An exhibition by the Fortified Churches Foundation
Décor of the Churches
„Antiquities are rare treasures, he who despises them despises their fathers, their history and memoirs of their existence, and what will one day keep their memory?“
Michael Ungar (approx. 1794)
Thanks to the economic boom of the country the churches received a rich liturgical décor – including impressive triptychs in the choir area, illustrating the life of Jesus and the Saints. Part of the image program from the time before the Reformation also included artful murals in the sense of biblia pauperum (Pauper’s Bible) that illustrated the divine salvation in the choir and in the nave. Gothic sacrament houses or ornamented niches were created for the storage of the host and some prosperous villages even boast bronze baptismal fonts. After the Reformation, as seating for the priests, other clergy, and celebrants richly framed stone sedilia or carved and inlaid stalls served as a place where the pastor and other local dignitaries took place.
With the Reformation numerous triptychs and the murals painted before the Reformation initially remained in the churches. As additional décor the so-called glater emerged – wooden galleries in the nave, which offered seats for all worshipers. Not later than in the 18th century, most murals were plastered and painted over in order to revoke the churches from the Counter Reformation attempts under Habsburg reign. Now increasingly contemporary altars were created and in some places combined with the organs to form a unit.