St. Johann Nepomuk, better known as the Asam Church was built from 1733 to 1746 by the brothers Egid Quirin Asam and Cosmas Damian Asam as their private church. Due to resistance of the citizens, the brothers were forced to make the church accessible to the public. The church is considered to be one of the most important buildings of the main representatives of the southern German Late Baroque.
The church was built without an order, as a private chapel for the greater glory of God and for the salvation of the builders. This allowed the brothers also to build in line with the ideas of independent contractors. So for example Egid Quirin Asam could watch the altar through a window of his private house next to the church (Asamhaus).
The Baroque façade is integrated into the houses of the Sendlingerstraße and swings slightly convex outward. St. Johann Nepomuk was built in a confined space, the property is just 22 by 8 m. Even more astonishing is the performance of the two builders who were able to unite in the two-story space architecture, painting and sculpture in harmony. Especially the indirect lighting in the choir area is very well done: hidden behind the cornice window the Trinity figures are illuminated effective from behind. The cornice itself seems to swing up and down on its curved construction.
The interior is divided vertically into three sections, which increase in brightness from the bottom upwards. The lowermost portion of the benches for the church visitors is kept relatively dark and in the design symbolizes the suffering of the world. The second section, located above, is kept white and blue, and reserved for the emperor. The uppermost portion of the indirect and hidden illuminated ceiling painting is dedicated to God and eternity.
The ceiling fresco 'Life of Saint Nepomuk' is considered one of the masterpieces by Cosmas Damian Asam. The high altar of the Asam Church is framed by four spiral columns. At the high altar, these four columns are used as a reference to the four-Bernini columns over the grave of St. Peter in St. Peter's in Rome. Previously, the brothers Asam had studied in Italy, at the Accademia di San Luca, under Lorenzo Bernini. At the top is God, the Saviour. Below the tabernacle, a relic of John of Nepomuk is kept. Two angels, sculpted by Ignaz Günther, flank the gallery altar and were added at a later date.
Compared to a usually very strictly divided baroque church the Asamkirche has shows some peculiarities due to its status as a private chapel: The church altar is situated in the west, not the east as usual. In addition, the crucifix opposite the pulpit was hung lower too low. In Baroque churches it was to hang above the pulpit, so that the preacher had to look up to Jesus Christ.
In a bomb attack in 1944, the choir was heavily damaged, with the interior restoration from 1975 to 1983 according to source study was done a hypothetical original appearance of the choir.References:
Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).
It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.
After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.
UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.
Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.