Branches of the Ludwig Museum and collections carrying the Ludwig name can be found in Aachen, Bamberg, Basel, Budapest, Koblenz, Cologne, Oberhausen, Beijing, Saarlouis, St. Petersburg and Vienna. The passionate collector couple Irene and Peter Ludwig brought together works of art from different periods and cultural contexts, and made them available to the public. These included pieces from Greek antiquity, the Middle Ages, and Baroque and Rococo periods, Pre-Columbian art, art from Africa, China and India, as well as contemporary works ranging from American Pop Art to paintings by Pablo Picasso. They have, without doubt, created a remarkable legacy. But their chosen final resting place is a modest one; an old Romanesque church in St. Aldegund along the Mosel.
The church served the parish there for around 800 years until it was replaced by a new church building in the centre of the village. The old church was abandoned, fell into disrepair and was used as stables, a storage depot and a prison during both world wars. Its structure thankfully remained intact, although its precious contents were sadly sold off.
From 1948 onwards, the local Marian society turned its attention to the church, making roof repairs, glazing windows and buying back at least part of the lost contents. It was possible, for example, to repurchase the church’s wrought-iron pulpit from 1663 via the Cologne art trade.
The sandstone epitaph created by renowned stonemason HansRuprecht Hoffmann in 1602, a donation by the widow of the electoral bailiff Nicolaus Rultz, was discovered in the collection of Aachen-based collector couple Peter and Irene Ludwig. Neither wanted to sell the piece, but upon visiting the old church they offered to return the valuable altar on loan, provided the building was thoroughly restored. Generous financial support for the restoration was also given. In return, Irene and Peter Ludwig wished to be buried at the church when the time came.
Burial chambers were built beneath the apse, accessible only from the outside. Senheim-based sculptor Christof Anders crafted a modest, simple memorial, beside which the bronze busts of the couple, designed by Arno Breker, were set on basalt columns. Peter Ludwig and Irene Ludwig found their final resting place there in 1996 and 2010 respectively. Upon their burial, the valuable Hoffmann epitaph became the property of the St. Aldegund parish. After extensive renovation work was completed, the church was consecrated again in 1971 and today serves as a space for religious services as well as cultural events.
The Old Church can be reached from the street “Auf der Teusch” via a footpath passing between vineyards and gardens. Beautiful views over St. Aldegund await you at the top. The church stands in a small park-like enclosure. Basalt crosses from the 17th and 18th centuries are reminders of the cemetery that was once here.
The gravesite of Irene and Peter Ludwig can be seen from outside the church, but if you want to explore inside, you’ll need to borrow the key down in the town, either from the Braun family, Auf der Teusch 4a, 56858 St. Aldegund, tel.: 06542-21111 (Ferienhaus Michaela), or from the von Essen family, Auf der Teusch 4, 56858 St. Aldegund.