Friday, April 24, 2009

Ecce Homo - Meinrad Guggenbichler

From the church of St. Wolfgang in Salzkammergut, Austria, comes this masterpiece of a statue, the 'Ecce Homo' of Meinrad Guggenblicher. Sankt Wolfgang was completed in the Late Gothic style and was a renowned pilgrim destination; as is usual in many Catholic countries, the church saw many renovations and additions, stylistically or otherwise. Guggenblicher completed this statue in 1706, and along with his pulpit, also carved for the church, is considered one of the finest examples of his work.

Here is some information on Sankt Wolfgang, culled from this website.

Saint Wolfgang was born in 924 in Pfullingen (in today's state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany). He studied at Reichenau under the Benedictines and at Würzburg before he became head of the cathedral school in Trier. He later entered the Benedictine monastery of Einsiedeln where he was ordained priest by bishop (Saint) Ulrich of Augsburg in 968. He later worked as a missionary in the region of Noricum until he became bishop of Regensburg in 972. According to the legend, Wolfgang tried to get away from political quarrels that had arisen a few years later. After arriving at the monastery of Mondsee in 976, he first lived in a cave in the mountains above the Abersee lake but later decided to build a church and a small hermitage near the lake. According to the legend, he had thrown an axe down the mountain and vowed to build the church where he would find it. A popular version of the story has it that the devil himself offered to help him build the church and for reward demanded the first living creature that entered church. Wolfgang accepted, but of course made sure that the first living creature to enter the church was not a human but a wolf. It is said that Wolfgang spent seven years in this area before he was found by a delegation of his bishopric who asked him to return to Regensburg. Wolfgang died in 994 in Pupping near Eferding in Upper Austria and was buried in the church of the monastery St. Emmeram in Regensburg. He was canonized in 1052, his feast day is 31 October.

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