Date(s): 2007. Photos by Aymar. 1 - 76 of 76 Total. 98 Visits.
1 Bebenhausen Nestled in the midst of the Schönbuch. Beech forest country as the name implies, a spruce backdrop will generally go with a Black Forest location. ('Bebenhausen', wild guess, 'place of the quaking aspen'.) - Foreground: Hay making.
2 Bebenhausen Cistercian abbey church to the right, royal residence (discreetly tucked away in the former guest house and infirmary) to the left.
3 Bebenhausen The church does not only look curtailed, it is so in fact. Anyone familiar with building stone recycling can go on autopilot for the rest. Somebody decides to build a new castle in Tübingen in 1535 (the reinstated duke Ulrich would be a prime suspect) and has a brainstorm as to how reduce building costs. There goes the nave. The abbey had been secularized in 1535 so all was fair game. (Maybe not the whole story. Some accounts to square. Sheer conjecture on my part. The Cistercian abbey may have gotten too chummy with the Hapsburg side who did run the state during Ulrich's time of exile. Recap: Impeachment due to irresponsible and a somewhat clumsy fiscal policy.) Particular twist, a church was needed again in 1560 for a Lutheran seminary (those were regularly lodged in secularized abbeys) so a mini nave (just three arches, the circular clearstory windows) is added. Inferior construction as might be expected. - Munchausen comment, did I ever tell you about the port...
4 Bebenhausen The usual High Gothic crescendo of pinnacles, finials, crockets and miniature flying buttresses. I suspect that the wind rose gargoyles are mainly for show. The open filigree structure will not capture much rain.
5 Bebenhausen spire internal lighting
6 Bebenhausen The flower shaped finial. The cock will have been added later. Foreground, chimney structure rather than battlements.
7 Bebenhausen Roof ridge shrouded in the usual woodbine and ivy mix.
9 Bebenhausen Internal girdle wall. The fortifications are no longer too well maintained. The abbey was built on the exact location of an old 'castle mansion' which guarded a trade route to from Ulm to Speyer. The via rheni. The duke of the Palatinate who donated the site wanted to have a reliable 'crew' in place. (Cheaper than a regular garrison.)
10 Bebenhausen, maquette Scale model. Easiest way to get your bearing is to home in on the well house in the cloister. The friar refectory is always right behind it. The West wing, opposite the East facing choir, was lay brethren territory. Standard Cluny feature. (On department store lay-out in general, if you have been in one you have been in all.) The maquette shows the state of affairs of the early 16th century when the church still had its full nave.
The small chapel abutting the Northern transept was built by prior Konrad von Lustnau (1320-1353). The local Scheltrup (Hirsau All Saints chapel reference). No surviving fragments of stained glass windows.
An outer perimeter wall encircles the hacienda buildings.
11 Bebenhausen, maquette The lake is still there albeit greatly reduced in circumference. A dam did raise the water level in former times. The Cistercians were never daunted by a terraforming challenge.
12 Bebenhausen, Valerian off The herb garden. Those monks must have been plagued by nightmares on end judging by their Valerian consumption. Cannot blame them with the overall political situation.
13 Bebenhausen, Valerian off the pinnate leaves
14 Bebenhausen, Centranthus ruber Red Valerian. Related with medical valerian. Some herb books claim that it has no medical value whatsoever, others regard it as only slightly inferior to the former. The red color will certainly enhance any placebo effect.
15 Bebenhausen, Armoracia rustica Thought at first it might be sorrel but it is in fact horseradish. Cabbage family.
16 Bebenhausen, Salvia sclarea Clary sage. You cannot go too far wrong with anything from the mint family. - The flora of the recreated herb garden is somewhat biased towards a Mediterranean setting (hardly unexpected).
17 Bebenhausen, cloister The fountain in the center of a maze of privet or box hedges. The fountain is the usual 19th century construction based on the surviving blueprints of the missing well house fountain.
18 Bebenhausen, cloister The basswoods (linden trees) form an outer perimeter. There is still a beekeeping station near the old pond.
19 Bebenhausen, cloister
20 Bebenhausen, cloister auxiliary spire, just to keep everything well balanced
21 Bebenhausen, cloister down scaled spires
22 Bebenhausen, cloister This gargoyle (4 digit life form, Gollum? or harpy class) did fall victim to sophisticated copper eaves. - As an aside, much of the technical regression of the Medieval Ages can probably be explained by metal penury. Dormant technology so to speak.
23 Bebenhausen, cloister To throw out the feet with the bath water. Just a mnemonic crib. The sinks in the cloister walkways were useful for the 'mandatum' (foot washing rituals). Problem, you could not throw out your dishwater through the window. Glazed but fixed, neither sliding nor hinged. Somewhat difficult to implement either technique in stone.
24 Bebenhausen, cloister Dated student graffiti. Wilhelm Christian Burckhardt,1694. The graffiti artist will have been a Lutheran seminarian rather than an abbey novice. (Chomsky specialist Schelling, minor attempt at deep structure humor, did not leave his personal signature, either chiseled or red inked.)
25 Bebenhausen, cloister Keystone boss, cloister walkway. St Martin of Tours.
26 Bebenhausen, cloister keystone boss. Somebody is watching.
27 Bebenhausen, choir The Gothic East window was commissioned in 1335 by prior Konrad von Lustnau. I strongly suspect that various Cîteaux rules were violated. The whole lower part of the window is a replacement. Ulrich for once innocent. This particular vandalism occurred as late as 1781. Technical: I do not know how you recycle the panes of stained glass window. I suppose you have to treat them with paint stripper first for removing the contour lines, most stained glass will still be painted (or etched) for some of the finer details, and then start recutting. Aborted project by the way. A few of the removed panes survive uncut (12,5% if my chessboard mullion arithmatic serves me right). I suspect that the removed panes will still have been composed of irregular pieces encased in glazier's lead which had to be recut one by one. One thing is certain, you cannot repeat the recutting too many times or you will wind up with clutter. Could be worse. Kay has to solve a giant jigsaw puzzle o...
28 Bebenhausen, choir The tracery shows the coats of arms of Tübingen, Württemberg, Bebenhausen and Montbéliard. Some vines can also be made out. Vineyards and tax free press houses were one of the biggest sources of revenue for the monastery.
29 Bebenhausen, choir Abbot Peter von Gomaringen makes a special votive offering to the patroness of the abbey. The swan wings will be a personal coat of arms.
Quite a number of the priors come from the rank of the nobility. The mother abbey may have been strict with regard to building code, an election, or, more exactly, the official post election 'firman' had still to be financed. The main beneficiary being the mother convent. Cîteaux or Morimond in this case. The emperor himself in Imperial abbeys. (It is only simony if the beneficiary is somebody else.)
Just as I thought, the spire chanticleer is a seminary time addition.
30 Bebenhausen, choir To the right, epitaph of the bookreading prior Johannes von Fridingen. (The actual burial place of most abbots in Bebenhausen was the chapter hall.)
31 Bebenhausen, pulpit The pulpit decorations may have once adorned on a merry-go-round. Certainly not out of place in either set up. Commissioned in 1565 by Bidembach the first prior of the Lutheran seminary. Local artist. Colored plaster rather than wood.
32 Bebenhausen, pulpit
33 Bebenhausen, pulpit Renaissance nudity alone is no guaranty for Sistine Chapel quality.
34 Bebenhausen, pulpit The rest of the family. Short leather breechers would not look out of place.
35 Bebenhausen, pulpit I cannot determine if it is just a dogfight or if an unlucky weasel is also involved.
36 Bebenhausen, choir Encounter on a spiritual plane. Personae dramatis, a white dog (watch-dog of the church, different dream vision), the prior Bernhard Rockenbauch, Bernard of Clairvaux, an open meditation book and the rood. Off hand, Aeneas carrying Anchises out of the burning Troy with just a touch of Hindenburg handshake. Technically, an amplexus scene cum accolade. Bernard of Clairvaux interacts with the incarnation of God offering his shoulder. You can hardly ask for more. I do not believe for one instance that this scene was mistaken for a deposition from the cross after the Reformation as some sources claim. Pia fraus as far as I would go. About half the monks of Bebenhausen (18, the recruitment heydays were over by then) did defect to the Lutheran side. They may simply have drawn a chalk line in the chapter hall. - Backdrop, the abbey of Bebenhausen.
37 Bebenhausen, artifacts The crozier of Sebastian Lutz, the last prior. Ulrich allowed him to return for some time with a handful of faithful (educated guess, after signing a certain number of property transfer papers). Lutz had to start practically from scratch. All former insignia had been lost. This crozier was custom made for him. Personal verdict, even a well done crozier will not help you when the Gods have abandoned you. Lutz (alias Hebenstreit) was mainly a prior in exile. He did spend some time in Parias, the same monastery which also sheltered the Maulbronn refugees. The more the merrier. He accepted a monetary compensation towards the end of his life. Not quite the expected Job denouement but times do change.
38 Bebenhausen, chapter hall
39 Bebenhausen, chapter hall You either have a wide angle lens or you wait till no tour group is around and get very close to the floor.
40 Bebenhausen, chapter hall Sculpa plate. (Exculpation plate?). Looks harmless enough but probably fairly uncomfortable if you had to kneel there for hours (with or without a dunce cap?). The chapter hall served also as impromptu court room.
41 Bebenhausen, chapter hall Chapter Hall. The personal coat of arms of prior Johannes von Fridingen still shows the location of his reserved seat at the end of the hall. The checkered banding stands for the Bebenhausen. (Sneaking suspicion, the abbey may have also run a medieval cab company.) The dated chapter hall decorations were his idea.
42 Bebenhausen, chapter hall Ecce homo motives
43 Bebenhausen, chapter hall
44 Bebenhausen, chapter hall St.Anthony's or tau cross. The INRI sign is display wired.
45 Bebenhausen, chapter hall with sponge and scalpel
46 Bebenhausen, chapter hall Typha latifolia (Common cattail). Whatever did grow in the vicinity of the carp pond.
47 Bebenhausen, chapter hall Bilberry or just a Xmas tree ornament. Probably both.
48 Bebenhausen, Parlatorium A comparatively unadorned Romanesque capital. The ribbing might qualify as fan shaped.
49 Bebenhausen, Parlatorium The sooty hypocaustic (rudimentary version) beneath the floor. The heating system belonged to a fortress castle over which the 12th century abbey was built. The abbey builders demolished it. Understandable point of pride, we do not acknowledge any ancestors. As in spiritual matters so in architecture.
50 Bebenhausen, contemporary notebook Looks somewhat like a typeset box but will in fact have been a notebook. The shallow recesses were coated with colored beeswax. Comes with enough entry fields to serve as all purpose spreadsheet. (Only thing missing is a miniature acabus in the lower corner.)
51 Bebenhausen, patres dormitorium Thought at first that is was a jailer making his round. Minor double take, the local rat catcher at work. - The dormitory was initially just that, a large room where everyone slept on a straw covered floor. Privacy was not valued too much at the time. The retrofitting with individual cells was a late 15th century innovation, possibly recruitment related. Jeremiah comment, that will take a bad end. The upgrade did fall in the priorate of Johannes von Fridingen 1493-1534. Fridingen was the last 'peace time' abbot. - The central staircase and the railings do no longer exist but the early 16th century tiled floor is still there. (Domestically burnt in the very abbey kiln.) Most plausible explanation for the miraculous preservation: hardly worthwhile the pilfering effort. > Heinrich Graff, 19th century.
52 Bebenhausen, patres dormitorium En vrac (randomly) - Celtic: severed stone heads (fright heads); Jewish: mezuzah; Islam: green door jambs and magic eyes, Amish, sundry hex signs. Understandable that you do not want to be left out. The order rules apparently authorized protective door tau's. The 'tau' is shorthand for the rood. It is shown likewise in the chapter hall. Company internal memo: Tau super hos postes signatum terreat hostes. (The Bubonic Plague might have been the chief adversary.) Ward signs could also be inscribed on roof tiles. Roman tradition even as roof tile making itself.
The most venerated relic of the abbey was a St.Sebastian arrow, counter charm against the very plague missiles. Commensurable with other explanation systems of this kind. Similis similibus curatur.
Some stuffed bears guard the cordoned off far end of the dormitory hall (no pictures, too dark). Recurring gifts from Alexander II (or kin). Karl will have been his brother-in-law, Olga was Romanov. As for...
53 Bebenhausen, dormitorium The original monk cell came with two pieces of furniture: a straw strewn bedstead and a prayer pew.
54 Bebenhausen,dormitorium Timeline: The cells were upgraded in the late 19th century by king Karl. (Some of his retinue were lodged there. I suspect that the feather pillows and nightstands date from that time.) More interesting, the members of the first post war parliament (1947-1952) of Southern Württemberg (French occupation zone) were also billeted in these cells. Cabinet Müller I believe. You never know when an old abbey dormitory comes handy. The winter refectorium served as meeting place. (Decisive factor, the only room which did come with a high tech Renaissance tile stove.) At least they did not have to worry about ringing phones and a busy Internet connection.
55 Bebenhausen, dormitorium The wainscoted and Ferdinand room. It was not only a Carlos V who at times felt the need to retire to a monastery. This particular room was prepared for duke Ferdinand (House Hapsburg). A plaque dates the event, March 1523.
56 Bebenhausen, dormitorium Plaque of the Ferdinand room. The specific ruler misdeeds which required purifications (delicta sua laustrare volens) are not listed. The best parts are always left out. The house guest episode did fall into the periode when Württemberg was ruled by Hapsburg (Habsburg). The description of the young monarch is more than flattering. Pius, iustus, clemens, prudens, multo rerum uso, ingenio elatus.... The whole inscription comes with one actual full stop. A rare concession to the formatting spoiled reader.
57 Bebenhausen, winter refectorium The winter refectorium and tile stove are located in the west wing, the erstwhile lay brethren area. By 1520 there were hardly any lay brethren left. Labor disaffection is a fact of life.
Not sure if the picture is correct. Dogs usually go for the heels first. A hamstrung victim is easier to dispatch. The neck bite is more a lion trademark. Also a question of jaw size. - The painting is restored but dates back to 1470. The monks themselves were apparently eager to transform their abbey into a hunting lodge. Be careful with what you wish.
58 Bebenhausen, winter refectorium Nobody has so far dared to restore the letters in the speech scrolls. Less forgiving than foliage. Quite possibly a scholastic dispute in progress (Darwin resoundingly refuted). I would put my money on whichever side commissioned the fresco. Just a haunch.
59 Bebenhausen, winter refectorium 'secessus cultor', will render that as 'my self made smoking den and Neuschwanstein'. King Karl was somewhat addicted to the Indian weed. Baudelaire time frame.
60 Bebenhausen, winter refectorium The exposed 12th century Spanish garrison fortress of Calatrava was manned with fighting monks, initially lay brethren (reduced number of vows) from the ranks of the Cistercians. Thought at first that it was the other way round, that fighting knights were 'amalgamated' into the order. Whatever the exact sequence it is probably safe to say that Bernard of Clairvaux did have a heart for monks of action. Deus lo vult.
Minor footnote: Not all epochs are equally heroic. Calatrava was hocked in 1562. Philip II submitted the proposal (the revenues of all military orders of Spain were offered as collateral) to a rather stressed Anton Fugger at the time. Second generation protagonists acting out the parts of Jacob Fugger and Carolus V respectively. Otherwise the selfsame setup. Imperial perspective: Caught between a mutinying army and a creditor. One of the largest of the outstanding Fugger loans was election related (Carolus V era). All participating bank houses were ruine...
61 Bebenhausen, winter refectorium A monk with a crossbow furtively departs on what may be a secret mission. (The alcalde of Almohad held Cordoba had better watch out.)
62 Bebenhausen, winter refectorium tiled stove
63 Bebenhausen, snapshot Must be 'étrennes' season. The abbot, who undoubtedly would have made a fine regimental quartermaster, hands out footwear to the bearded lay monks (conversi). A novice keeps him supplied. Admire in particular the crozier. Rather neat to keep that standing upright (no hand) on a paved stone floor. Will have taken long hours of practice. You can try it with a pointed ski pole if you do not want to take my word for it. Technically: The facial expressions are rather well captured. Would paraphrase the abbot's mien as one of benevolent scrutiny. We know are customers. Feeling might be reciprocal. The muzhiks certainly look wily. (You are probably a foreman if you have enough keys to your belt). Backdrop, more loaded shelves. > Schönau Abbey, early 16th century. Original, GNM Nürnberg.
64 Bebenhausen, slapstick Don't say boo. A somewhat jumpy brother Cellarius helping himself to an extra ration of grape juice. Key holder privilege. Something like that would obviously never happen in Bebenhausen. - Artistic licence, the tap is keyshifted upwards. > Siena codex, 13th cent., British Library. [Lay monks who did show up late for dinner did forfeit their daily allowance of tipple. One way to maintain discipline. Not sure if it applied only to lay brethren.]
65 Bebenhausen, slapstick On the dire consequences of too much grape juice. And only the stars did see it. The hay rack pinch-hits for toilet paper.
66 Bebenhausen, slapstick This one was unexpected. A rabbit eared fellow (I probably do not have to give the name) who may or may not have been a former lay brother. Or was it just a disgruntled friar in the scriptorium who did lent a helping hand in editing this particular gesta book. - [I cannot explain the cake sized bagel. A giant sized pocket mirror would be somewhat unlikely.]
67 Bebenhausen, slapstick
68 Bebenhausen, wedding the chivalric gesture
69 Bebenhausen, wedding Rain or sunshine, no abbey without a Saturday wedding. (Do not know if those white umbrellas are a regular part of the bridal outfit.)
70 Bebenhausen, the royal residence the royal couple anno 1914. I have not yet figured out what Charlotte holds in her left hand. Possibly a key but does look wrong. The pointed shoes must have been rather uncomfortable.
71 Bebenhausen. the royal residence sundial with backup system
72 Bebenhausen, the royal residence The Schlossgarten sculpture by Paul Müller en miniature. Tacked to the wall the seminal Justinus Kerner poem which inspired it. [The flashlight ban makes picture taking rather challenging.]
73 Bebenhausen, the royal residence The bathroom of queen Charlotte, ca 1914. The matching bathroom of Wilhelm II was reportedly black tiled.
74 Bebenhausen, the royal residence Queen Charlotte's bidet. The seat cover recess for the mixing lever is ingenious.
75 Bebenhausen, the royal residence state of the art cold and hot water faucet
76 Bebenhausen, the royal residence It truly gets scary when you see a whole throne room crammed with pinball machines. Penny arcade against Rococo. Will not give any name, still inhabited unlike this state owned digs (do ex-kings have to pay rent?).
Wilhelm II died in this suite of private apartments in Oct 1921. Conjectural, Wilhelm's choice of spouses, he married twice far below Romanov level, Charlotte was just Bohemian backwoods nobility, could be regarded as a somewhat anticipated abdication into a less royal lifestyle. Drawback, even less clout in politics.