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The Benedictine Abbey
The Abbey Church
The Organ
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The Green Banquet Hall
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The restoration of the former Amorbach Abbey Church will be completed in June 2015.

The 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.

Exterior restoration in spring 2013

The first stage of work began in spring 2013 with the erection of scaffolding and repair of the roof by carpenters. Next, 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.

Restoration and 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.

The originally 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 and authenticity.

Unusual plaster with translucent effect

The stucco 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.

The main accents merge into harmonious edges

The stucco 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.

Reopening of the Abbey Church in July 2015

The 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.

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