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Johann Baptist Zimmermann


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(bapt. Wessobrunn, 3 Jan. 1680; bur. Munich, 2 Mar. 1758).

German painter and stuccoist. Although he worked a good deal for the court in Munich, he was above all a church decorator; indeed ‘the typically Bavarian-Swabian church interior, resplendent with light colours, is largely Zimmermann's creation’ (Eberhard Hempel, Baroque Art and Architecture in Central Europe, 1965). He often worked with his brother Dominikus Zimmermann (bapt. Wessobrunn, 1 July 1685; d Wies, Bavaria, 16 Nov. 1766), who began his career as a stuccoist but became one of the greatest German architects of his time. Their two most celebrated collaborations are the pilgrimage churches of Steinhausen (1727–33), which has been described as ‘the first wholly Rococo church in Bavaria’, and Die Wies (1746–54), which marks one of the high points of the style; the simple white exterior gives no hint of the airy vision in pastel colours and gilt within. Both churches have ceiling paintings by Johann Baptist. His finest work as a stuccoist is the decoration of the Amalienburg hunting lodge at Schloss Nymphenburg near Munich. Several other members of the Zimmermann family were painters and/or stuccoists.

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