The new Corpus of Baroque Ceiling Painting in Germany

Stephan Hoppe and Ute Engel

Corpus der barocken Deckenmalerei in Deutschland (CbDD). Erfassung, Analyse und digitale Publikation der architekturgebundenen Malerei (ca. 1550-1800) auf dem Gebiet der heutigen Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Academies´ Programme, Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities

Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities

Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Munich, 2015–2039

Project Director: Prof. Dr. Stephan Hoppe, Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Ludwig Maximilians-Universität München (LMU)

Teamleader Marburg: Prof. Dr. Hubert Locher, Deutsches Dokumentationszentrum für Kunstgeschichte – Bildarchiv Foto Marburg (DDK), Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Philipps Universität Marburg

Project Coordinator, Teamleader Munich: PD Dr. Ute Engel, Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Ludwig Maximilians-Universität München (LMU)

The new Corpus der barocken Deckenmalerei in Deutschland (CbDD) started in 2015 as a long-term research project funded by the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities (Union der deutschen Akademien der Wissenschaften) and intended to last for 25 years, i.e. until 2039. The project is directed by Prof. Dr. Stephan Hoppe (Munich) and consists of two work units:

one based at the Department of History of Art, Munich University (LMU);

one based at the Deutsches Dokumentationszentrum für Kunstgeschichte (DDK) – Bildarchiv Foto Marburg, Department of History of Art, Marburg University.

The CbDD continues the former Corpus der barocken Deckenmalerei in Deutschland, which was initiated by Prof. Dr. Hermann Bauer (†) and Prof. Dr. Bernhard Rupprecht (†) in 1966 and undertook a survey of the baroque ceiling paintings in Upper Bavaria, published in 15 volumes 1976–2010. The project was guided by Prof. Dr. Frank Büttner (†) from 1994 to 2010. In 2012, Prof. Dr. Frank Büttner and his successor at the Institute of Art History at LMU University, Prof. Dr. Stephan Hoppe, together with Prof. Dr. Hubert Locher and Dr. Christian Bracht of the Philipps-Universität Marburg, applied successfully for the continuation of the CbDD within the German Academies´Programme.

The new Corpus has introduced a couple of new principles in comparison to its predecessor: 

It is organized along typological modules instead of contemporary regional units of administration:

Module I: Courts, palaces and residences;

Module II: Aristocratic dwellings and civic buildings;

Module III: Monasteries and pilgrimage churches, priories and cathedrals;

Module IV: Parish churches and chapels.

The ceiling paintings of these monuments are dealt with not only as specific painterly media, but are also analysed in their spatial, functional, historical, sociological, communicative or technological contexts.

The paintings are documented by new photographic campaigns carried through by expert photographers authorized by the Deutsches Dokumentationszentrum für Kunstgeschichte – Bildarchiv Foto Marburg. The images are catalogued and published continuously with their metadata in the digital picture database of the DDK, the Bildindex Kunst und Architektur (BKA), see: www.bildindex.deckenmalerei-in-deutschland

An additional novelty is the orientation of the CbDD towards new digital technologies. So the team of researchers will present their results in a digital database called WissKI (Wissenschaftliche KommunikationsInfrastruktur), using the advantages of the Semantic Web and Open Linked Data, see:

 A prototype of the CbDD database shall go online in 2019. Addional research articles of the members of the research team are published in different volumes covering overarching themes. The papers of the series of workshops and conferences of the project will be edited in print and as e-books, based on the principle of print-on-demand. Currently the publication of the first workshop of the CbDD is prepared, “Digitale Raumdarstellungen. Barocke Kunst im Kontext aktueller Zugriffe der spatial humanities”, which took place in Marburg, 3.4.–4.4.2017, see:

The second main event of the CbDD was an international conference “Connecting across Europe? Ceiling Painting and Interior Design at the Courts of Europe around 1700”, which took place in the historic surroundings of the Galeriegebäude of the Palace and Gardens of Hannover-Herrenhausen, 13.–15.9.2018, see the conference programme:

Moreover it is intended to explore the potential of the technologies of digital photography and laser scan, 3D visualisations and virtual reconstructions in exemplary cases, especially in respect to the documentation of lost or fragmented monuments of baroque ceiling paintings. A pilot project on “Deckenmalerei und 3D” was carried through in 2015–2017, when 3D visualizations of the Kaisersaal and a couple of further rooms of the New Residence of Bamberg were prepared in collaboration with Bernhard Strackenbrock of illustrated architecture ( and the new Kompetenzzentrum Denkmalwissenschaften und Denkmaltechnologien (KDWT) of Bamberg University ( The 3D model of the Bamberg Kaisersaal can be viewed on the internet platform Sketchfab online, see:

An article informs about the process and the results of the pilot project:

Rainer Drewello/Ute Engel/Mona Hess/Max Rahrig: Welttheater in 3D. Wie barocke Deckenmalereien ihre Geheimnisse offenbaren, in: Der universelle Wert. Neue Perspektiven auf das Welterbe in Bamberg und in aller Welt. Uni.vers Forschung, 5/2018, S. 20-23, see:

In May 2018, a new collaboration of the CbDD with the Bamberg KDWT was put up and a photographic and scanning campaign took place in the palace of Arnstorf which is in the private hands of the counts of Deym and not open to the public usually.

The digital approach and first results of the new CbDD are portrayed in the volume on “Digitale Geisteswissenschaften” of the journal of the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften in January 2018:

Ute Engel: Barocke Bilderräume. Das Corpus der barocken Deckenmalerei in Deutschland dokumentiert herausragende Kunstwerke, in: Akademie Aktuell. Zeitschrift der bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1/2018, S. 50-51, see:

The new CbDD was successfully evaluated for the first time in 2017 and is currently preparing the second part of its module I until 2022. The project achieved a full survey of the monuments built between c. 1550 and 1800 and covered with wall and/or ceiling paintings within the borders of present Germany, still existent or destroyed and documented by sources like historical photographies. This survey has been based on the data given by the volumes of the Handbuch der deutschen Kunstdenkmäler, the so-called Dehio, added by information of inventoriesor the Denkmaltopographie der Bundesrepublik Deutschland.

Module I: c. 750 monuments, 8 years, 2015–2022

Module II: c. 660 monuments, 2 1/2 years, 2023–2025

Module III: c. 500 monuments, 7 1/2 years, 2025–2032

Module IV: c. 3.450 monuments, 7 years, 2032–2039

The number of monuments established makes clear how great the challenge is to cover the cultural heritage of German mural paintings in the given time span and periods from late Renaissance to late Baroque and early Classicsm. For further information see:

Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Empire,
Melchior Steidl, Bamberg, New Residence, Imperial Hall,
© Bildarchiv Foto Marburg\Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung\
Thomas Scheidt, Christian Stein (CbDD)

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