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The plan of the floor mosaic

Foto: © Dombauarchiv Köln, M. Bräker

A full eight years before construction of the cathedral was completed, a competition was held to determine how the cathedral interior would be decorated. This competition triggered a debate about the most suitable flooring for the cathedral. A revised version of August von Essenwein’s ‘general plan’ from 1887 was eventually selected. Essenwein, who considered mosaic to be a more stable and hard-wearing solution than intarsia, had proposed laying a floor mosaic made of Villeroy & Boch ceramic tesserae in the choir and crossing, and plain sandstone slabs in the nave and transepts. The floor mosaic covers three main themes, each of which is portrayed in a different part of the choir: the history of the archdiocese takes up the entire ambulatory and features the names and coats of arms of a number of Cologne’s bishops and archbishops; the Christian world order and humankind are portrayed in the inner choir; and the cosmos is depicted in the crossing. In Essenwein’s lifetime, responsibility for the project was transferred to the Freiburg glass-painter Fritz Geiges. The floor mosaic, which was completed in 1899, measures 1,350 square metres and is the largest work of art in the cathedral.

Kulturstiftung Kölner Dom Das Generationenprojekt 11.000 Sterne für den Kölner Dom ZENTRAL-DOMBAU-VEREIN ZU KÖLN VON 1842 DOMKLOSTER 4