The restoration of
the former Amorbach Abbey Church will be completed in June 2015.
restoration of the former Amorbach Abbey Church started in autumn
2012 and will be completed in June 2015. First of all the exterior
and roof of the building were restored. The interior schemes and
surfaces were conserved.
restoration in spring 2013
first stage of work began in spring 2013 with the erection of
scaffolding and repair of the roof by carpenters.
the huge slate roof was repaired, plaster was touched up and the
hexagon-shaped honeycomb window was overhauled. This window was
originally built in the period between 1743 and 1747. The sandstone
plaques on the eave cornices, windows and lesenes are in
surprisingly good condition. The materials that were used at the
time are of such good quality that the kind of blisters, upwellings
or sanding that typically occur have hardly been detected at all.
conservation of the interior
At the same
time, preparations to examine and conserve the interior furnishings
were underway. We would like
to draw particular attention to the
opulent decorations created by leading South-German artists. Johann
Michael Feichtmayr (the Younger) and Johann Georg Übelhör produced
the stucco. Matthäus Günther, who studied with Cosmas Damian Asam,
painted the frescoes on the ceilings, which tell of the life of St
Benedict. Johann Wolfgang van der Auvera provided the pulpit, while
the blacksmith artist Markus Gattinger created the still completely
preserved wrought iron chancel screen.
retained surfaces and shapes radiate dignity and authenticity
Right at the
beginning of our work we discovered that all the interior
furnishings - walls, stucco marble altars, canvas paintings, chancel
screens, pulpit and choir stalls had hardly been covered or given
any new plating at all. Luckily for us, as this meant that there was
no need for the interior surfaces to be reworked or overhauled. Not
only has the style of the time of the stucco and carvings been able
to be preserved, but the numerous surfaces are all of a similarly
aged condition. This gives the entire interior of the church its
very special ambience, which is perhaps best described by dignity
with translucent effect
marble, gilding and canvas pictures naturally beared signs of aging
and wear and tear. Fortunately we have not detected any serious
signs of erosion yet. Preliminary investigations have indicated that
the wall plaster and first coat of paint are fully intact. However,
the latter was given a partial recoat in 1955. In the process of our
investigations, we made an interesting discovery: the plaster is not
a typical lime plaster, but a type of plaster stuccowork, which was
applied to the walls when they were constructed. This extremely
high-quality workmanship is comparable with the preparatory steps
taken to produce stucco marble. Why invest so much time and effort?
The technique was well thought through: this white-shimmering
background was designed to produce a light translucent effect for
the colourful decorations.
accents merge into harmonious edges
marble altars with their canvas paintings, gilding on the stucco and
ceiling frescoes represent a harmonious main feature. However we
have detected some condensation on the stucco marble. This was due
to quickly changing thermal conditions and the permeation of
moisture. The high altarpiece, which was also created by Matthäus
Günther, describes the Assumption of Mary. According to the current
state of knowledge, the picture has never been removed from its
place of destination. Unfortunately we have come to notice severe
traces of wear and tear in the canvas which render protective
measures to the canvas inevitable.
the Abbey Church in July 2015
restructuring and restoration work will be completed in June 2015.
We are planning to herald the reopening of the church in July 2015
with a festival service and celebratory concert. From then on the
church will be open again without limitations and revealed in all
its glory to visitors and for church services.