Balthasar Neumann, 1687–1753

Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany; 1743–77

Vierzehnheiligen, or the Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, is a substantial eighteenth-century Bavarian church which attracted pilgrims because of its saints’ reputations as healers of ailments ranging from headaches to bubonic plague.

Looking out across rolling countryside, it is the largest building for miles around, constructed in an extravagantly ornamental rococo style, reminiscent of the grandest contemporary palaces – and calculated to appeal to peasants’ taste for all-out celestial glamour. It belongs to a Catholic movement known as the Counter-Reformation, ...

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