Luftl (Luftlmalerei) fresco paintings are the characteristic decorations on houses in Alpine regions. They date back to the 18th century when wealthy merchants, farmers and craftsmen showed their wealth and status with colourful frescoes on the façade of their houses. The paintings often incorporated existing architectural structures, such as windows or doors, or took the form of medallions or scenes from the Bible, fairy tales or folk festivals.
The most famous Luftl painter was Franz Seraph Zwink (1748-1792) who lived in Oberammergau for many years. He lived in a house called ‘Zum Luftl' which could be where the word luftl comes from. Other theories as to the origin of the word include it being connected to the word luftig (fast) or luft (air) - the frescoes being painted in the open air.
Whatever the origin of the word there are many stunning examples of Luftl work to be enjoyed in Oberammergau.