century Europe. Designed by Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach, Karlskirche was built between 1715 and 1737 to honor Karl Borromeo, who is the patron saint of the fight against the plague. In 1713, the plague epidemic has claimed over 8,000 lives, so the church was constructed for thanking god for delivering Vienna. Leidig, Michael, Irene Zoech, and Inc DK Publishing. Top 10 Vienna, 2015 (New York: Dorling Kindersley)
Purpose of the construction
The purpose of constructing the Karlskirche will be introduced to study the styles and ornament of the church. With studying the ornament and styles, comparing them with the previous buildings, the structure and the symbolization of the Karlskirche will also be discussed to discover the structural logics, innovations and the influence from other buildings in the architectural history.
Structure and materials
From the exterior, is a central, dome-colored building with a wide frontage of a composition. The Karlskirche has no schaufront in the sense of a Roman baroque church facade, but is a contrapuntal composition of architectural volumes with multiple symbolic meaning.
If view the whole structure from above, If cut verticallly,there can see a vertical oval main room with high dome lantern, vertical axis porch and choir, horizontal axis each has a rectangle chapel,in the diagonal oval chapels with overlying galleries. From the interior, the vaulting of the wide space in which dominate the dome frescoes, appears even higher stretched by the perspective appearance of the longitudinal oval and reinforced by details. As for the color effect, is mainly determined by the materials, such as red marble pedestals, and the rosewood-colored stucco marble pilasters with gilded capitals.
Function of the structure
Most of the studies on the church dwell long, often exclusively, on the facade. The facade is, indeed, an emphatic part of the plan (Fig. 1); it extends far out to either side of the actual body of the church and contrasts, in its exuberance, with the refined but relatively sober interior. Its prominence is emphasized still further by the site. St. Charles’ Church was built on a hill outside the walls, facing in towards the city and most particularly towards the Hofburg, the Emperor’s palace. It stood nearly alone; with the exception of a few noble residences, the suburbs had not been rebuilt after the Turkish siege of 1683.
Style of the ornament
Though the Karlskirche is one of the most outstanding baroque churches, it is an undeniable truth that it’s a mix treasure of ancient Greek and Roman elements with some Byzantine and Baroque styles. As a contrast to the baroque style, whose paintings always focus on keeping the sanctity of the religious, the rococo style drawings are more narrative. There can see the typical baroque sculpture as well. “Oval Chapel with altarpiece “Christ Awakens the Young Man of Naim” by Martino Altomonte (1731), laterally a small, artistically remarkable Baroque sculpture of St. Judas Thaddäus made of limewood.” Google, ‘Charles Church’, https://www.wien.gv.at/wiki/index.php/Karlskirche#tab=Bauwerksdaten It’s obvious baroque interior structure because of the symmetry, however, the design that the ceiling connects with metope appears more in rococo style.
Symbolization of the ornament
The strong color scheme effect grouped from the directing of light and architecture is characterized by the sparkle of marble and the conscious use of gold foil. On the high circular glass Windows above the main altar is engraved the Hebrew quadripartite god/yahweh, symbolizing god’s omnipotence and simultaneously through its yellow and warm tone, showing God’s love.
”The main theme was clearly stated in the large oval medallion above the coffin as the apotheosis of Josef I as ‘Victor Perpetuus.’ This attribute of ‘Victor Perpetuus’ was symbolized by the four triumphal columns… All four columns were devoted to Josef’s heroic deeds, represented in the spiraling reliefs. The front left column celebrated Josef’s ‘assertion in Spain,’ the front right one his ‘victory over France,’ the left rear one his ‘liberation of Italy’ and the right rear his ‘restoration of Belgium.’ As all four columns represented victories over the French in the war of the Spanish Succession, they were particularly fitting.” Barbara Chabrowe, On the Significance of Temporary Architecture
Influence from or to other buildings
Without doubt, the elder Fischer von Erlach have united the most diverse of elements. The central façade leading to the porch, equals the Greek temple portico. The neighboring two columns designed by Lorenzo Mattielli, can be found a similar model in Trajan’s Column in Rome. The two tower pavilions next to those extending outward demonstrate the influence from the Roman baroque.
Whether is coincidence or not, the appearance of Karlskirche looks amazingly similar to a Baroque church in Rome in Italy named Sant’Agnese in Agone, which built much earlier before it.
Honorific columns (or called triumphal columns) inspired by Trajan were created in use to commemorate recent victories as well. “The column honoring Admiral Horatio Nelson in London’s Trafalgar Square (c. 1843) draws on the Roman tradition that included the Column of Trajan along with earlier, Republican monuments like the columna rostrata of Caius Duilius. The column dedicated to Napoleon I erected in the Place Vendôme in Paris (c. 1810) and the Washington Monument of Baltimore, Maryland (1829) both were directly inspired by the Column of Trajan.” Dr. Jeffrey Becker, Column of Trajan,
In historical building studying process, it is important that not learning any architecture from any single aspect but from all the perspective in different time.
This conclusion is usually done by combining different historically forms. It represents an uninspired baroque stereotype. But in the matter of fact, architecture have developed in some very specific historical environment. To understand the construction or the building, it is very necessary to re-examine the architects’ original intentions according to the late architectural tradition.
To be concluded, Karlskirche is a building that have received mixed reviews because of its unique construction. However, through the research, it can easily tell that Karlskirche is just a normal church with many styles mixed, but a meaningful, well-considered artwork which is a sacred place for Austrian to celebrate everything — the gratefulness to the God for casting the illness out, the joyful expression for the victorious end of the Turkish Wars, the greatness and powerful Empire and its King…
At first, when I chose the topic “construction”, I was considering to make the longitudinal section model of the church, yet later I found though it goes well with the symmetry of the building, it can’t represent the typical omament styles and the structure which mixed different kind of styles of this church.
Then in the process of researching, I saw the photo(fig.3) shown below, at the centre of the façade is the stairway, and six pillars are pedimently support above. So I decided to focus on the six pillars, Pulpit and other omaments in that space. Among these, the Strong, continuous entablature at the base of the spool, carried by pilaster order.
Google, ‘Charles Church’, https://www.wien.gv.at/wiki/index.php/Karlskirche#tab=Bauwerksdaten
Barbara Chabrowe, On the Significance of Temporary Architecture
Dr. Jeffrey Becker, Column of Trajan, https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ancient-art-civilizations/roman/early-empire/a/column-of-trajan
Karlskirche in Wien, 25. April 2016, https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiener_Karlskirche#/media/File:Karlskirche_Abendsonne_1.jpg
Anton Behsel,16 January 2017, https://www.wien.gv.at/wiki/index.php?title=Datei:Karlskirche_Grundriss.jpg
Fig. 2. Plan, Church of Saint Charles Borromeo, Vienna (J. B. Fischer von Erlach, Entwiirffeiner historischen Architektur, Iv, 15).