Kirche, Kloster, Kaiserin. Jahresausstellung 2017

Church, Monastery, Empress

Church, Monastery, Empress

Church, Monastery, Empress
Maria Theresia and religious Austria

The exhibition documents the many close links between the church and the imperial family, which, particularly during Maria Theresia’s reign, passed their high point as the early Enlightenment period began to establish itself.

The imperial apartments at Klosterneuburg Monastery are the only group of residential rooms whose interior design has survived almost unaltered since the reign of Charles VI. These rooms are therefore predestined to be used as the venue for a presentation that focuses on Maria Theresia’s youth and her relationship with the church.

The furnishing of the imperial wing, which was partially continued after Charles’ sudden death, also reflects Maria Theresia’s character, for instance, in the marble hall’s dome fresco by Daniel Gran and the allegorical sculptural ornamentation that crowns the baroque façade. The annual court pilgrimages to the grave of St. Leopold, which were afforded special importance particularly during the reign of Charles VI and in which Maria Theresia would naturally have taken part as a girl, would definitely have left an impression on the young monarch.

Church representation reached one of its last significant peaks during the life of Maria Theresia. Many works of art created during the first half of the 18th century for liturgical purposes bear eloquent witness to such representation: reliquaries, liturgical equipment, vestments and so on. After all, with the final resting place of the country’s patron saint, Klosterneuburg was a national shrine.