Artworks Catalogue

1.	High altar of St George in the Branch Church of St George, Bichl (Bavarian State Department of Monuments and Sites, photo by Michael Forstner, May 2017)
High altar of St George, detail (Bavarian State Department of Monuments and Sites, photo by Michael Forstner, May 2017)
The drawing of the high altar by J. B. Straub (Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 DE)

Location

Germany, Bavaria, Bichl

Curacy church St Georg (Kuratiekirche St Georg)

Catholic parish Benediktbeuern

Artwork

The high altar of St Georg in St Georg, Bichl

Type

High altar

Inscriptions

  1. Ste. George intercede pro nobis (on the wall on a redbrown plasterlayer)

Critical History

St George's was built in 1751/52 by the architect Johann Michael Fischer. Fischer was hired by the monastery of Benediktbeuern which is situated a short distance from Bichl. Straub was payed 300fl for the altar in 1752.1 1The painter and gilder Joseph Geiger received 180fl for painting the altar. Lippert documents the altar under no. 59.2 A drawing of the altar exists in Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (HdZ 6847) and in Salzburg (Landesmuseum, see database no. 3186). The drawing also shows one half of the horizontal projection. The altar is attached to the church wall. The three-dimensional and very vivid sculpture of St George riding a horse while fighting against the fire-spitting dragon, which is lying between the horse's legs, is the fascinating centerpiece of the altar. The architecture and the background with a painted landscape on wooden boards form a decorative setting.

Construction / Execution

The architecture and sculptures are made in wood. The painting layer is executed in polychrome.

Components

Carpentry
The high altar of St Georg, Bichl
Completed: 1752
Technique(s): sawing, wood carving
Painting
The high altar of St Georg, Bichl
Completed: 1752
Sculpture
The high altar of St Georg, Bichl
Author: Johann Baptist Straub (Wiesensteig ca. 1704 – Munich 1784)
Technique(s): wood carving
Polychromy
The high altar of St Georg, Bichl
Completed: 1752

Comment

In 1979-81 the high altar was examined and restored by restorers of the Bavarian State Department of Monuments and Sites. The altar will be examined within the project in March 2019.

Conservation-restoration

1864

Approach to the presentation of losses

Repolychroming: total

Treatment Description

Overpainting of the 3 altars and pulpit. The sculpture of St George was placed in a higher position and closer to the painted rear wall of the mural niche.

1934

Approach to the presentation of losses

Repolychroming: total

Treatment Description

Overpainting of the altars without the sculpture of St George.

1961

Strategy: removing one or several historic repolychromies

Treatment Description

In context with the combating of wood pests in the pews some sculptures (putti?) were restored (uncovering of several historical painting layers) in an unqualified way by an local painter.

1979

Strategy: removing one or several historic repolychromies

Treatment Description

The examination and restoration of the sculptures was executed in the restoration workshop of the Bavarian State Department of Monuments and Sites. The architecture of the altar was restored by church painters. The idea was to go back to the Baroque presentation concept. The position of the sculpture was lowered to the level of 1753. Original parts of the painted forest were found and integrated in a reconstruction on modern panels. The carved clouds were reconstructed. The position of the painted background was moved forward. Newer painted layers were removed from the wooden architecture and the sculptures. The marbling and the gilding of the architecture have been more or less reconstructed, few areas of the marbling from 1753 are left. For the sculpture of St George the 19th century overpainting was restored because the Baroque polychromy using coloured glazes on metal leaf is in bad condition. The horse and the dragon still have the original polychromy. The polychromy of the putti was destroyed by the restoration in 1961. The polychromy was reconstructed in 1979-81. The tabernacle was reconstructed in a simpler form than the Baroque one. The cartouche on top of the altar and other details were not reconstructed.

2013

Strategy: preserving one or several repolychromies

Images

  1. 1. High altar of St George in the Branch Church of St George, Bichl (Bavarian State Department of Monuments and Sites, photo by Michael Forstner, May 2017)
  2. High altar of St George, detail (Bavarian State Department of Monuments and Sites, photo by Michael Forstner, May 2017)
  3. The drawing of the high altar by J. B. Straub (Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 DE)

Catalogue entry prepared by Rupert Karbacher

Recommended citation: Rupert Karbacher, The high altar of St Georg in St Georg, Bichl, in: TrArS – Tracing the Art of the Straub Family, 2018, (accessed 25/06/2019) URL

Sources and Bibliography

  1. Johann Caspar Lippert, Kurzgefaßte Nachricht von dem churbaierischen ersten Hofbildhauer Herrn Johannes Straub, in: Augsburgisches monatliches Kunstblatt. Kunstzeitung der kaiserlichen Akademie zu Augsburg, 1772, Nr. 54f
  2. Carola Giedion-Welcker, Bayrische Rokokoplastik. J. B. Straub und seine Stellung in Landschaft und Zeit, Munich, Recht, 1922
  3. Peter Steiner, Johann Baptist Straub (Münchner kunsthistorische Abhandlungen, VI), München und Zürich, Verlag Schnell & Steiner, 1974
  4. Peter Volk, Johann Baptist Straub 1704–1784, München, Hirmer Verlag, 1984
  5. Fritz Buchenrieder, Restaurierungsprobleme bei Straub Altären in Reisach und Bichl, in: Jahrbuch der Bayerischen Denkmalpflege, 57, 1983, 143–165

Notes

1 Peter Volk, 1984, 185.

2 Johann Caspar Lippert, 1772, no 59, 62.