Graubünden - Culture of Construction

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Chantun Grischun
Cantone dei Grigioni
The Late Gothic Period
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Alte kath. Pfarrkirche St. Johannes Baptist*

7013 Domat/Ems
Late Gothic group of buildings situated on high ground, with domineering tower and other remarkable features. Original fortified church enclosure mentioned in the 1st half of the 12th century, from which period the massive tower, initially built for defence purposes, originates; in 1982, archaeological evidence of foundations to another tower from an undefined period beside charnel house; new construction of choir in 1504 and nave in 1515; vestibule in 1703; interior renovation from 1946-47, exterior in 1960.

Open vestibule with irregularly rounded western façade, possibly above the foundations of the former ring wall; Baroque crucifixion group on outer western wall from the beginning of the 18th century. Romanesque west tower with 2-metre thick walls and embrasures, the twin openings in the bell storey most likely from 1695. Pointed timber wimpergs spire and barrel-vaulted passageway to nave, presumably Late Gothic. In nave, double bay net vault, unknown stonemason’s insignia on vault console in the southwest corner. Net vault in raised polygonal choir; crypt-like underground sacristy, access from nave by middle stairs. Wall paintings after 1515: decorative painting in choir vault, crest of the Lords of Marmels (at Castle of Rhäzüns until 1553) in the jamb of the choir arch and remains of a Passion cycle on the northern nave wall. Wall painting perhaps by Fridolin Eggert from 1689: St. John the Evangelist at the pulpit and two angels above the choir arch.

Furnishings: Late Gothic winged altarpiece dated 1504 originating from the workshop of sculptor, Niklaus Weckmann and painter, Hans Huber, new base and restoration in 1947; in the shrine, John the Baptist, accompanied by saints Catherine and Florinus, Ulrich and Dorothea; the Baptism of Christ and the Decapitation of John the Baptist on the wing relief; the Last Judgement, Gethsemane, as well as the saints Luzius and Emerita on the painted reverse side; the Virgin and Child and St Anne, Peter and Francis in the crest. Choir stalls from around 1670, on the cornice to the right, a figure of Saint John the Baptist from the beginning of 14th century (restoration 1980-81), at left, a vesper group from the beginning of the 15th century attained from a local village wayside shrine. Baroque side altars from 1686-87; in north altar, statue of the Blessed Mother from around 1504 out of the workshop of Niklaus Weckmann (crown was added in the Baroque), in the pedestal niche of the south altar, the Sepulchre of Christ from around 1515. On the north wall, Late Gothic figure relief from around 1515: Mother Anne, Mary instructing, Magdalena, Barbara, a bishop and an abbot; on the south wall, former choir arch group from 1674 by Ignazius und Johannes Bin. Late Gothic choir arch crucifix. Polygonal pulpit from 1676. Organ from 1981.

The Lady Chapel, in retro choir of the parish church; restoration around 1992. Small choir from around 1700, nave with a W-Front, which protrudes on three sides from 1782. In altar, a pietà from 2nd half of 17th century. On choir arch wall, picture of grace of the Mother of God seated on a throne from 2nd half of 14th century and panel painting of Joseph with Christ Child from 18/19th century. Votive picture from 19th century.

To the north, charnel house. Built in 1693, renovated in 1948. On the façade, remnants of a wall painting of the Last Judgement from around 1693 by Fridolin Eggert, restored 1974-75. In the interior, superb Early Gothic Holy Grave Group* from end of 13th century with Christ and two lamenting women; Saint Michael from 2nd half of 17th century. Fragment of a Gothic baptismal font.

(Kunstführer durch Graubünden, Hg. Gesellschaft für Schweizerische Kunstgeschichte. Eng. translation of the title: Art Guide of Graubünden, ed. Society for the History of Swiss Art, Zurich 2008. This book has only been published in German.)