Knjižnica Filozofskog fakulteta
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Paintings of the 17th and 18th century in the capuchin churches and monasteries in Croatia. [Vol. I. and II.]


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Alviž, Josipa. (2015). Paintings of the 17th and 18th century in the capuchin churches and monasteries in Croatia. [Vol. I. and II.]. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Art History.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij povijesti umjetnosti) [mentor Sanja, Cvetnić].

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The doctoral thesis comprehensively presents paintings of the 17th and 18th century in Capuchin churches and monasteries in Croatia. This fragment of the Croatian artistic heritage of the post-Trident period has not been analysed as a separate artistic whole until now, and some paintings have not been published yet. The starting point of the research was to examine the Capuchin painting corpus for the said period, with the goal of its interpretation and evaluation in the context of simultaneous local artistic heritage and in the broader context of the paintings in the Capuchin monasteries in Slovenia, Austria, Italy and the Czech Republic, that were once administratively linked to local Capuchin monasteries. Also, it was necessary to recognize iconographic and artistic particularities of the Capuchin paintings that influenced the design of the visual identity of the Capuchin religious order and the role of the Capuchins in shaping the cultural landscape of the 17th and 18th centuries in Croatia. During research, relevant art-historical research methods have been used. For the purpose of creating the catalogue, field research has been conducted during which data for the catalogue description was collected. Furthermore, art-historical analysis of the paintings was made, the paintings were thoroughly documented photographically and monastery archives have been explored. Simultaneously with the work on the field, literature on the subject was consulted and critically reviewed. In the case of destroyed monasteries, a method of restitution of monuments has been used. Field and archival research has shown that it is a scientifically, artistically and culturally interesting corpus of paintings whose formation began with the establishment and the construction of the first Capuchin monastery complexes in Rijeka and Zagreb, in the first half of the 17th century and continued with the establishment of the monasteries in Varaždin, Osijek, Karlobag and Vodnjan in the second half of the 17th and during 18th centuries. At the same time, Capuchin hospices in Rovinj, Split, Perušić, Ribnik, Kaniža and Zadar were built. Capuchin monasteries in Varaždin, Osijek, Karlobag, Vodnjan and Rijeka have abundant preserved works, while the art embellishment of Capuchin hospices is practically unknown. The painting corpus is only a preserved piece of once more numerous painting material which started to decay and disappear due to natural processes and the passage of time, affected by the abolition of certain monasteries (Zagreb, Vodnjan). The doctoral dissertation is divided into two main parts, the discussion and the catalogue. The introductory part of the thesis provides a short historical overview of the Capuchin Order from its foundation in 1525 until its spreading in Central European area and the establishment of Croatian monasteries. In attempt to present it more systematically, Capuchin painting heritage has been categorized by the following iconographic themes: visual representations of Capuchin saints, the blessed, venerable and servants of God; visual representations of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio and St. Clare of Assisi; paintings of Marian and Christological iconography; visual representations of St. Joseph; paintings depicting patron saints of Capuchin benefactors; and donor portraits. For each iconographic solution, the history of its creation, the sources and routes of its spreading have been analysed and presented. Examples of Croatian capuchin heritage were compared with preserved examples of neighbouring countries and evaluated in the context of the (Central) European art of the Baroque period. Analysed works show significant differences in visual quality and artistically best works are paintings by Cristoforo Tasca in Karlobag, Joannes Georgius Zirky in Varaždin, works in capuchin church in Osijek and paintings from the former capuchin church in Vodnjan. The second volume of the dissertation is the catalogue containing photographic recordings, bibliography and basic data on analysed paintings, totalling one hundred and two catalogue entries. The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (lat. Ordo Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum, abbreviated OFM) is, with the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor (lat. Ordo fratrum minorum, abbreviated OFM), also known as the Observants and the Order of Friars Minor Conventual (lat. Ordo Fratrum Minorum Conventualium, abbreviated OFM Conv.) the third and the youngest independent branch of the first Order of St. Francis of Assisi. The originators of the Capuchin Order are Franciscans Matthew from Bascio (ital. Matteo da Bascio, Matteo Serafini, Molino di Bascio, 1495 - Venice, 1552), Louis from Fossombrone (ital. Lodovico da Fossombrone; Fossombrone, around 1490 - Cagli?, around 1560) and his brother Rafael from Fossombrone, who, by the separation from the Observants (OFM) and lead by a desire to return to the original Franciscanism, laid the foundations of a new religious community in 1525, canonically confirmed by the bull Religious Zeal (lat. Religionis Zelus) issued on 3 July 1528 in Viterbo by Pope Clement VII (19 November 1523 - 25 September 1534). The Bull enabled Capuchins the observance of the Rule of St. Francis of Assisi (lat. Regula bullata, 1223) in its original rigor, ad litteram, which is reflected in the appearance of the monks who wore beard and habit made of rough cloth with an angular hood. Antagonism between the Observants and the Capuchins will have marked the earliest history of the Capuchin Order and directly affect its visual identity and iconography of paintings in the Capuchin churches and monasteries. For example, at the insistence of the Observants concerned about large losses of their brethren who have come to accept the Capuchin reform, the Capuchins were forbidden to spread outside of Italy until 1574. Pastoral activity in the first period of the Capuchin order is mainly marked by preaching focused on common people, care and tending the poor and the sick, particularly those suffering from plague, pastoral care of prisoners and soldiers, the conversion of Protestants and mission among non-Christians. Church confided to the Capuchins certain diplomatic services, particularly in disputes between noble families and kings in which they had the role of peacemakers. With its extended and well-accepted activities, the order of Friars Minor Capuchin stands out along with the Society of Jesus (lat. Societas Iesu) as the most prominent order in spreading the post-Trident Church renewal. Particularly active in pastoral care of common people, they were nicknamed folk monks. Capuchins came on the Croatian territory from two directions, today's Austria and Italy, which determined administrative affiliation of their newly created monasteries to three provinces: Venetian, Styrian and the Austrian-Hungarian Capuchin Province. The arrival of the Capuchin monks in the coastal area of today's Croatia, the Istrian cities of Rovinj (1672) and Vodnjan (1747) and the Dalmatian cities of Split (1682) and Zadar (1732), was moving from the direction of the Venetian Capuchin Province founded in 1535. Monasteries in Slovenian Koper (1621) and Montenegrin Herceg Novi (1688) belonged to the same province. However, the development of the order in the Croatian part of Istria and Dalmatia did not experience the same momentum as the development of the order on the continental Croatian territory, so with the exception of Vodnjan, other coastal residences of the Capuchins remained only at the level of hospices. Styrian Capuchin Province, based in Graz, along with Styrian and Slovenian convents and monasteries incorporated convents and monasteries in Rijeka (1609/1610), Zagreb (1618), Varaždin (1699) and Karlobag (1710). To the Austrian-Hungarian province, with the centre in Vienna, were annexed monasteries and hospices in the area of the eastern part of the Habsburg Empire – in Osijek (1703), Belgrade (1718), Nova Palanka (1723) and Zemun (1724), established after the liberation of this region from the Ottoman Empire.Despite the fact that the Croatian Capuchin monasteries during the 17th and the 18th centuries belonged to three separate Capuchin provinces, their collections of paintings show uniformity and compatibility that transcends the borders of individual provinces. Encouraged by conscious efforts of the Capuchins to create distinctive visual identity of their order, the mentioned uniformities and compatibilities have been confirmed by comparison with visual examples in the Capuchin monastery in the neighbouring Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Hungary and the Czech Republic, to which monasteries in Croatia were once administratively linked. Constant repetition of certain iconographic themes and types provided the Capuchins a visual recognition among other post-Trident orders. The emphasis was thereby placed on honouring their own saints canonized during the 17th and 18th century whose artistic representations were related solely to the Capuchin monasteries, and in this regard, they are interesting as examples of rare, namely exceptional iconography in the overall post-Trident iconographic panorama of Croatia. Portraits of Capuchin saints, the blessed and prominent monks were exhibited primarily in the areas of monastic refectories and hallways where the Franciscan idea of brotherhood (lat. Fraternitas) was cherished and where those paintings functioned as reminders of the models of Capuchin religious perfection and holiness. In the local context, the capuchin portraits of Franciscan champions, especially St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua and St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, stands out by their uniqueness of iconographic representation. Altar paintings in Capuchin churches or their portraits in refectories present these saints as Capuchin monks, with a distinctive beard and dressed in a Capuchin habits, modelled by those worn by St. Francis and his first followers. These paintings are therefore primarily considered as a visual confirmation that it was the Capuchins, and not some other branch of the Franciscan order, who were the only true successors of the original Franciscanism and St. Francis of Assisi, and as such, they often provoked heated reactions and attacks by the Conventual Franciscans and the Observants for which testimony can be found also in the local artistic heritage. As one of the leading representatives of the post-Trident church reforms, the Capuchins have significantly contributed to spreading and promoting the Capuchin spirituality close to post-Trident piety and teachings, primarily related to the veneration of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph and focused on Christ's passion and death. An important role in this was played by the paintings intended for public veneration or fostering intimate spirituality of monks and encouraging religious perfection. Capuchins have been among the most zealous advocates of the doctrine of Immaculate Conception of Mary (lat. Immaculata Conceptio), significantly impacting the creation and the expansion of special Marian type of Apocalyptic woman, the Co-redeemer of mankind, who has become one of the most known iconographic symbols of the post-Trident renewal of the Catholic Church. Another Marian type, Mariahilf (lat. Maria Auxiliatrix), spread to the whole region of Central Europe owing to the joint efforts of the Capuchin Order and the House of Habsburg. Confirmation is also found in the local artistic heritage in which the earliest dated picture with the image of Maria Hilf is found in the Capuchin monastery in Varaždin (1678). Preserved artistic examples in local Capuchin monasteries show confirmation of the veneration of the other Marian types popular in the post-Trident period, such as the Our Lady of Sorrows (Karlobag, Varaždin), the Madonna of Loreto (Varaždin, Karlobag, Osijek), the Virgin Mary with tilted head (Karlobag, Varaždin) as well as those for which there are few comparative examples in Croatian artistic heritage such as the Virgin with the Sleeping Child Jesus on the Cross (Rijeka) or the Madonna with a Rose (Osijek), dating back to the 17th century. It is important to note that paintings with the image of Mary in most cases belong to the earliest painting furnishing of Capuchin monasteries in Croatia (Varaždin, Osijek). These paintings were often gifts of benefactors, delivered to Capuchins on the occasion of the establishment of new monasteries. Then they were exposed to public veneration, as was the case with the painting of Maria Hilf in Slovenian Škofja Loka or the one in Zemun (lat. BMV Semlinensis), or served to encourage private religious spirituality and devotion of the monks as evidenced by Croatian examples embedded in the walls of monastery altars, exposed in the corridors and cells of monastic enclosures and in the monastic choirs of the Capuchin churches. Paintings honouring St. Joseph in the Croatian Capuchin monasteries revealed that the local Capuchins primarily recognized in this saint a spiritual role model they sought to follow. In accordance with the teachings of St. Francis, Capuchins were contemplating Christ's passion and death daily, encompassing, among other things, the paintings of Passion iconography as visual statements and incentives of religious devotion. With them we find scenes from the Savior's childhood, primarily Nativity, Adoration of the Shepherds and the Flight into Egypt. The paintings dedicated to the beginnings and the end of the Savior's earthly life mirrored the theological idea of Jesus' birth as the Eucharist which will be sacrificed for the redemption of the world and Franciscan highlighting Christ's human nature. Crucifixion is an essential theme on the paintings not only in local Capuchin monasteries, but also in those of the entire Central European region, and paintings depicting the Crucifixion have almost always occupied a central place on the partition wall of the monastic choir in Capuchin churches. Paintings of the Last Supper, Supper at Emmaus or Mystical Supper of Holy Family are in accordance with its iconography settled in the premises of monastery refectories, and on the side walls of Capuchin churches, the Stations of the Cross were exhibited. Attachment to new centres of Capuchins pastoral activities is also reflected in visual highlighting of pastoral symbols such as city views or views of some of the Capuchin monastic complexes in the altarpieces and also in the representations of the patron saints of the main Capuchin benefactors, mostly representatives of the highest social classes, on the altarpiece of main altars in the Capuchin churches. Apart from the small number of paintings from the 17th century, the largest number of paintings in Capuchin churches and monasteries in Croatia was created in the 18th century. In some cases, determining the date of their creation is facilitated by the inscriptions on the paintings or by the records in archival sources and literature which sometimes reveal the name of the commissioner or the artist. The reason for ordering and furnishing the Capuchin churches and monasteries with paintings, in addition to their construction, was also the celebration of important anniversaries, such as marking the establishment of the Capuchin Order and the founding of monasteries, further the beatification or canonization of Capuchin saints and the blessed, and finally the promotion of piety close to Capuchin spirituality. Artistic quality of analysed paintings is very diverse. Among the finest artistic achievements are paintings on the main altar in Capuchin churches whose donors were Capuchin benefactors from the highest social ranks. The names of the authors of these paintings are sometimes revealed by the written sources, as in the case of Karlobag altarpieces, which, around 1712, were commissioned by the House of Habsburg to be painted by venetian artist Cristophoro Tasca (Bergamo, around 1667 - Venice, 1737). A comparative art-historical analysis helped to determine the authorship of the former main altar painting in Varaždin Capuchin Church of the Holy Trinity, which was painted in about 1705 by Hungarian artist Joannes Georgius Zirky (active in the first half of the 18th century), also author of the paintings above the main altar of the Varaždin Franciscan Church of St. John Baptist (around 1705). The donor of this painting was Dorotea pl. Vačić (Vagić), née Vragović, a member of the middle Varaždin nobility. Monumental paintings of the main altar of the Osijek Capuchin church of St. James the Apostle were painted around 1727 by Viennese painter from the circle of the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. The money for these paintings was donated to Capuchins by General Baron Maximilian von Petrasch (Petras, Petrac, 1668 - Fürstenau, 1724) and his wife Mary Ann Petrasch, née Beckers, the daughter of the General and Baron Stephan von Beckers. These paintings are also the earliest examples of Baroque paintings in post-Ottoman Osijek. Apart from the above mentioned artists, painters Blasius Grueber (?, about 1700 - Varaždin, 1753), Joseph Jacobs (active around the middle of the 18th century), Pécs-Osijek painter Paulus Antonius Senser (?, about 1718 - Pécs, 1758) and the Venetian painter Giuseppe Diziani (Venice, 1732 - 1803) also painted for the Capuchins. The names of these artists testify that the Capuchins ordered paintings for their monasteries from the available and experienced local artists by engaging in the art trends characteristic of the area where their monastery were located. It should be noted that the majority of these artists worked for other Franciscan communities, for example Franciscan monasteries at Trsat, in Varaždin and in Osijek. Among the famous names that stand out is the Viennese painter Martin Johann Schmidt, known as Kremser Schmidt (Grafenwört, 1717 - Stein ad Donau, 1801), one of the most important Austrian painters of Baroque period whose painting Descent of the Holy Spirit (1774) in Capuchin monastery in Osijek represents the only present known painting of this artist in the continental Croatia. The said painting by Kremser Schmidt was evaluated in the current literature as the most valuable piece in the painting collection of the Osijek monastery, and this assessment can expand to the entire corpus of Capuchin paintings of the 17th and the 18th century in Croatia. Its original quality once again became visible after the professional conservation and restoration works carried out in 2010 in the Croatian Restoration Institute – Conservation Department Osijek. Numerous names of artists are still unknown, including the Venetian painter who made paintings for the Capuchin monastery and the church of St. Joseph in Vodnjan in the third decade of the 18th century and whose style echoes the Venetian painters Gaspare (Belluno, 1689 - Venice, 1767) and Giuseppe Diziani. The difference in the quality between the preserved paintings can partly be explained by the fact that the construction of the Capuchin monasteries and churches and their furnishing with art works entirely depended on financial aid of Capuchin benefactors. At the time when there were no more material funds, and monetary contributions by donors were more modest, Capuchins, as it seems, were turning to financially more accessible but artistically more modest painters. Among them, particularly interesting is the painter who in 1772 painted fourteen paintings with scenes from the life of St. Francis of Assisi for Capuchins in Osijek, and whose particular artistic expression may be recognized on two paintings in Ilok and Đakovo. Osijek cycle is the only almost completely preserved cycle of paintings with scenes from the life of St. Francis painted in oil on canvas in continental Croatia. It is also unique in the context of the Capuchin paintings in Croatia and neighbouring countries, given that so far there has not been any other evidence of similar transfer to the painting medium of graphic illustrations in the book Vita et admiranda historia s. Francisci (Augsburg, 1694). In addition to the already mentioned artistic influences that came from Italy, particularly from Venice, and from the Central Europe, especially Vienna, individual paintings from Varaždin Capuchin monastery display influence of Bologna Baroque painting, namely paintings of the Bologna artist Gaetano Gandolfi (San Matteo della Decima at Bologna, 1734 - Bologna, 1802). On the several paintings in Zagreb, Osijek and Karlobag the impact of the Austrian artist Michael Angelo Unterberger (Cavalese, 1695 - Vienna, 1758) can also be recognised. A comprehensive study of painting heritage of the 17th and the 18th century in Capuchin churches and monasteries has shown that it is a scientifically, artistically and culturally interesting painting corpus, important for better understanding and evaluation of the visual identity of the Capuchin Order, impact and the role of the Capuchins in the formation of cultural landscape of the 17th and the 18th centuries in Croatia, as well as for a more comprehensive understanding of local post-Trident artistic heritage.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: Order of Frairs Minor Capuchins, painting of the 17th nad 18th centuries, post-Trident iconography, visual models, Karlobag, Osijek, Rijeka, Varaždin, Vodnjan, Zagreb
Subjects: History of art
Departments: Department of Art History
Supervisor: Sanja, Cvetnić
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij povijesti umjetnosti
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2017 08:34
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2017 08:34

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