Johann Balthasar Neumann was born 27 January 1687 in the Kingdom of Bohemia aka Czech Republic. He came from a family of nine children (Dear Lord) – his father was a cloth-maker.
Neumann learnt about architecture, geometry, even joined the local military – Bless the soul he was a colonel.
So he was lucky enough to be called by Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn, Prince-Bishopric of Würzburg who requested the young budding engineer construct his new palace, the Würzburg Residence (1720).
Now get this, it’s baroque style but there’s a little Neo classical. The main rooms are the Imperial hall, chapel and the grand staircase which apparently has the largest ceiling fresco in the world – Oh my goodness can you imagine? A fresco is basically a painting done in watercolour directly onto plaster on a wall or ceiling. Just for a moment realise how hard that must have been for the painter along with the strenuous effort put into it. God bless you all who took part in that!
The building was reportedly called the ” Largest parsonage in Europe” by Napoleon.
Imperial Hall or Kaisersaal (that’s got a nice ring to it) – This hall opens to the east from the White Hall & is located in the center of the garden front. It was used to receive visiting dignitaries.
Right get this, so the walls of this hall are Stucco work along with marble – Stucco is basically decorative coating for walls & ceilings, so its plaster work isn’t it? You know like in the palace of Versailles that gold gilded work it looks a bit like that – not entirely the same thing but along the lines of that.
The dome is painted in white colour, decorated with golden Stucco work and also frescoes by Tiepolo, showing an idealized history of the diocese of Wurzburg.
( A diocese is a district under the pastoral care of a bishop in the Christian Church).
The Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers
This is a church located near Bamberg, in Bavaria, southern Germany. Constructed between 1743 and 1772. What I found intriguing was that it was dedicated to a group of saints known as “the Fourteen Holy Helpers”. Now these saints were and still are revered and there’s a story to it, let me share:
On 24 September 1445, Hermann Leicht, the young shepherd of a nearby Franciscan monastery, saw a crying child in a field that belonged to the nearby Cistercian monastery of Langheim. As he bent down to pick up the child, it abruptly disappeared. A short time later, the child reappeared in the same spot. This time, two candles were burning next to it. In June 1446, Leicht saw the child a third time. This time, the child bore a red cross on its chest and was accompanied by thirteen other children. The child said: “We are the fourteen helpers and wish to erect a chapel here, where we can rest. If you will be our servant, we will be yours!” Shortly after, Leicht saw two burning candles descending to this spot. It is alleged that miraculous healings soon began, through the intervention of the fourteen saints.
So the paintings & story of these saints are all over the church
On the balustrade – this is a railing connected to a balcony, bridge, or terrace.
- Blaise (also Blase and Blasius) (February 3), bishop and martyr, invoked against illness of the throat
- Cyriacus (Cyriac) (August 8), deacon and martyr, invoked against temptation on the death-bed
- Denis (Dionysius) (October 9), bishop and martyr, invoked against headache
- Erasmus (Elmo) (June 2), bishop and martyr, invoked against intestinal ailments – ohhh.
In the altar niches:
- Barbara (December 4), virgin and martyr, invoked against fever and sudden death
- Catherine of Alexandria (November 25), virgin and martyr, invoked against sudden death
On the buttresses – funny word but it’s actually a structure made of stone or brick that strengthens or supports the building/ wall.
- Agathius (or Acacius) (May 8), martyr, invoked against headache
- Christopher (Christophorus) (July 25), martyr, invoked against bubonic plague
- Eustachius (Eustace, Eustathius) (September 20), martyr, invoked against family discord
- Giles (Aegidius) (September 1), hermit and abbot, invoked against plague, for a good confession
On top of the baldachin –
- George (April 23), soldier-martyr, for the health of domestic animals
- Margaret of Antioch (July 20), virgin and martyr, invoked in childbirth
- Pantaleon (July 27), bishop and martyr, for physicians
- Vitus (June 15), martyr, invoked against epilepsy
I adored the Würzburg Residence wasn’t it glorious ❤