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Baroque gem and Götz von Berlichingen's burial place

Schöntal Monastery

Detail of the ceiling fresco over the staircase in the New Abbey, Schöntal Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer
Vibrant spatial experience

The staircase

The magnificent Rococo staircase embodies the abbots’ representative ambitions. Sweeping flights of stairs, numerous gold platings and an impressive ceiling painting characterize the majestic reception hall in the New Abbey.

Staircase, Schöntal Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Jürgen Besserer

The staircase spans three floors.

Royal reception room

The monastery flourished under Benedikt Knittel, who was abbot there between 1683 and 1732. He began construction on the palatial New Abbey and its staircase. His successor, Abbot Angelus Münch, concluded the construction around 1745. The result is a formal and representative receiving hall that spans three floors. It was built based on a model by Johann Ludwig Deisinger.

Expressive figures

“Sapientia” and “Scientia,” the embodiments of wisdom and science, greet visitors at the base of the staircase. The crowned imperial eagle sits atop the balcony on the top floor. His mighty talons grip a shield with the Latin inscription “sustentat et ornat,” or “to protect and adorn.” The parapet, punctuated with ornamentations, bears additional figures and coats of arms.

Statue of “Sapientia” in the staircase, Schöntal Monastery. Image: Foto Besserer
Statue of “Scientia” in the staircase, Schöntal Monastery. Image: Foto Besserer

These statues greet visitors on the staircase: Sapientia (wisdom) to the left, Scientia (science) to the right.

Seashell-shaped ornamentation in the staircase, Schöntal Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Even Emperor Barbarossa has his place in the coat of arms.

Coats of arms and seashell-shaped ornamentation

The sweeping flight of stairs reaches all the way to the ceiling. The wood parapet is decorated with rocailles carvings. “Rocailles” is a French term for shellwork. The seashell-shaped ornamentations contain coats of arms associated with Schöntal Monastery. For example, Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa, who issued a writ of protection for the monastery, is represented with the Staufer lion. The coat of arms of Abbot Angelus Münch is located above the perron.

Staircase in the New Abbey, Schöntal Monastery. Image: Foto Besserer

Depicted as a female figure in the ceiling painting.

Triumphal procession through the church

A magnificent lattice of wrought iron stands on the second floor. It was commissioned by Abbot Augustin Brunnquell, who was abbot from 1761 to 1784. His coat of arms, a fountain springing forth from a cornucopia, decorates the center of the two wings of the door. The Italian Johann Baptist Ferradini created the ceiling painting in 1745 depicting the “Triumph of the Catholic Church,” allegorized by a female figure surrounded by the four continents.

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