Graubünden - Culture of Construction

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Chantun Grischun
Cantone dei Grigioni
Carolingian Churches
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Heiligkreuzkapelle*

7537 Müstair
The two-storey ‘Holy Cross’ Chapel lies south of the cloister church, in front of the south-east corner of the cloister square.

The only remaining Carolingian cross-conch construction in Switzerland. Built at the same time as the cloister church at the end of the 8th century (dendro dating 785 and 788), re-constructed after fires in 1021 and 1520; renovated 1931, archaeological research since 2007.

The chapel is an artistic construction with horseshoe-shaped conches above a cloverleaf floor plan. Exterior structure is similar to the cloister church through the use of round-arched blinds, here deeper and narrower. Stone-built bell yoke above the west front. The portal is post-Medieval; on the north side a free-standing stairway (which has since been removed) led to the former gallery. Late Gothic coffered ceiling dated 1520 with charming shallow carvings of acanthus, geometric forms and fools’ heads wearing caps with bells. Remains of Ottonian frescoes in critical condition. Basement storey with what was most likely the crypt chapel with frescoes from the 18th century depicting the ship of death and dance of death.

(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.)

Literature
Das Benediktinerinnenkloster St. Johann in Müstair, Schweizerische Kunstführer GSK, Nr. 733/ 734, Bern 2003.