Kolomanisaal

The large, former Abbey hall extends over two floors. It has also served as a theatre and student chapel. Sheaves of pilasters and painted fluting divide the space; the wall sections, overdoors and alcoves are painted with stone-coloured and bronze ornaments. Some of the window reveals on the north side contain busts of busts of Austrian rulers.

Hippolytoi Sconzani first painted the hall’s vaulted ceiling in 1719, but the fresco was destroyed in a fire in 1738. In 1744 Gaetano Fanti, with his son’s assistance, began painting the oval, monochrome legend scenes, architecturally framed in cartouches, for which Paul Troger created his last ceiling image at Melk in 1745. The thematic model for this was the altarpiece from the Leopold altar in the old Abbey Church. The Abbey’s saints – Leopold, Coloman, Benedict and the apostolic princes Peter and Paul – float on clouds above a depiction of the Abbey before the Baroque renovation. They offer up the Abbey to God the Father for his blessing. On the terrestrial plane, Margrave Leopold I, carrying a banner-bearing spear on his shoulder, looks up from the left edge to St Leopold.

The first member of the House of Babenberg is accompanied by a canon, a reference to the Abbey tradition, since Leopold I’s time, of housing a collegiate church in the Melk castle. Chronos, with the symbols of the scythe and the hourglass, floats above the group. Opposite, Margrave Leopold II points to the Abbey, granting it to Abbot Sigibold and his Benedictines (in 1089). Along the lower edge, the allegorical figures of Architecture and Fama, announcing the fame of the building’s patron, present the plan of the new Abbey complex. Right at the bottom, angels carry a cartouche with the coats of arms of the Abbey, of Abbot Berthold Dietmayr and Abbot Adrian Pliemel, who commissioned the fresco. 

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