Murals on the choir walls and arch, Waltensburg, a. 1330. Photo: TES.

Gothic Murals in Grisons

The Gothic style in Grisons is mainly expressed in wall paintings and carvings, while building activity is limited to castles and small churches. The region was just too poor to afford large churches or stained glass.

However, painters had the massive walls of numerous Romanesque churches at their disposal.

The most famous painter of these Romanesque churches is the so-called Waltensburg Master (Waltensburger Meister).

His paintings decorated many churches in the northern valleys of  Grisons (1320-1350). Sixteen works have been identified so far, fifteen in religious buildings:  Chur (cathedral), Lüen (chapel), Davos (parish church), Churwalden (monastery church), Dusch/Paspels (chapel), Rhäzuns (two chapels), Ilanz (Parish Church), Pitash (Chapel), Waltensburg (Parish Church), Schlans (Chapel), Zillis (Parish Church), Lohn (Chapel), Casti (Chapel and Clugin (Chapel) and one in the Brandis Castle in Maienfeld.

The murals in the parish church of Waltensburg (Vuorz in Romansch) are particularly interesting because the master was active on the inner- and outer walls and because two coats of arms of the patrons are visible.

The master painted the northern wall and parts of the southern wall of the nave and the choir wall.

The painting in the church consists of a cycle of the Passion of Christ and depictions of saints and apostles.

The master left remarkable and extraordinary paintings in the chapel of St. George in Rhäzuns. It is undisputed that Lombard and Italian influences are present.  (Source: H.F. Rupp, (Ed.), Der Waltensburger Meister in seiner Zeit, Lindenberg in Allgäu, 2015).