Jesuit Church (Vienna)

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Interior of the Jesuit Church (Vienna).
Side altars in the church.
St. Peter Canisius preaching in Vienna.

The Jesuit Church (Vienna) (Jesuitenkirche), also known as the Universitätskirche (University Church) is a two-floor, double-tower church influenced by early Baroque principles but remodeled by Andrea Pozzo in 1703-1705. The Church is located in Vienna, Austria on Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz, immediately adjacent to the old University of Vienna buildings.

History

The Jesuitenkirche was built between 1623 and 1627 on the site of an earlier chapel, at the time when the Jesuits merged their own college with the University of Vienna's philosophy and theology faculty. The Emperor broke ground for both college and church, with the church itself dedicated to St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier.

In 1703, Brother Andrea Pozzo, s.j. an architect, painter and sculptor and a master in the quadratura, was invited by the emperor Leopold I to redecorate the church. He added twin towers and reworked the facade in an early Baroque style with narrow horizontal and vertical sections. The design of the windows, narrow niches (with statues) and the small central part of the façade deviate from the Baroque style of the towers. The church was then rededicated to the Assumption of Mary.

Interior

Despite its relatively austere exterior, the interior is remarkably opulent with ersatz marble pillars, gilding and a number of allegorical ceiling frescoes. The semicircular vault ceiling was divided in four bays with paintings in perspective, using illusionary techniques. Executed by Andrea Pozzo in 1703, the remarkable trompe l'oeil dome, painted on a flat part of the ceiling, is a real masterpiece. Immediately adjacent is the Aula (great hall) of the Vienna's university, where Beethoven's Seventh Symphony had its premiere.


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