Take a moment to look around and take in the view of a nave awash with light. The present interior of the former monastery church dates back to the mid-19th century. Before that, the church interior was jam-packed with late Baroque features and tended to be praised for its "sublimely bold architecture and fresco painting".
After the devastation of the Palatinate War and the War of the Spanish Succession, extensive renovation work was required. That work was undertaken between 1767 and 1771 under Abbot Carolus Vogler. Perhaps you’ve noticed that the extremely tall windows are split into two, with a division in the middle? That’s where there used to be a gallery running around the entire nave. The space contained no fewer than 14 altars, with the organ above the high altar.
To get a sense of this bygone magnificence, you might like to draw a comparison with the pilgrimage church of Birnau on Lake Constance. Take a look at your screen. The richly furnished Church of St. Mary between Überlingen and Meersburg was once part of the Imperial Abbey of Salem and was built in around 1750, a little over 20 years before the work in Schuttern began. People these days tend to find its gingerbread style somewhat fussy, but that’s probably roughly what Schuttern monastery church looked like.
The baroque church in Schuttern survived for about 80 years. On the 30th of June 1853, the tower was struck by lightning. The fire that subsequently broke out reduced the tower and nave to a smoking ruin.
The church was then rebuilt in the neo-classical style.
One last survivor of the Baroque furnishings can be found in Freiburg-Betzenhausen. The high chapel’s altar was sold to the local church in 1847 for 50 guilders.
depiction 1: © Historischer Verein Schuttern 603 e.V. / Gemeinde Friesenheim
depiction 2: © Wikipedia