Date(s): 2008. Photos by Aymar. 1 - 26 of 26 Total. 3109 Visits.
1 en route Autobahn rest stop near Herrenberg. Some junk food figurines. - In case it needs pointing out, overcast sky with frequent showers.
2 en route Spring is here. Color seeding in progress.
3 Alpirsbach Alpirsbach, the Romanesque Abbey, Western approach. The chimney belongs to the Alpirsbach brewery which grew out of the monastery. Not quite in the Miller's Lite and Heinecken league but some local reputation.
4 Alpirsbach Twin towers were originally planned, Cluny and Hirsau model, but the second tower was never built. Possibly just ordinary funding problems. Likewise possible (just a guess): Indirect Cîteaux influence, particularly after 1130. Unnecessary frills like church towers were not exactly encouraged by mother abbey in Cîteaux. Problem: The Alpirsbach monastery was from early on aligned with Hirsau, the local Cluny stronghold, and the Cluny building code was less severe. Some interplay is still possible. Wider Benedictine fold regardless of some differences in scapula color and observance. - The single tower itself shows more affinity with a modest Staufic watch tower than with Cluny. Square base, clearly tiered, stepped gable. Most likely just regional influences.
[Unclaimed watchtowers were sometimes converted into church towers. (Clearly not the case here.) Saves a lot of work and who cares if the location of the church is somewhat peripheral. Best railway station traditi...
5 Alpirsbach Not sure about this imposing building. Basically the same blueprint as the towers of some village churches, scaling apart. Base is simply too large. It can hardly have been the mill house, another building which comes traditionally with a ground floor in dressed stone, the Kinzig is too far away. The scale model shows an adjacent carp or fire water pond.
6 Alpirsbach Late 19th century photo of Alpirsbach. Basement museum of the monastery. There exist three collections: That of Jakob August Lorent, that of Paul Sinner and that of Theodore Bessler. This one is most likely part of the Bessler set. (Thought at the time I would easily remember it without any notes.) - Somehow missed the fountain but am nearly certain that a 'no drinking water' plaque has been added in the meantime.
7 Alpirsbach This historic photo is probably from Lorent who died in 1884. Foreground, stake fence hooked into stone posts. Some lashing for additional support. The building to the right, partial hip roof, was the old parsonage. (The Black Forest region is some sort of sanctuary for hipped roof constructions. Even architecture needs retreat areas.) A tower clock is conspicuous by absence.
8 Alpirsbach The closed off abbey patio (cloister). Well balanced tracery, buttress framed. Graph paper without purpose. The small pox scars attest crane hoisting. Scissor hook attachment points.
9 Alpirsbach The 'wash house' next to the refectory. It was nearly certainly once roofed. Somewhat of a let down if you did expect another Maulbronn 'gazebo'. Stripped to the bone should cover it. Not even a magnolia tree.
10 Alpirsbach Amputated springer. A second floor was added in the 15th century. Recruitment related (let us make the monastic life style more attractive by offering private sleeping cubicles). Apparently brute force approach. Hobo suggestion, how about leaving the vaults in place and just ceil the walkway. Hay loft ladder access with trapdoors. You do not need much overhead clearance for sleeping. - Some incidental anti-pigeon warding.
11 Alpirsbach Pillar base bestiary. One more tooth paste ad. Do not remember the particular brand name. The well developed canine teeth and the leonid nose make a zoological classification comparatively easy. The lion motive recurs in other parts of the building (door knobs). Timeline: The meteoric rise and fall of the Staufic Empire was yet to come when these faces were sculptured.
The nave was divided in Hirsau and Maulbronn fashion into a lay brethren and choir monk (patron) part. These pillars marked the partition. The guide board calls this partition a 'Lettner' (literally: rood screen or jube). Minor semantic problem: The 'Lettner'= pulpit or 'legere' screen originally corded off the sanctuary (apse with alter, choir and pulpit era) from the more publicly accessible parts of the church. Harking back: In the original basilica the place where law was dispensed. Magistrate seat (sella curilis), stay off. Main point: a mid nave division, in th...
12 Alpirsbach Pillar base bestiary. Another member of the Garfield family. The gorgon look is just for show.
13 Alpirsbach Pillar base. The bearded round head may represent a lay brother.
14 Alpirsbach Between acanthus and oak leaf, the eternal damnation of the sinner. - Spiritual interpretation: The pillar bases show a minor bestiary. In extension, the terrestrial sphere. The elevated (supralunar) capitel, tempted to call it 'superstructure', give a glimpse of the world thereafter. Eternal punishment or the reward of the faithful respectively. Dragons grow out of the forked tongue of the liar and oath breaker. The ear gnawing may go back to Greek mythology. The world snake, Uroboros, biting its own tail. Didactic content is patent enough.
15 Alpirsbach This juxtaposition is from a guide board. My own saint picture was rather out of focus. Ill omen who knows. - The blessed ones, in the left capitel, reside in a sort of formal garden (Tuillerie motive). Gift wrapped even.
16 Alpirsbach Lapidarium (now basement museum). Bearded capital figure. Original location and meaning unknown. Somewhat undernourished by Greek caryatid standards. (Empathetic read: You would look glum too if somebody had just shaved off half your chin and you were stricken at the same time with Graves' disease and a belly ache. The curtailed fingers a sure sign of leprosy. Not even sure about the twisted thumbs. - Sculptor, defensively, sick bay models are free.)
17 Alpirsbach Lapidarium. Selfsame capital. Off hand: Fox hunt motive. More skillfully executed than most of the other sculptures. Added as embellishment at a later period? (Not sure if there is actually a blood sports connection but many of the choir monks came from the gentry. The convent served as convenient shelving space for younger scions. A longing for a certain life style may have persisted.)
18 Alpirsbach Maquette of the abbey precinct, basement museum. The prayer corner of the prior apartment is in the bay window next the church porch. Minor control tower function. The bay window itself dates back to a major building upgrade program under prior Hieronymus Hulzing (1479-1495). The encroaching building in front reduces the porch (galilee, paradise) to back alley status. Intentional? - The early 16th century Mary chapel, the building between the left transept and the parsonage (partial hip roof) was torn down in the 1830ties. (About the same time when Saluzzi, the star architect of king Wilhelm I, got the go ahead for razing one of the 11th century ancestral manors of the Staufer on the Rotenberg. Holy Alliance or not, wholesale cultural heritage destruction was simply in fashion at that time. Anything what looked remotely Gothic or older was suspect. Marienburg, Teutonic Knight legacy, was also slated for demolition. Saved in extremis. Moot point: Romantic veto or simpl...
19 Alpirsbach Prior apartment, murals of the prayer niche (in the bay window). Maybe worthwhile to spell out the somewhat antiquated vernacular: "Das send die Stÿffts-Herrn dises wirdigen Gottshaus (zu) Alpersbach, [stone mason hieroglyph], 1549." The three 11th century founder personalities were by name: Adalbert von Zollern, Rutmann von Hausen, Alwig von Sulz. Not completely sure which coat of armor belongs to which family. Do not recall any fire brand in the Hohenzollern flag. [Close by Hechingen still boasts one of the ancestral Hohenzollern manors even if the present castle is very much a Romantic creation (incorporating some older parts). Off hand: Neuschwanstein godfather.] Main point, a rather belated founder dedication. Pertinent reminder: The medieval reform papacy, in particular Gregory VII and Innocence III, and the related monastic movements, Cluny and later Cîteaux, championed a direct mandate from a higher spiritual authority. Danebrogs are not given, Danebrogs fall from t...
20 Alpirsbach Not sure how duke Ulrich would have reacted if he had clapped his eyes on these pro Austrian coats of arms. A safe distance might have been advisable. The double headed eagle stands for Imperial Austria, the single headed eagle for the dukedom of Austria.
21 Alpirsbach Even the angels in the bosses of the star shaped cross ribbed ceiling are drafted into heraldic services. Cannot file the lindworm. Just reminds me of the shield charge of a painted polymer Sioux.
Present usage of the abbey: the old abbey church is still used for Lutheran services. The good acoustics make it also a venue for musical performances. Inside a very lofty violin box. The Antiquities and Monuments Office holds at least a minority stake. The ticket office is a palpable reminder. The refectory of the abbey has been converted into a Roman Catholic place of worship. The respective rectories (church secretaries) are also somewhere tucked away in the building.
22 Alpirsbach A few murals may have been sacrificed when this state of the art bathroom was installed in the erstwhile suite of the abbot. The historic monument protection act will have at first only covered the abbey church. The shown sanitary facilities (guide board picture) will have been removed during either the 1957/58 or the more recent 2002 renovation. The first renovation after the shut down as administrative center in 1810 dates from 1872-82. By sheer interpolation, the next major renovation should be due around 2050. We will see. Verdict about the first renovations somewhat mixed. Fashion changes. No questions about leaking roofs but some of the previous alterations were apparently reversed. (Telling remark on one of the guide boards, diction just slightly enhanced: those blunderheads did not even record from what part of the building they scrounged the floor tiles for their esthetically pleasing displays.) Have also come across a rave report in an older guide.
23 Alpirsbach Present day view from the bay window in the prior suite. The fog shrouded obelisk may occasionally pinch hit for ventilation purposes.
24 Alpirsbach This jolly friar engages in a little known two handed tankard lifting exercise. Two different models by the way, stave hooped and tin cast.
25 Alpirsbach Krähenbadstrasse
26 Alpirsbach Fade out. A 'fretwork' rendering of the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Blanked out background. Do not recall any significant naval engagement at the indicated date.