Innsbruck Cathedral is consecrated to St. James the Elder. Even before 1717, a Gothic church of St. James stood here, which is said to have been built here in 1181 when Innsbruck was founded. Inside, on the main altar, there is the famous miraculous image "Mariahilf" by Lukas Cranach the Elder.
After we have seen dozens of copies of the Mariahilf picture on the Austrian Way of St. James, starting in Vienna Mariahilf, we are here in front of the original.
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The high baroque altar of Innsbruck's St. James' Church.
Lucas Cranach was a contemporary and friend of Martin Luther. He painted this picture for the Heiligkreuzkirche in Dresden. It is a "reformed picture of the Virgin Mary" - without any frills, a simple woman with a sweet child who are tenderly turned towards each other. However, the Reformation had in the meantime taken a turn against the veneration of Mary, and the sacred sculptures and cult images as a whole had become suspect. Thus, in 1611, the Cranachian Marian picture came to the picture gallery of the Saxon elector in Dresden. The Habsburg Archduke Leopold V, the brother of Emperor Ferdinand II, brought the picture from Dresden first to Passau, where he was bishop, and then to Innsbruck, where he was regent. Around 1650 the people of Innsbruck received it for their parish church, today's cathedral. A copy now hangs in the Mariahilfkirche in Passau.
Let us look at Cranachs Mary's picture
Mariahilfbilder at Innsbruck houses: a small selection
Click on the pictures, some of them show you the matching house!
The parish church of Mariahilf in the district of Hötting, on the left bank of the Inn in Innsbruck
In the centre at the altar is of course the Mariahilf painting. This time Jesus and Mary are adorned with crowns and angels surround the picture.