The church itself was consecrated in 1142, as a 6-m-long inscription in the church testifies. Some 70 years later, the apse and the triumphal arch were frescoed by the ‘Marienberg School’. Here there is a very rare overlap of the Byzantine Deesis (Mary, Christ - in a mandorla - and John the Baptist) with the Romanesque Pantocrator and the evangelist symbols.
The painting on the triumphal arch shows Abraham’s sacrifice, including the offerings of Cain and Abel. Other frescoes, such as the Crucifixion, the Adoration of the Kings and the frescoes on the south and north walls, were created immediately after the installation of the church tower around 1380.
It is said that the Dolomites were portrayed in the steep mountains and peaks of the mural paintings, because from the church hill of St. Jakob one has a magnificent view of the Rosengarten massif.
Cain and Abel
The depiction of the offerings of Cain and Abel, usually on the triumphal arch in front of the apse, is a typical element of Romanesque painting. In the world view of that time, it symbolises the separation of good and evil, which is regarded as an act of free will. This is a central idea of Romanesque art. But God accepts Abel's sacrifice and rejects that of Cain. This action is on the one hand a reference to the Last Judgement, and on the other hand also a reference to the sacrificial action performed at the altar during the liturgy.