Fischer von Erlach, Johann Bernhard

Fischer von Erlach, Johann Bernhard

Fischer von Erlach, Johann Bernhard (yōˈhän bĕrnˈhärt fĭshˈər fən ērˈläkh), 1656–1723, the leading Austrian baroque architect. After studying in Rome he returned to Vienna. In 1705 he was appointed imperial court architect. His early works, exuberant examples of the high baroque, include his redecoration of the mausoleum of Ferdinand II at Graz and the Hercules fountain in Brünn. In the Dreifaltigkeitssäule monument in Vienna he designed masses of stone to give the appearance of billows of cloud and smoke. Among his major buildings in Salzburg are the Church of the Trinity (1694–1710) and the University Church (1694–1707) and in Vienna the Hofbibliothek or Imperial Library (1722), the Imperial Palace Schönbrunn (1696–1711), and the Karlskirche or Church of San Carlo Borromeo (1715–37). He wrote A Plan of Civil and Historical Architecture (tr. 1973).


See biography by H. Aurenhammer (tr. 1974).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fischer Von Erlach, Johann Bernhard


Born July 20, 1656, in Sankt Martin, near Graz; died Apr. 5, 1723, in Vienna. Austrian architect. One of the most outstanding figures in Austrian baroque architecture.

Fischer von Erlach began his career as a sculptor. Between 1682 and 1686 he lived in Italy, where he studied under C. Fontana. He subsequently worked as an architect, primarily in Salzburg and Vienna. His major works include churches in Salzburg, notably Dreifaltigkeitskirche (1694–1702) and Kolle-gienkirche (1694–1707), which are built in a style similar to Italian baroque. In Vienna he built Schönbrunn Palace (1696–1711) and the Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy (1695–1711), which are more severe and stylistically distinctive. His most important work is the Church of San Carlo Borromeo (Karlskirche, 1716–39) in Vienna, with an elliptical plan, a high cupola, two monumental columns, and a classical portico.

Structures designed by Fischer von Erlach are noted for their plastic expressiveness and coherent scale, as well as for the complex spatial structuring of their interiors and the refined and precise articulation of their facades.


Entwurff einer historischen Architectur. Vienna, 1721.


Sedlmayr, H. Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. Vienna-Munich [1956]
Aurenhammer, H. J. B. Fischer von Erlach. Cambridge, Mass., 1973.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.