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Karlskirche, Vienna, Erlach, 1740
Structure - Karlskirche
The use of columns. This is a wall-pillar church with galleries above the oval chapels instead of aisles. The wall pillars near the nave are splayed to support doubly curing arches. This creates Syncopation.
Function - Karlskirche
The church is cared for by a religious order and has long been the parish church as well as the seat of the Catholic student ministry of the Vienna University of Technology.
Form - Karlskirche
Prandtauer (a religious brother) emphasized verticality through fluted pilasters and a dome on pendentives that soar high. St. Charles's Church contains a dome in the form of an elongated ellipsoid. The façade in the center, which leads to the porch, corresponds to a Greek temple portico. The neighboring two columns, crafted by Lorenzo Mattielli, found a model in Trajan's Column in Rome. Next to those, two tower pavilions extend out and show the influence of the Roman baroque (Bernini and Borromini). Above the entrance, a dome rises up above a high drum, which the younger J. E. Fischer shortened and partly altered.
Cultural context - Karlskirche
St. Charles's Church is dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo, one of the great reformers of the sixteenth century and the Italian cardinal and saint of the Counter Reformation.
Physical context - Karlskirche
Located on the south side of Karlsplatz in Vienna, Austria. The green copper dome rises 236 feet high, making it a major landmark on the Viennese skyline.
Historical Context - Karlskirche
- In 1713, the Black Plague swept through Vienna. Emperor Charles VI made a vow, if the plague left the city, he would build a church dedicated to his namesake, St. Charles Borromeo. St. Charles was a 16th-century Italian bishop famous for ministering to Milanese plague victims.
- The emperor's prayer was answered, and construction on the church began in 1715. The Karlskirche was built on what was then the bank of the River Wien and is now the southeast corner of a park complex.
- The Baroque master Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach did the original work from 1716 to 1722. After his death in 1723, his son took over and saw the project through to completion in 1737. J. M. Rottmayr painted many of the frescoes inside the church from 1725 to 1730.
- Karlsplatz was restored as an ensemble in the late 1980s