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Fischer von Erlach, Johann Bernhard (1656–1723)

  1. George Thomas Kurian

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc1445

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Kurian, G. T. 2011. Fischer von Erlach, Johann Bernhard (1656–1723). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Baroque Austrian architect. He studied in Italy under Borromini and Bernini and probably visited England and met with Wren while St. Paul's was being built. Although most of his works were secular he built three major churches, two of them in Salzburg. The Trinity Church was begun in 1694 on an oval plan with two towers and a dome over the central oval. The main element is an ellipse with its long axis that of the entrance-high altar but the front is concave. The University Church, the large church of the Benedictine University of Salzburg, was built from 1696 to 1707 with a salient curved front between flanking towers and a high dome. The entrance front has a convex facade set between two towers. The very grand and noble interior has, above the high altar, an extraordinary composition of clouds rising up to heaven in between two great columns set on either side of the apse. His third church was the Karlskirche in Vienna dedicated to Borromeo and built in 1715 to commemorate a plague. It borrowed the oval plan of Borromini's Sant' Agnese, the colored marble interior of Bernini's sant'andrea al Quirinale, the colon-naded portico of the Pantheon, and the twin towers of St. Peter's and twin columns from the Trajan and Antonine columns in Rome. He also erected the high altar of the Franciscan Church in Salzburg. In 1721 he published a history of architecture.


  • Fischer von Erlach, Johann Bernhard (1656–1723);
  • Baroque Austrian architect;
  • Karlskirche in Vienna, oval plan of borromini's sant' agnese