Gilded bronze statue of 'Virgin and Child of the Apocalypse', standing on a crescent moon as the Queen of Heaven, by Gerhard. The statue stands on a 11.6 m tall red marble column
At each corner of the column's pedestal is a statue of a putto, attributed to Ferdinand Murmann. These four putti are each depicted fighting a different beast, symbolizing the city's overcoming of adversities, each has a shield with text:
Together the texts on the shields form Psalm 91, verse 13: Super aspidem et basiliscum ambulabis, et conculcabis leonem et draconem (Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet).
heresy - snake, on shield svper / aspi- / dem
pestilence - a basilisk (cockatrice), on shield et / basilis- / cvm
war - a lion, on shield et / leon / em
hunger or famine - dragon, on shield et / drago / nem
The other sides show bronze coats-of-arms.
deo optimo maximo
et spes svas
com. pal. rheni
vtrivsqve bavariae dvx
Johannis Pauli II
The column is ereced in 1638 by Elector Maximilian I as thanks for to the preservation of the two capitals of the Electorate, Munich and Landshut, for the arson by the Swedes. The bronze figure was created in 1593 by Hubert Gerhard for the tomb of William V the Pious (1548-1625, Duke of Bavaria from 1577 to 1598). The putti were added in 1641.
Attributions to Gerhard and Murmann are not sure.
During the Second World War the statue was housed in the Frauenkirch. Still in 1945 it was re-erected on the Marienplatz by Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber. In 1966, during construction of the Munich U- and S-Bahn the column was temporarily removed. It was re-erected in November 1970, but then the the Baroque base and column were replaced by a copy, and was the figure again gilt.
The monument is very similar to the Mariensäule in Wien (Vienna).
Marian, Holy Trinity and Plague Columns (Mariensäule, Dreifaltigkeitssäule, Pestsäule)
Marian and Holy Trinity columns are religious monuments with a statue of Saint Mary or a depiction of the Holy Trinity on top of a column. Around the base of the column are usually various saints. Marian columns were built to thank the Virgin Mary for intervention to quell the pestilence and other scourges. The first of those was erecrted in Vienna in 1667 (Mariensäule) and the second in 1679 also in Vienna at the Graben, the Pestsäule.
The purpose of the Holy Trinity columns was usually simply to celebrate the church and the faith, although the plague motif could play a role.
Erecting religious monuments in the form of a column surmounted by a figure or a Christian symbol was a gesture of public faith that flourished in the Catholic countries of Europe especially in the 17th and 18th centuries
- Hubert Gerhard ('s-Hertogenbosch 1540/50-München before 1621), Dutch sculptor.
- Ferdinand Murmann (master in 1630, d. 1675), German sculptor.
Sources & Information
Location (N 48°8'14" - E 11°34'31")
Item Code: deby043; Photograph: 5 September 2010
Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
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© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt