Säusenstein, parish church of Saint Donatus

The former parish of the Cistercian monastery of Säusenstein is dedicated to Saint Donatus, the thrower of lightning. Bergl’s frescos extend over three vault fields, they are signed and dated J. Bergl pinxit 1767. The paintings show the martyrdom of Saint Donatus, the adoration of the lamb by the 24 eldest and the ascension of the saints into heaven. According to Peter Otto, the trompe l’oeil dome of the choir should not be attributed to Bergl but to another painter mentioned in the source, Krinner. (Peter Otto, Johann Bergl 1718 – 1789, diss. (unpubl.), University of Vienna 1964, p. 82). Bergl reached the height of his creative powers with his work at the church of Säusenstein. This period was characterised by an “increase of expression and movement into the expressive-dramatic, uncompromising submission of the individual figures to the overall composition and a markedly expressive figural ideal” (Peter Otto 1964, p. 88).