Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mozart's Baptism

In a fanciful biography of Mozart written by Marcia Davenport in 1947 the scene of Mozart's baptism was imagined:

"Next morning the bundle of wool was carried through the snow to the baroque cathedral on the Domplatz. Sharp blades of wind cut down between the close overhanging mountains and flung white robes around the scowling saints at the church doors. Inside, dwarfed among the square, soaring columns, a few worshippers knelt hugging their coarse green cloaks and shivering at contact with the chill marble floor. Deep in prayer, they blew on their purple fingers, moved their trussed feet, and took no notice of this town commonplace, this christening party at the left-hand rear corner of the the nave, where the high iron font was open and filled with icy holy water. In a moment the ceremony was over, town-chaplain Leopold Lambrect bestowing on the feeble child the names Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus.

The scene took place on Monday, January 28, 1756. Here is the entry from the baptismal record:

The second column is the name--the second name is abbreviated Chrysost. and the two words at the end are fil[ius] leg[itimus]. The parents, Leopoldus Mozart and Maria Anna appear listed in the third column.

The baptismal font is located in the first north chapel, to the left as one enters the cathedral. I took this photograph looking west just outside of the second chapel. The basin of the font is made of pewter and dates from 1321.

A copper lion protects the four corners of the font and support its weight. These copper lions are even older than the basin dating back to the 12th century. Over the years the face has been polished by people touching the lions for luck and protection.

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