The Marble Hall lies at the end of the “Imperial Passage” – the area originally intended for the accommodation of the imperial court and the many other guests who visited the Abbey. It served as a reception and dining hall for festivals, above all during visits by the imperial court. The inscription above the door indicates this function: “Hospites tamquam Christus suscipiantur” (“Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ”) and “Et omnibus congruus honor exhibeatur” (“And to all let due honour be shown”) from Chapter 53 of the Rule of St Benedict. The door frames are of real marble from the famous Salzburg quarries of Adnet and Untersberg, while the walls are of stucco marble. The ceiling frescoes are by Paul Troger (1731) and the architectural painting, which gloriously frames the frescoes, by Gaetano Fanti. There have been various attempts to interpret the allegories in the ceiling frescoes. The viewer can see, for example, the central figure of Pallas Athene on a chariot pulled by lions with Hercules who is striking Cerberus with his club. The Habsburgs liked to employ the myth of Hercules for themselves; this was particularly true of Charles VI, from whose reign this painting comes. The two figures could therefore be seen as an embodiment of state power, and thus the painting as an expression of deference to the ruling dynasty, which knows how to govern with wise moderation (Pallas Athene) and necessary force (Hercules). The ruler leads his people, with all their sinful ways, from the dark (Cerberus, demons of the night, allegories of sin: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth) into the light that grants science and the arts to the seeker: above Pallas Athene a radiant angel brings light and scatters flowers. Next to it, the spring-like Zephyr brings warmth and growth. Underneath there are allegorical depictions of various virtues, sciences and arts. At the end of the group, the winged horse Pegasus, symbol of poetry, leaps from the temple to the muses. An angel hovers above, pouring from its cornucopia rewards for good, spiritual and moral acts. Here one can clearly see the Enlightenment ideal of the ruler.

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