Artworks Catalogue

The high altar of the cemetery chapel of St Leonhard in Wiesensteig (photo by Julia Strobl, 2018)
The high altar of the cemetery chapel of St Leonhard in Wiesensteig (photo by Julia Strobl, 2018)
St Sebastian (photo by Julia Strobl, 2018)
St Francis Xavier (photo Julia Strobl, 2018)
The tabernacle by Johannes Straub, 1743 (photo Julia Strobl, 2018)
The aedicula of the high altar with Christ the Savior (photo Julia Strobl, 2018)
Angel with the Holy Sponge on the left side (photo by Julia Strobl, 2018)
Angel with the hammer on the right side (photo by Julia Strobl, 2018)

Location

Germany, Baden-Württemberg, Wiesensteig

Cemetery chapel of St Leonard (Leonhardskapelle)

Artwork

High Altar of the Cemetery Chapel of St Leonard in Wiesensteig

Type

High altar

Critical History

The cemetery chapel in Wiesensteig dedicated to St Leonard was probably erected in the 14th century, but mentioned for the first time only in 1432; some alterations were made in 1592 and the great fire from 1648 must have damaged the chapel because an altar was consecrated in 1658.1 According to the account books of the cemetery church, in 1737 they extended the building and added a little tower; in the same year the shriners Johann Georg Straub the Elder and his brother Johannes Straub were commissioned with a new Baroque interior. In 1738 Johann Georg was paid 272 fl. 52 xr. in total for the pulpit (including polychromy), nine church pews, the choir stalls, the church door (including paint), the crucifix and one of the side altars (with polychromy); Johannes Straub delivered some more church pews, the high altar and one side altar with polychromy for 244 fl. 24 xr. in 1738 and in 1743 Johannes Straub made a new tabernacle for the cemetery ("auf den Gottesakher"). Johann Georg Straub was paid for the gilded decoration of the high altar in 1747.2 A sculptor from Deggingen delivered two angels for the John of Nepomuk altar on the left side in 1740, the canvas of the main altar was painted by an artist from Eybach.3 The two Straub brothers were definitely responsible for the carpentry as well as for the polychromy, the gilding and most of the sculptural and decorative woodcarving for the altars.

The central piece of the altar is a painting of the church patron St Leonard adoring the Virgin Mary, it is flanked by monumental columns and two sculptures of St Sebastian with arrows (left) and probably St Francis Xavier with a crucifix (right). In the round opening of the aedicula above appears the figure of Christ the Saviour in a gilded gloriole. The two angel-putti on the left and the right side of the strutted gable show Arma Christi, the instruments of the Passion: the Holy Sponge set on a reed (left) and the hammer (left), the nails are missing.

Construction / Execution

The high altar is situated in the presbytery of the little chapel. The architecture of the retable altar consist of a mensa, a retable with four columns (Corinthian order) and an aedicula above the strutted gable. It has a round opening, which is lit by natural light from the window behind. The current polychromy imitates black and greenish marble; the capitals, the gloriole and the ornamental decoration is gilded, the figural sculptures polished white, partially gilded except for the figure of Christ, which is polychrome and partially gilded. The tabernacle by Johannes Straub is a domed tempietto with four twisted columns, polychromy and partial gilding. The door appears to be a19th century addition.

Components

Carpentry
Main altar
Author: (the Elder) Johann Georg Straub (Wiesensteig 1674 – Wiesensteig 1755)
Completed: 1737 – 1738
Patron(s): Collegiate Chapter of St Cyriacus, Wiesensteig, chapter
Technique(s): sawing, wood carving
Material(s): wood
Carpentry
Main altar
Author: Johannes Straub (Wiesensteig 1681 – Wiesensteig 1759)
Completed: 1737 – 1738
Patron(s): Collegiate Chapter of St Cyriacus, Wiesensteig, chapter
Technique(s): sawing, wood carving
Material(s): wood
Carpentry
Tabernacle
Author: Johannes Straub (Wiesensteig 1681 – Wiesensteig 1759)
Completed: 1743 – 1743
Patron(s): Collegiate Chapter of St Cyriacus, Wiesensteig, chapter
Technique(s): sawing, wood carving
Material(s): wood
Sculpture
Completed: 1737 – 1738
Patron(s): Collegiate Chapter of St Cyriacus, Wiesensteig, chapter
Technique(s): wood carving
Material(s): wood
Sculpture
Wooden decoration
Author: (the Elder) Johann Georg Straub (Wiesensteig 1674 – Wiesensteig 1755)
Completed: 1747 – 1747
Patron(s): Collegiate Chapter of St Cyriacus, Wiesensteig, chapter
Technique(s): wood carving
Polychromy
Author: Johannes Straub (Wiesensteig 1681 – Wiesensteig 1759)
Completed: 1738 – 1743
Patron(s): Collegiate Chapter of St Cyriacus, Wiesensteig, chapter
Polychromy
Wooden decoration
Author: (the Elder) Johann Georg Straub (Wiesensteig 1674 – Wiesensteig 1755)
Completed: 1747 – 1747
Patron(s): Collegiate Chapter of St Cyriacus, Wiesensteig, chapter
Material(s): gold
Painting
St Leonard adoring the Maria Immaculata
Completed: 1740 – 1740
Patron(s): Collegiate Chapter of St Cyriacus, Wiesensteig, chapter
Technique(s): oil on canvas

Conservation-restoration

1969

Treatment Description

From 1968 to June 1969, architect Paul Anschütz (Wiesensteig) and painter Lothar Bohring (Kirchheim) restored the chapel.4

Images

  1. The high altar of the cemetery chapel of St Leonhard in Wiesensteig (photo by Julia Strobl, 2018)
  2. The high altar of the cemetery chapel of St Leonhard in Wiesensteig (photo by Julia Strobl, 2018)
  3. St Sebastian (photo by Julia Strobl, 2018)
  4. St Francis Xavier (photo Julia Strobl, 2018)
  5. The tabernacle by Johannes Straub, 1743 (photo Julia Strobl, 2018)
  6. The aedicula of the high altar with Christ the Savior (photo Julia Strobl, 2018)
  7. Angel with the Holy Sponge on the left side (photo by Julia Strobl, 2018)
  8. Angel with the hammer on the right side (photo by Julia Strobl, 2018)

Catalogue entry prepared by Julia Strobl

Recommended citation: Julia Strobl, High Altar of the Cemetery Chapel of St Leonard in Wiesensteig, in: TrArS – Tracing the Art of the Straub Family, 2018, (accessed 05/08/2020) URL

Sources and Bibliography

  1. City Archive Wiesensteig (Stadtarchiv Wiesensteig), Kirchenrechnungen St. Leonhard auf dem Gottesacker in Wisenstaig (account books of St. Leonard on the cemetery of Wiesensteig)
  2. Walter Ziegler, Die Kulturdenkmale des Kreises Göppingen, Göppingen, 1975
  3. Walter Ziegler, Der Kreis Göppingen, Stuttgart, Aalen, Konrad Theiss Verlag, 1985
  4. Wiesensteig, Kath. Pfarramt Wiesensteig (ed.), Ottobeuren, Hannes Oefele Verlag , 1990
  5. Dagmar Zimdars et al., Dehio-Handbuch. Baden-Württemberg I. Die Regierungsbezirke Stuttgart und Karlsruhe, Berlin, Deutscher Kunstverlag, 1993

Notes

1 Walter Ziegler, 1975, 136. - According to Ziegler, 1985, 226 and Dehio, 1993, 857, the chapel is a late 16th century building.

2 Account books St. Leonhard, StA, R/S 56 (1737), R/S 57 (1738): "An dem vor einem Jahr angefangenen Kichenbau ist dißes und nachstehendes Jahr continuiert selbiger zur perfection gebracht, daruffhin aber lauth Specif: Schein folgendes bezahlt worden, [...] Schreiner / No: 12 Hanns Jerg Straub ist wegen Verfärtigung, und Fassung der neuen Kanzel, und wegen 9. Kirchen Stühl sambt Trünckhgeldt veraccordiert. Hier auch L: Sch: Bezahlt worden ...178,- / No: 13 Item hat selbiger ein Neben Alterlein gefasset, und selbiges zu machen ist ihm lauth Accord vor seine Arbeith geraicht worden ...50,- / No: 14 Gleichermassen hat Hanns Jerg Straub die Chor=Stühl verfärtiget. [...] vor seinen Lohn lauth accord Empfang ...25,- / No: 15 Vor eine doppelte Kirchen Thüre zu machen L. Sch: demselbig antheihlet worden ...3,10 / No: 16 Dan hat selbiger ein Crucifix in die Kirchen verfertiget, wo... man bezahlt hat L. Sch: 11,- / No: 17 [...] Kirchen Thüren anzustreichen, [...] 5, 42 / No: 18 Johannes Straub, welcher den Chorr Altar gefasset, und lauth accord sambt fassung eines neben alterlein 230 fl. zu empfangen hat, ist auff d. [...] bezahlt worden ... 130,- / No: 19 item wurde ihme wegen machung einiger Kirchen stüehl guett geth.. L. Sch. ...14, 24". - R/S 66 (1747): "No: 2: Hans Jerg Straub Schreiner einen vergulten Zierat auf dem Altar zu machen bezahlt lauth Scheins... 10 xr." - Johannes Straub received only a part of the payment (130 fl.) in 1738; the rest was paid in tranches until 1743, see R/S 62 (1743): "No. 3. 4. 5. 6. dem Johan Straub seinen actio recht vollendts L: Sch. abgeführt auf 2 mahl mit 79 fl. Item ihme L: Sch. 5 fl. / ferners ihme vor eine neüe Tabernacl auf den Gottsakher L. Sch: entricht 10,15."

3 Account books St. Leonard, StA, R/S 59 (1741): "No. 11 dem bildthauer v. Deggingen vor 2 Engl auf St. Joan: Nep: altar L: Sch: geraicht 6,54"; StA, R/S 62 (1743): "No. 8: dem Mahler von Eybach vor das Chorblatt zu mahlen 21,-".

4 Ziegler, 1975, 136; Wiesensteig, 1990, 12.