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Gabriel Loser, Model for the Abbey Church of Saint Gall, Switzerland, 1751-1752, Stiftsbibliothek St. Gallen

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The Abbey of Saint Gall in Switzerland was one of the most powerful monasteries in Europe from its foundation in the eighth century until its dissolution in 1805. In the early eighteenth century the Benedictine monks decided to rebuild their medieval church. The design process lasted more than four decades and occupied almost a dozen architects.

Among the fourteen surviving designs for the building is this wooden model of 1751-1752 by the Benedictine lay brother Gabriel Loser, who was a master cabinetmaker rather than a trained architect. Loser's skillful craftsmanship is reflected in his intricate model, complete with carved details.

The Abbey Church of Saint Gall, which essentially conforms to Loser's model, is a long rectangle with a large rotunda set in the center. This combination of a centralized and longitudinal ground plan is one of the characteristic features of late baroque churches in the German-speaking areas of Europe.

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