Peter Lenk (1947), Imperia, 1993. Photo:

600 Years Council of Constanze

Three popes, who simultaneously claimed the right to the Papacy, religious unrest and political conflicts in Europe led to the Council of Constance between 1414 and 1418. The purpose of this Council was to resolve the conflict between competing self-appointed popes, to discuss heresy and to address church reform.

The Council took place against a background of the rivalry of Habsburg, France and the Holy German Empire. The Eidgenossenschaft benefited in the end and conquered large areas of Habsburg (including Aaugau).

The city of Constance commemorates the Council under the title “Europe is a guest”. The opening year 2014 was dedicated to King Sigismund (1368-1437), the self-appointed patron of the Council. 2015 dealt with the tragic fate of the theologian and reformer Jan Hus (1369-1415).

Hus had traveled to Constance to defend his views but was sentenced to death and burned on 6 July 1415. 2016 is devoted to medieval life, in which a literary figure, Imperia, is central. Imperia is a woman with two men on her hands, Pope Martin V (1369-1431) and Emperor Sigismund.

Both are naked, except for the crown and tiara, their symbols of power. The statue refers to a short story by Honoré Balzac (1799-1850), La Bella Imperia, a satire on the morality of the Catholic clergy, where Imperia seduces cardinals and princes. 2017 and 2018 were devoted to artists, including Oswald von Wolkenstein (1376-1455), an artist known at the time. (Further information: