Niklaus of Flüe - Brother Klaus (1417–1487)

  • Mystic, hermit and mediator

    Niklaus of Flüe belonged to the wealthy, influential estate of farmers in central Switzerland until the age of fifty. In 1467 he left his wife Dorothea and his ten children. He spent the next twenty years until his death as Brother Klaus in a hermitage in the Ranft in the gorge of the Melchaa, near his home, Flüeli.

    Even during his lifetime, Brother Klaus was known as a living saint well beyond the borders of the country and was held in high regard for his mediating influence in political affairs such as the drawing up of the 1481 Diet of Stans, an agreement between the old city cantons and rural cantons.

    Because of his visions and his ascetic life, Brother Klaus was seen as a mystic. His well-known prayer “My Lord and God, take from me everything that distances me from you” is derived from mystical thought.

    The exhibition shows the four oldest extant artworks about Brother Klaus: the first portrait of him which was painted five years after his death, the oldest sculpture which normally stands in the town hall of Stans, a pilgrim tract which was printed shortly after his death in Augsburg, and his famous meditation picture from the church in Sachseln.