Architect brothers Cosmas and Egid Asam were amazingly talented architects. They built dream churches for the public, and this one they built for their own private use. It is rather small, late baroque, and built-in 1746. The church was overly done with gilded garlands, cherubs, fake marble (the real stuff was too expensive, they had a budget), and oversized barley-twist columns. Every inch was covered. Some might think this is gaudy and self-involved, or it was a masterpiece; you decide for yourself and get back to me. I say self-involved.
The brothers had a thing for St. John Nepomuk of Prague; you will hear a lot about him when you read about Prague. He is a patron saint of Bohemia. There are two versions of why he was martyred. One was a nice guy trying to be respectable to the king’s woman, or he started a coup against the king. He was given cement shoes in the river. Who knows, but the brothers liked him and called him Johann. St Johann of Nepomuk is the patron saint of discretion, floods, and slander. I think the brothers chose him because he was a saint of slander. They named the church after St Johann, but the citizens of Munich named it Asamkirche, after the brothers. The citizens were so ticked off that they were not allowed inside the church; they threw a collective temper tantrum, so the brothers opened it up to the public.
The church is one of the most important buildings of late German baroque design. Because it was their own private church, they went crazy and did whatever they wanted. Egid liked looking at alters; he ensured he would see the alter from the window of his house next door. He also had it in mind that the church would be used as a confessional for the youth of Munich. There are seven confessionals as the youth of Munich were very naughty children. Cosmas fancied himself a painter, so his little personal touch was to paint the ceiling fresco. The theme was, what else, “Life of Saint Nepomuk.” It will be interesting to see which death scene Cosmas chose to paint as there are three versions over in Prague.
The high altar was inspired by the high altar of St. Peter’s in Rome. Like St. Peters, who has a bone of the real St. Peter, the Asam brothers have a relic of St. Johann of Nepomuk in their alter. I shudder to think what it is.
Cosmas and Egid were the inspiration for the TV show Property Brothers.