Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach


Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach

:"Fischer von Erlach links here. For other uses, see Fischer von Erlach (disambiguation)".

Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach (20 July 1656 - 5 April 1723) was probably the most influential Austrian architect of the Baroque period. [ [http://www.greatbuildings.com/architects/Johann_Fisher_von_Erlach.html] Biography: Johann Fischer von Erlach]

Architectural tastes throughout the Habsburg Empire were profoundly influenced by his ideas, as articulated in "A Plan of Civil and Historical Architecture" (1721), one of the first and most popular comparative studies of world architecture.

Early life in Italy

Born near Graz, Johann Fischer was trained in the workshop of his father, a provincial artisan, before departing for Rome at the precocious age of 16. He spent the following sixteen years in Italy. In Rome he joined the workshop of his fellow Austrian Johann Paul Schor and of the great Bernini, who gave him ample opportunities to study both ancient and modern sculpture and architecture. He then moved to Naples, where he was reported to have amassed a considerable fortune serving the Spanish viceroy.

Back in Austria in 1687, Fischer von Erlach was installed as a fashionable and sought-after architect. Commissions were plentiful, as royalty and highest echelons of aristocracy sought to repair damage inflicted on their country residences by the Ottoman Turks in the course of their 1683 campaign. Fischer's understanding of an urbane Baroque idiom appeared superior to that prevalent in Central Europe, and in 1687 he secured the key position of court architect, which he would retain in the service of three emperors.

Service under Joseph I

During the 1690s, which have been described as the most fruitful period of Fischer's career, he adapted the Italian Baroque to local needs and traditions. In 1690, he won great acclaim for two temporary triumphal arches constructed in Vienna to celebrate Joseph I's coronation. He later personally instructed Joseph in architectural arts, so successfully that in 1696 the monarch elevated Johann Fischer to the nobility, as Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach.

In his 17th-century designs and commissions, Fischer von Erlach embraced Berniniesque powerful curving lines, seeking to convey a sense of movement. His other inspirations included Mansart's country residences and the Palladian classical villas, which he would study during his journeys to Prussia, the Netherlands, England in 1704 and Venice in 1707.

Thus Fischer presided over the genesis and early evolution of a distinctive brand of Baroque architecture, which would shape architectural tastes of the Austrian aristocracy for decades to come. His emblematic design from the 1690s was the Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy, [ [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9034378/Johann-Bernhard-Fischer-von-Erlach] Encyclopedia Brittanica on line] commenced in 1695 in Vienna. As Hans Aurenhammer put it, this edifice represented "a new type of town palace characterized by impressive form, structural clarity, and the dynamic tension of its decoration".

Salzburg and late works

Fischer's expertise in town planning made itself felt in designs he executed for the Archbishop of Salzburg. Particularly accomplished are two churches, the "Dreifaltigkeitskirche" (1694-1702) and the (1696-1707), whose highly pitched domes and towers, convex facades, and dynamic forms irrevocably changed the outline of Salzburg. They say that masses of stone were designed by Fischer so as to give the appearance of billows of cloud and smoke. The archbishop's country seat, Schloss Kleßheim (1700-09), was also designed by him. and provided Europe with one of the first professional archtectural glimpses of this notable Roman monument. [ [http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=17691] C. Michael Hogan, "Diocletian's Palace", The Megalithic Portal, Andy Burnham ed., 2007]

After Joseph I's death in 1711, Fischer von Erlach was rarely entrusted with new commissions, as the more pleasing and less demanding designs of his rival Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt proved more popular with the young monarch Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor and his court. He found an opportunity to draw some of the finest architectural reconstructions of the buildings of Antiquity, which were published in his groundbreaking "Plan of Civil and Historical Architecture" in 1721. He was also made responsible for various administrative tasks, which would take a large portion of his energy and time.

Clam-Gallas Palace in Prague, commenced in 1713, was one of his last designs for a stately town residence. The structure, much imitated by later architects, highlights Fischer's enthusiasm for Palladian facades, which became ever more pronounced during the last period of his work.

But it is Karlskirche in Vienna, started in 1715, that most fully illustrates his late synthetic style. In this structure, completed by his son Joseph Emanuel, Fischer's ambition was to harmonize the principal elements and ideas that underlie the most significant churches in the history of Western architecture: the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, the Pantheon and Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, the Dome des Invalides in Paris and Saint Paul's Cathedral in London.

Selected works


* Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna
* Karlskirche, Vienna (1715— )
* Mausoleum of Ferdinand II, Graz
* Parnas Fountain, Brno
* Church of the Trinity, Salzburg
* University Church, Salzburg
* Clam-Gallas Palace, Prague
* Spanish Riding School, Vienna

References

* Hans Aurenhammer, "J.B. Fischer von Erlach", 1973.

Line notes

External links

* [http://www.austria.org/oldsite/sep98/erlach.html Austria.org Information]

Persondata
NAME= Erlach, Johann Bernhard Fischer von
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Influential Austrian architect of the Baroque period
DATE OF BIRTH=1656
PLACE OF BIRTH=Graz
DATE OF DEATH=1723
PLACE OF DEATH=Vienna


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