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Church of our Lady (Liebfrauenkirche)

Cloister in the Church of our Lady. Photo: Werner Klockner

Church of our Lady (Liebfrauenkirche)

Liebfrauenkirche. Photo: Werner Klockner

Church of our Lady (Liebfrauenkirche)
Cloister in the Church of our Lady (Liebfrauenkirche) Photo: Werner Klockner
With its impressive architecture and furnishing, the Church of our Lady is regarded as one of the foremost Gothic churches in the Rhineland region.
The structure of the building is marked by clear geometric shapes, with no added frills or adornment. In this respect, the Church of our Lady does not, from the outside, meet our customary expectations of gothic churches. The interior of the church is equally unique. Mighty columns rise up where we would expect slender, gothic pillars; the central nave towers loftily, whereas the side aisles are lower; and the nave is divided by a rood screen, making the ceiling appear to be at a dizzying height.
Of the many significant works of art in the Church of our Lady, the following are particularly worthy of mention:

 

The golden altar
This is one of the oldest high gothic shrine altars in Germany. Like the facade of a gothic cathedral, the triptych altarpiece is decorated lavishly with roses, ornamental gables, columns and arcades.
Coloured figures are superimposed on a gold background on two levels. They portray God’s work of salvation for mankind.

Golden altar. Photo: Werner Klockner

The rood screen
This artistically marks the end of the raised presbytery, and is designed like a stone arbour. Supported on slender pillars, seven vaults with exquisite free-standing tracery rhythmically span the presbytery. The four evangelists are mounted on richly ornamented panels. In the past, the epistles and gospels were read from behind the rood screen, and choirboys from the cathedral chapter sang from the raised presbytery.

Altar pictures
As a collegiate church, the Church of our Lady once boasted 19 altars. Of the remaining altars, the following are worthy of particular notice: The Nikolaus altar dating from 1506 in the side aisle on the north side; a crib altar dating from around 1480; a board depicting exciting scenes of the last 15 days of the world, in modern comic style; and the Martha altar dating from 1503 in the side aisle on the south side.

Statues
On the outside of the raised presbytery, there is a high gothic style Madonna under a canopy. This statue dates from the consecration of the choir sometime around 1330, and is fondly referred to as the “shipmaster’s Madonna”. In the interior of the church, two memorials stand out from the rest as being of remarkable quality: the 1515 epitaph for Peter Lutern, a catholic canon from the Oberwesel nobility, and that of the knightly couple Ludwig von Ottenstein and Elisabeth von Schwarzenberg.


Wall paintings
Of all the original rich mediaeval paintings, 25 wall paintings have been preserved to the present day.