Jakob Prandtauer

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Portrait of Prandtauer in Melk Abbey

Jakob Prandtauer (born July 16, 1660 (baptism date) in Stanz near Landeck ( Tyrol ), † September 16, 1726 in St. Pölten ) is one of the most important Austrian baroque master builders . His main work is the Melk Abbey , on which he worked from 1702 until the end of his life.


Prandtauer's birthplace in Stanz near Landeck

Prandtauer was the only son of Simon Prandtauer and Maria Lentsch and had seven sisters. His exact date of birth is not known. Only the date of baptism is recorded. He was either born on the day of baptism or shortly before it. In 1677, at the age of seventeen, he began a three-year apprenticeship as a bricklayer with Georg Asam in Schnann in Tyrol. There is no archival evidence of where he stayed afterwards. Perhaps, like many Tyrolean craftsmen, he was a seasonal worker, so he left his homeland in spring and returned at the beginning of winter. Prandtauer's mother died in 1698; in the estate treatise he is named as a "sculptor near St. Pölten in Austria". It is not clear when he started working for Count Albert Ernst Gurland , who owned Thalheim Castle near St. Pölten. It is also unclear when and where Prandtauer learned the craft of the sculptor. In Thalheim he met Maria Elisabeth Rennberger, the maid of Countess Gurland, whom he married on July 21, 1692 in the old chapel of the castle (the building no longer exists). Immediately prior to the marriage, he had purchased a house in the Klostergasse in St. Pölten Klosterviertel (which has been preserved in modified form) and was thus a subject of the Canons of St. Pölten become. In 1693 he applied to the Tyrol to have his apprenticeship certificate issued .

Prandtauer's first buildings were built in the 1690s. At first he was mainly commissioned to redesign existing buildings. His earliest secured work is the reconstruction of the rectory of Haitzendorf in 1694 on behalf of the Herzogenburg Abbey . He probably also worked on the renovation of Ochsenburg Castle during this time . The adaptation of the St. Pölten cathedral tower is also attributed to Prandtauer.

In 1696, Prandtauer designed bridges for the Lower Austrian estates over some tributaries of the Danube in the district above the Vienna Woods , of which only one was built. Through his work as a bridge builder, Prandtauer came into closer contact with the prelate of Melk Abbey and was commissioned by him to redesign the parish church and rectory in Lassee . After further work for monasteries in and around St. Pölten (including the Augustinian canons of St. Andrä an der Traisen), he received his first major order in 1702, the construction of the collegiate church in Melk. The originally conventional design was changed several times under the influence of the building owner Abbot Berthold Dietmayr . This explains why the Melk collegiate church shows little of Prandtauer's handwriting.

While working on Melk Abbey, Carlo Antonio Carlone, the leading monastery builder in Upper Austria, died in 1708 . Prandtauer received the construction management in the Garsten , Kremsmünster and St. Florian monasteries , which Carlone had started. He changed and modernized the designs of his predecessor, especially in Garsten and St. Florian. From 1710/11 he was in charge of the reconstruction of the Melk monastery. Around 1714 he was commissioned to redesign the Dürnstein monastery in Baroque style; In the same year he designed the new building for the Herzogenburg Abbey. Prandtauer also built the church on the Sonntagberg (frescoes by Daniel Gran ) and the Primmersdorf Schüttkasten belonging to Primmersdorf Castle . His only documented castle building is the Hohenbrunn Castle near Sankt Florian, built between 1722 and 1732 .

After his death in 1726, most of the projects were continued by his second nephew Joseph Munggenast .

Prandtauer owes his fame above all to the monastery complexes he built. His work, however, is much more diverse: it includes parish churches, rectory, castles, bulk boxes, toe yards, garden buildings, bridges and barracks.


Melk Abbey


Prandtauer monument in St. Pölten ( 3D illustration )
50 Schilling Jakob Prandtauer obverse.JPG
Jakob Prandtauer on the 50 Schilling banknote (1951)
The J. Prandtauer Prize for Science and Art awarded by the city of St. Pölten

The portrait of Jakob Prandtauer can be seen on the 50 Schilling banknote from 1951, on the reverse is his most famous work, Melk Abbey. His 300th birthday was celebrated with a special stamp from the Austrian Post .

Prandtauer is honored above all in the centers of his life and work, numerous Upper and Lower Austrian communities as well as the city of Innsbruck  named streets and squares after him. In addition, the Melker elementary and secondary school and a gym in St. Pölten are named after him.

On the occasion of the 350th birthday in 2010 in St. Pölten, exhibitions in the city museum, the diocesan museum and the Lower Austria state museum were dedicated to the builder. The Melk Abbey also paid tribute to Prandtauer in a photo exhibition. In Landeck Castle in Tyrol there is a permanent exhibition that honors the life and work of Prandtauer.

Jakob Prandtauer Prize

Since 1968, the city of St. Pölten has awarded the Jakob Prandtauer Prize for Science and Art to people or institutions from St. Pölten or those who have made special contributions to St. Pölten.


Web links

Commons : Jakob Prandtauer  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Register entry for the marriage on matricula.findbuch.net  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . In Matrik Kapelln 1666-1692 , p. 256, file C 0418@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.matricula.findbuch.net  
  2. Jakob Prandtauer as master bridge builder . Writing workshop e. U. June 26, 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  3. ^ Melk Monastery History , accessed on March 11, 2016.
  4. ^ Entry special postage stamp of the 300th birthday of Jakob Prandtauer in the Austria Forum
  5. Jakob-Prandtauer-Volksschule Melk ( Memento of the original from January 29, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.vsmelk.ac.at
  6. Jakob-Prandtauer-Hauptschule Melk
  7. The city of St. Pölten to the Prandtauerhalle
  8. 350th birthday of Jakob Prandtauer ( Memento from September 11, 2012 in the web archive archive.today )
  9. Jakob Prandtauer. The baroque master builder . District Museum Association Landeck. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  10. Jakob Prandtauer Prize 2010 awarded in St. Pölten ( Memento of the original from June 6, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved July 8, 2010  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.landeshauptstadt.at