Tomb of Emperor Maximilian: Moved out of the shadow into the light | Tyrolean daily newspaper online

Ein neues Lichtkonzept macht die Marmorreliefs von Maximilians Kenotaph besser lesbar.

© innsbruck information/berger

By Edith Schlocker

Innsbruck – The light was installed, which now pulsates through the marble reliefs of Emperor Maximilian’s cenotaph in the Innsbruck Hofburg, although it was already in November that the project was officially presented yesterday, but it is no coincidence: on the exact 562nd birthday of the legendary Tyrolean sovereigns. He would certainly have liked the fact that the almost 140,000 people who visit his – empty – “grave” every year now learn all the essentials from his eventful life based on the 24 scenes cut in white marble. About his marriage to Mary of Burgundy as well as his coronation as Roman Emperor in 1486 or his triumphant entry into Vienna four years later.

The “gedechtnus” Maximilian was very important. Whereby this should not be limited to his person, but his entire “family”, the Roman Caesars and saints of the House of Habsburg, as well as concrete ancestors. Those, cast in bronze, were supposed to stand around his tomb as “black men”. A large-scale project, which, however, was never planned for Innsbruck and which was to remain a torso due to Maximilian’s sudden death in 1519. When its exquisite architectural shell was built by his grandson Ferdinand I around the middle of the 16th century, the court church.

Designed as a total work of art, which is not least because of the 28 “Black Mander” and the 23 statuettes of saints on the parapet of the gallery next to the Golden Roof, Innsbruck’s No. 1 tourist attraction.

Die Marmorreliefs erzählen von Kaiser Maximilians bewegtem Leben.

© innsbruck information/berger

The extensive renovation of Maximilian’s cenotaph, which took many years, was completed in 2003. Including the marble reliefs, mostly created by the Dutchman Alexander Colin, based on which Maximilian’s monumental woodcut “Ehrenpforte” is considered to be the model. So far, however, the wonderful Renaissance grilles – completed by the Prague locksmith Jörg Schmiedhammer in 1573 – which surrounds the cenotaph so to speak protectively, have been somewhat overshadowed.

In order to be refined by a lighting concept devised by the light artists from Bartenbach. With LED spots hidden behind the grille, which illuminate the reliefs with different intensities and can be dimmed during church services. The enlightening project cost just under 35,000 euros, which Innsbruck Tourismus shares with the State Memorial Foundation and the State of Tyrol as its initiator. In further steps, a new lighting concept for the entire court church, but also access to and information on Maximilian’s tomb, will be considered.

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