Fürstenfeld Abbey in Fürstenfeldbruck
Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary
Fürstenfeld Abbey (Kloster Fürstenfeld) is a former Cistercian monastery in Fürstenfeldbruck (formerly known simply as Bruck) in Bavaria, Germany.
It is situated about 25 km north-west of Munich. The abbey was one of the household monasteries of the Wittelsbachs. The abbey church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is held to be a masterpiece of the late Baroque in southern Germany.
In 1256, Duke Ludwig II of Bavaria (Ludwig the Severe) killed his first wife, Mary of Brabant (1226–56) on suspicion of adultery (which later turned out to be unfounded), the penance for which, as imposed by Pope Alexander IV, was the foundation of a monastery. The first foundation at Seldental, at Tal near Aibling, in 1258, was afterwards moved to the present site in 1263.
Ludwig II endowed and privileged the new abbey very handsomely and, when he died, was buried here. His son, the Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian, was also a great benefactor to the abbey, which supported him in his dynastic struggle against the Habsburger Frederick the Handsome. The Emperor Ludwig died in 1347 during a bear hunt, and his heart was buried here. Both Ludwigs are commemorated by elaborate Baroque monuments. In the Thirty Years' War, in 1632/33 the monastery was sacked by the troops of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, and the monks fled to Munich. From 1640, however, the abbey began to make an economic recovery. Under Abbot Martin Dallmayr several churches were built and the number of monks doubled.
In 1691, the foundation stone was laid of the Baroque monastery buildings, responsibility for the construction of which lay with the Munich court architect and master builder, Giovanni Antonio Viscardi. In 1723 the quire was completed, and in 1741 the church was dedicated, but the remaining works lingered on until about 1780.
A number of first-class artists were employed in the fitting-out, including the brothers Jacopo and Francesco Appiani and the Asam brothers: Cosmas Damian Asam painted the ceiling frescoes, and Egid Quirin Asam created the side altars and possibly also the design of the high altar.
As a result of the general secularisation in Bavaria, Fürstenfeld Abbey passed into private ownership. The inhabitants of the town of Bruck however managed to save the church from demolition. In 1816, it became the property of King Maximilian I of Bavaria and from that time forward has served as a church of the royal family.
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