Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden's high grave

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The high grave in the Johanneskapelle of Cologne Cathedral

The high grave of Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden is a burial place in the Johanneskapelle of Cologne Cathedral . As archbishop and initiator of the cathedral construction, Konrad von Hochstaden received an outstanding burial place in the unfinished Cologne cathedral; the large reclining figure preserved from the original tomb is considered the most important bronze work of the 13th century in Germany.


The grave is in the middle of the Johanneskapelle on the northeast side of the ambulatory in Cologne Cathedral. At this point the archbishop laid the foundation stone for the building. In addition to the sarcophagus, the chapel houses, among other things, the Johannes Baptist altar , the wall grave of the Polish Queen Richeza and (veiled) the facade plan F of the west facade of the cathedral.

Before the tomb was moved to the Johanneskapelle, it was in all probability in the central axis chapel, which, however, housed the Epiphany shrine with the most important relics of the cathedral in 1322 .


Side view with niche figures

The tomb in the form of a tumba consists of a limestone substructure with a length of 2.50 m, a width of 86 centimeters and a height of 1.10 m. It is covered by a black marble slab measuring 2.70 × 1.03 m, on which the bronze reclining figure rests. The cast bronze measuring 2,80 m in length and is powered by a gable , supplemented, a gable-like crown.

The substructure dates from 1848 and was designed by the sculptor Christian Mohr . The side surfaces are equipped with tapering niches, nine each on the long sides and three on the head and foot of the sarcophagus. The niches in the long sides house stone figures depicting people from Hochstaden who participated in the laying of the foundation stone of the cathedral, such as Cardinal Pietro Capocci , King Wilhelm of Holland , and the scholar and bishop Albertus Magnus . Two angel figures wearing coats of arms complete the ensemble. The top side shows the presentation of the cathedral model by Master Gerhard , the bottom side shows three praying figures.

Faithful plaster reconstruction of the sculpture from the 1920s / 1930s. In the collection of the Cologne City Museum since 1958

On the sarcophagus-like base lies a black marble slab with the inscription

Conradus de Hocsteden


The actual bronze figure is executed as a "Gisant", that is, a reclining figure, but as was customary at the time in the form of a living person. The folds of the robe correspond to a standing person, the eyes are open. A bronze arcade, an “architectural canopy of the throne”, surrounds the sculpture, so that it slightly overlooks the marble slab.

The figure is shown in episcopal regalia and with a miter and holds a book in his left hand and a large crosier in the right. The face is youthful-idealized; at the feet lies a lion. Destruction during the period of secularization affected the right hand, the staff, the feet and the arcade arch. These were renewed in 1847 in the royal ore foundry in Munich according to the specifications of the cathedral builder Zwirner and the sculptor Ludwig Schwanthaler .


Bronze sculpture of the tomb, depiction from 1911

Today it is mostly assumed that Konrad commissioned his tomb while he was still alive and that the reclining figure was therefore cast around 1260 in the Cologne cathedral building .

The exact dating of the bronze casting was discussed emotionally among art historians, however; full consensus has not been reached. Paul Clemens ' view , who favored dating around 1322 and assumed the artist's Dutch origins, was the general view until 1973. The basis for Clemen was the mention in a chronicle of Martin von Troppau , which mentioned an "artistically cast mausoleum" above the Hochstaden grave between 1326 and 1330.

This theory was supported by the bones and parament remains found in the Johanneskapelle after the restoration in 1847 , from which it was concluded that a second burial was.

The archaeological excavations carried out by Otto Doppelfeld after the Second World War also uncovered an empty, axially aligned grave in the axis chapel. From this it was concluded that von Hochstaden had been buried there until 1322 - when the Epiphany Shrine was placed in the Axial Chapel - and that the burial site was then moved to the Johanneskapelle.

The Kölner Domblatt of 1979/1980 contains a debate in which Renate Kroos doubted that Konrad von Hochstaden had ever been buried in the Axial Chapel. Herbert Rode, who since 1973 advocated the theory of the relocation from the Axis Chapel to the Johannes Chapel in 1322, published a "reply" in the same yearbook. His view is widely accepted up to the present day. In 2002 Peter Kurmann dealt again with dating by comparing styles with French sculptures; however, he did not set a definitive date.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Arnold Wolff (ed.): The Gothic Cathedral in Cologne ; Vista Point Verlag, Cologne 2008, ISBN 3-88973-060-4 , p. 51
  2. Klaus Hardering: Konrad von Hochstaden tomb, on:
  3. a b Harald Friese: The Cologne Cathedral; Komet Verlag, Cologne 2003, ISBN 3-89836-268-X , pp. 147-149.
  4. ^ A b Paul Clemen : The Cologne Cathedral , The Art Monuments of the Rhine Province , Sixth Volume, III. Department: The Art Monuments of the City of Cologne, Volume One, III. Department: The Cathedral; Verlag von L. Schwann, Düsseldorf 1937, pp. 256-257
  5. Barbara Schock-Werner: Cathedral stories, with the master builder a. D. by the Cologne Cathedral, Cologne 2020, p. 139
  6. ^ Renate Kroos: Liturgical sources on the Cologne Cathedral Choir in: Kölner Domblatt. Yearbook of the Zentral-Dombauverein , 44./45. Episode, 1979/1980, pp. 106-109
  7. ^ Herbert Rode: On the burial place and the tomb of Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden. A reply in: Kölner Domblatt. Yearbook of the Zentral-Dombauverein , 44./45. Episode, 1979/1980, pp. 203-222
  8. ^ Peter Kurmann: ' Around 1260' or 'Around 1290'? Reflections on Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden's reclining figure in Cologne Cathedral . in: Kölner Domblatt. Yearbook of the Zentral-Dombauverein , 67th episode, 2002, pp. 99-136

Web links

Commons : Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden's grave  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 50 ° 56 ′ 28.9 ″  N , 6 ° 57 ′ 32.6 ″  E