Hermenegild Peiker (restorer), Allegory of St. Peter

Church of St. Peter, Munich, Germany

Above, St. Peter rises toward the Trinity, hia right hand holding out a golden key. A shackle hangs from his arm. As usual, he is bald and has a short, square beard. The Trinity is pictured in the modern style, the Son with a cross at the Father's right and the Spirit above the two. In keeping with the fresco's theme of unity, the cross at the Son's right is echoed by an Orthodox cross carried by the angel behind Peter.

The scenes below allegorize the phrase in the vignette: SANCT PETRUS PATRONUS URBIS ET ORBIS, "St. Peter, Patron of the City and the World." Above the vignette is a globe representing the World and bearing an image of the City of Munich. The soldier leaning on the globe looks left to three turbaned figures, one of them kneeling and bowing, one offering an olive branch, and one holding a gift in a golden box. Like the three Magi, they represent the gentile world come to recognize Christ and his Church.

The soldier points them to a symbol of the Church, the "Aedicule" that covers the tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The Aedicule is flanked by Constantine the Great and his mother Helena. She was said to have found the tomb, in about 325; he ordered and financed the construction of the church. The fresco seems to make Helena a personification of the Church, holding up a shining torch that one does not see in other portraits.

The end of Constantine's mantle is held by two men in contemporary, presumably Bavarian, dress. Flapping its wings before him is a Byzantine imperial eagle, holding in its talons a mappa mundi orb symbolizing the universality of Constantine's rule.

The fresco was originally painted by Johann Baptist Zimmermann in 1753-56. Ironically, Zimmermann's image of world harmony was destroyed in the bombings of World War II.

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Photographed at the church by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.