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Heyser Lecture

Last Updated: 20070322, mei

Monday, May 7, 20:00 — 22:00


Graham Blythe’s traditional organ concert will be given at the Jesuitenkirche.

The Jesuitenkirche (Jesuit Church), also known as the Universitätskirche (University Church) is an ornate church on Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz, immediately adjacent to the old University of Vienna buildings. The Jesuitenkirche was built between 1623 and 1627 on the site of an earlier chapel, at the time when the Jesuits merged their own college with the University of Vienna's philosophy and theology faculty. The Emperor broke ground for both college and church, with the church itself dedicated to Saints Ignatius Loyola and Francis Xavier. In 1703, Brother Andrea Pozzo, SJ, an architect, painter and sculptor and a master in the quadratura, was invited by the emperor Leopold I to redecorate the church. He added twin towers and reworked the facade in an early Baroque style with narrow horizontal and vertical sections. The design of the windows, narrow niches (with statues) and the small central part of the façade deviate from the Baroque style of the towers. The church was then rededicated to the Assumption of Mary. Despite its relatively austere exterior, the interior is remarkably opulent with ersatz marble pillars, gilding, and a number of allegorical ceiling frescoes. The semicircular vault ceiling was divided in four bays with paintings in perspective, using illusionary techniques. The remarkable trompe l'oeil dome, painted on a flat part of the ceiling, is a real masterpiece. Immediately adjacent is the Aula, where Haydn's oratorio The Creation had its premiere, as did Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.