Detail of a mural of the House of Staufen in the Lorch Monastery church

Benefactors and patron saints throughout the agesImages of the House of Staufen

The House of Staufen founded the monastery, and they remain a clear presence long after the dissolution of the dynasty. When the monastery church had to be rebuilt after its destruction in the Peasants' War of 1525, the abbot wanted the murals on the walls of the church to reflect the monastery's deeply rooted tradition.

Murals of the House of Staufen in the Lorch Monastery church

Colorful examples of monastery tradition.

In remembrance of a long tradition

In a difficult time, Abbot Laurentius Autenrieth wanted to honor the monastery's benefactor family with a commission. The images decorate the pilasters of the nave. To the far west, two pairs stand across from each other. These are followed by the most important rulers from the House of Staufen, depicted as individual figures, including Friedrich I Barbarossa and Emperor Friedrich II. It should be noted that the depicted members of the House of Staufen wear clothing that was modern when the images were created, circa 1530, not the clothing of the 12th century.

Benefactors Duke Friedrich of Swabia and Agnes von Waiblingen, mural in Lorch Monastery church

The benefactors of the monastery and a model of the church

Benefactor couple with church model

The monastery church's benefactors can be seen on the south pilaster: Duke Friedrich of Swabia (approximately 1047–1105) and Agnes von Waiblingen (1072–1143). Friedrich was the builder of Hohenstaufen Castle and Duke of Swabia since 1079. In the same year, he married the emperor's daughter, Agnes. She bore 21 children in two marriages – no at all unusual for a woman at the time. The two benefactors present a model of their monastery church, though without the west towers: They no longer existed when the images were created around 1530.

King Konrad and Gertrud von Sulzbach, mural in the Lorch Monastery church

Restored mural.

King Konrad and Gertrud von Sulzbach

The opposite mural, on the north pilaster, depicts Konrad and Gertrud as benefactors: They hold a winged altar in their hands. King Konrad (1093–1152) created the foundation for the splendor of his House. As the founder of Lorch Monastery, he had his ancestors' remains moved from the collegiate church in the village to the monastery church. Earlier, this mural was associated with King Phillipp of Swabia and his wife Irene Angelina of Byzantium—a mistake made by Martin Crusius, a professor from Tübingen, in 1588.

Repainting and restoration

It's almost impossible to say what the murals looked like when they were painted around 1530, they have been renovated and repainted so often—an indication of how highly these images of the legendary House of Staufen were valued. And drawings of the murals of the House of Staufen from earlier centuries don't help: They demonstrate primarily one thing, namely the taste and viewpoint of the time in which they were made. The last restoration of these large paintings took place in 1951.

Duke Friedrich II, mural in the Lorch Monastery church
Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa, mural in the Lorch Monastery church
Konradin, the last member of the House of Staufen, mural in the Lorch Monastery church

The murals, which have been repeatedly restored, speak to the high estimation of the House of Staufen.

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