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Stadt München




St Mary's column

Hubert Gerhard & Ferdinand Murmann

München /  Mariensäule   München /  Mariensäule


Gilded bronze statue of 'Virgin and Child of the Apocalypse', standing on a crescent moon as the Queen of Heaven, by Gerhard. The statue stands on a 11.6 m tall red marble column
At each corner of the column's pedestal is a statue of a putto, attributed to Ferdinand Murmann. These four putti are each depicted fighting a different beast, symbolizing the city's overcoming of adversities, each has a shield with text:
Mariensäule (München) - Putto with snake

heresy - snake, on shield svper / aspi- / dem

pestilence - a basilisk (cockatrice), on shield et / basilis- / cvm

Mariensäule (München) - Putto with lion

war - a lion, on shield et / leon / em

Mariensäule (München) - Putto with dragon

hunger or famine - dragon, on shield et / drago / nem

Together the texts on the shields form Psalm 91, verse 13: Super aspidem et basiliscum ambulabis, et conculcabis leonem et draconem (Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet).


deo optimo maximo
virgini deiparae
boicae dominae
ob patriam
vrbes exercitvs
seipsvm domvm
et spes svas
hoc perenne
ad posteros
com. pal. rheni
vtrivsqve bavariae dvx
s.r.i. archidap.
et elector
clientvm infimvs
gratvs svpplex
posvit a.mdcxxxiix
The other sides show bronze coats-of-arms.

Smaller cartouches:

errictet 1638
erneuert 1970

Johannis Pauli II

Benedikt xvi.


The column is ereced in 1638 by Elector Maximilian I as thanks for to the preservation of the two capitals of the Electorate, Munich and Landshut, for the arson by the Swedes. The bronze figure was created in 1593 by Hubert Gerhard for the tomb of William V the Pious (1548-1625, Duke of Bavaria from 1577 to 1598). The putti were added in 1641.

Attributions to Gerhard and Murmann are not sure.

During the Second World War the statue was housed in the Frauenkirch. Still in 1945 it was re-erected on the Marienplatz by Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber. In 1966, during construction of the Munich U- and S-Bahn the column was temporarily removed. It was re-erected in November 1970, but then the the Baroque base and column were replaced by a copy, and was the figure again gilt.

The monument is very similar to the Mariensäule in Wien (Vienna).

Marian, Holy Trinity and Plague Columns (Mariensäule, Dreifaltigkeitssäule, Pestsäule)

Marian and Holy Trinity columns are religious monuments with a statue of Saint Mary or a depiction of the Holy Trinity on top of a column. Around the base of the column are usually various saints. Marian columns were built to thank the Virgin Mary for intervention to quell the pestilence and other scourges. The first of those was erecrted in Vienna in 1667 (Mariensäule) and the second in 1679 also in Vienna at the Graben, the Pestsäule.
The purpose of the Holy Trinity columns was usually simply to celebrate the church and the faith, although the plague motif could play a role.
Erecting religious monuments in the form of a column surmounted by a figure or a Christian symbol was a gesture of public faith that flourished in the Catholic countries of Europe especially in the 17th and 18th centuries (Wikipedia)


Sources & Information


  • Dragon
  • Famine
  • Gerhard, Hubert
  • Heresy
  • Honger
  • Lion
  • Marian Column
  • Mary with Child
  • Murmann, Ferdinand
  • Pestilence
  • Plague Column
  • Snake
  • War
  • Location (N 48°8'14" - E 11°34'31")

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    Item Code: deby043; Photograph: 5 September 2010
    Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
    If you want to use photos, please contact us via the contact form (in Dutch, English or German).
    © Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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