Oberammergau Crucifixion Group
Discover the impressive crucifixion group in Oberammergau. Kreuzigungsgruppe is a sculptural art, protected monument located in Oberammergau
A monumental gift from the "fairy-tale king
The Oberammergau Crucifixion Group is not only an artfully created sculpture, but a living testimony to King Ludwig II’s deep admiration and appreciation for the Passion Play and the people of Oberammergau. This breathtaking monument, donated by the monarch as a gift, was solemnly inaugurated on 15 October 1875 and has been an integral part of the village’s religious and cultural identity ever since.
King Ludwig II's attachment to Oberammergau - Crucifixion group
King Ludwig II, often referred to as the “fairy-tale king”, was so deeply moved by a special performance of the Oberammergau Passion Play on 25 September 1871 that he decided to give the inhabitants of this picturesque place a lasting memorial: the monumental Crucifixion Group. He personally chose the material, the artist and the location of the monument. With his silent prayer held at this site every year on 15 October, the King showed his deep attachment and reverent respect for this impressive representation of the Passion of Christ.
The challenge of creation and transport
The Oberammergau crucifixion group is a work of art of impressive size and precision. The sculpture, which is 12 metres high in total, is made of Kehlheim marble, a robust and durable material that gives the sculptures their detailed delicacy and majestic appearance.
The individual figures of the monument are of immense size and weight: the cross and Christ, including the base, weigh about 600 hundredweights. The figures of Mary and John weigh 40 hundredweights each, while the pedestal alone weighs 480 hundredweights. The financial value of this monumental gift at the time was 400,000 guilders, an enormous sum that burdened the state coffers but at the same time expressed the king’s deep appreciation for Oberammergau and its Passion Play.
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The crucifixion group in the course of history
Since its solemn inauguration on 15 October 1875, the Oberammergau Crucifixion Group has witnessed many moments in history. One notable event is the depiction of the crucifixion group on a bank note in 1923, which underlines its symbolic and historical significance.
But probably the most impressive event remains King Ludwig’s personal visit and silent prayer held every year on 15 October. Despite the ever-growing crowds his presence attracted, the King remained faithful to his annual visits until his increasing popularity eventually forced him to discontinue his visits.
The legacy of the Crucifixion Group
Today, the crucifixion group stands as a symbol of Oberammergau’s deep religious significance and historical importance. It represents the connection between King Ludwig II and the Oberammergau Passion Play and reminds us of the deep reverence and admiration that the “fairytale king” felt for this special place and its people. A unique testimony to history and art, the Oberammergau Crucifixion Group remains a masterpiece that will continue to attract admirers from all over the world.