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 expensive stained glass.

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

The most famous painter 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 Romansh) are particularly interesting. The master was active on the inner- and outer walls and two coats of arms of the patrons are visible.

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

(Source: H.F. Rupp, (Ed.), Der Waltensburger Meister in seiner Zeit, Lindenberg in Allgäu, 2015).