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St. Wolfgang

On the northern shore of Wolfgangsee lies the popular town of St. Wolfgang. According to legend it arose around a chapel built by Wolfgang (died 994), Bishop of Regensburg in Germany and teacher of Emperor Henry II. Although he died a hermit, Wolfgang was an extremely popular figure in his day, and was later canonized. His chapel became a much-visited place of pilgrimage. In the 15th century it was replaced by a church with room for a much larger number of pilgrims. It was around that time that the Abbot of Mondsee commissioned the famed South Tyrolean artist, Michael Pacher, to create an altar for the pilgrimage church. Pacher’s high altar, combining sculpture, painting and architecture, is acclaimed as one of the most beautiful works of the late-Gothic era. The four scenes visible on the wings of the altarpiece when they are closed (on weekdays) depict events from the life of St. Wolfgang, patron saint of the church. The saint is shown holding a model of the church and is flanked by the figures of the Saints George and Florian. On Sundays, the wings of the altar are opened to reveal eight painted scenes from the life of Christ. They are striking in their coloration, the dynamics of their life-like figures and, above all, in the architectural perspective employed by the artist. The brightly gilded, sculpted centrepiece depicts the Coronation of the Virgin Mary attended by Christ, St Benedict and St. Wolfgang. The church of St. Wolfgang also has a lovely Baroque altarpiece by Thomas Schwanthaler, depicting the Holy Family on their journey to Jerusalem. The three side altarpieces on the north wall and the magnificently ornate pulpit are the works of a Mondsee master, Meinrad Guggenbichler. St. Wolfgang is also popular with tourists who come to see the hotel “Weisses Rossl” which inspired an operetta of the same name, White Horse Inn, by Ralph Benatzky.

St. Wolfgang Photo Gallery

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