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Art in Slovenia

Marx Reichlich - The Middle Ages and the 16th Century

(near Brixen, c. 1460 − Salzburg, after 1520)

The most important Tyrolean painter among the followers of Michael Pacher, Reichlich was born around the year 1460 in the environs of Brixen/Bressanone, probably in Neustift (Novacella), and is first mentioned in 1494 in the register of citizens of Salzburg. In Salzburg he probably worked with Michael Pacher, who in 1484 had received a commission for a new high altar in the former church of the Virgin Mary there, which is now the Franciscan church. After Pacher’s death in 1498 Reichlich set up on his own, and although he was a citizen of Salzburg he retained links with the Tyrol. In 1489 he painted a panel of the Adoration of the Magi for the Wilten monastery (Innsbruck, Ferdinandeum), in which we can see stylistic links with Friedrich Pacher. In 1499 he produced two panels, which have not survived, for the Styrian abbey of Saint Lambrecht and Saint Ann with the Virgin Mary and the Child for canon Christoph von Thurn in Brixen (Brixen, Diözesanmuseum). On a commission from Florian Walduf he created an Altar to the Virgin Mary for the parish church in Hall, and in 1506 an Altar to Saint Stephen and Saint James for Neustift (Munich, Alte Pinakothek and Neustift). In 1508 the emperor Maximilian entrusted him with the renovation of the murals at Runkelstein Castle. An Altar to the Virgin Mary for Neustift (Munich, Alte Pinakothek) is dated 1511. Among his undated works mention should be made of the panels in the Österreichische Galerie in Vienna. By 1520 Reichlich was probably already dead, because the altar which he had undertaken for Heiligenblut was finished by a “Wolfgang Maller”. Reichlich’s earlier works show the influence of the school of Friedrich Pacher, later he followed the stylistic tendencies of Michael Pacher. In many ways his work also shows similarities with the paintings of the Master of Uttenheim. He adopted Italian stylistic ideas – in composition and staffage figures from Vittore Carpaccio, in perspective solutions from the Mantegna school, and it would appear that he was even familiar with the painting of the Umbrian circle. He also painted portraits. He usually signed his works with the initials M. R.

Lit.: Nicolo Rasmo, Triptih Marxa Reichlicha v Narodni galeriji v Ljubljani, ZUZ, n. v. III, 1955, pp. 246-251; Elfriede Baum: Katalog des Museums mittelalterlicher österreichischer Kunst, Wien-München 1971, pp. 123-124; Lukas Madesbacher: Marx Reichlich und der Meister des Angrerbildnisses, Innsbruck 1994 [dissertation, typescript].
From the High Middle Ages to the Renaissance
In the High Middle Ages religious art prevailed that spread through the Slovenian lands first from monasteries and then from major regional centres, particularly, Gorizia, Villach and Ljubljana. Gothic art persisted even after the dawn of the Renaissance, but in the 16th century artistic production almost came to a standstill due to Turkish invasions, peasant uprisings and Protestantism which was averse to the fine arts. 

The leading position in Gothic painting belongs to frescoes. The collection presents a few examples of original fragments and several copies which illustrate the most frequent motifs, such as St Christopher, St George, the Procession and the Adoration of the Magi, etc., and a few special motifs, such as Sunday Christ and the Dance of Death. Along with numerous masters with provisional names we also know several artists by name and their idiosyncratic oeuvres, e.g. Johannes Aquila, Johannes de Laybaco, Master Bolfgang. Their production was part of the contemporary art scene in the sub-Alpine space, where from old times onwards stylistic influences of northern and southern countries had been intertwined. 

Numerous medieval sculpture workshops supplied reliefs and statues to churches for their altars. Crucified Christ, Madonna and Child, and Pietà rank among the characteristic religious motifs. The earliest sculptural pieces still demonstrate Romanesque vestiges, but the main body of exhibits are stylistically determined by the Gothic style which in some areas of Carniola, Styria and Carinthia lasted deep into the 16th century. The zenith of Gothic sculpture in Slovenia is represented by the works of the Ptujska gora sculpture workshop represented by The Beautiful Madona and the Pietà from Podsreda. To the period of the so-called late Gothic baroque style around 1500 belong the Virgin with ChildSt Catherine and St Magdalene from Avče, and the extraordinarily expressive Christ Crucified from Dramlje. Renaissance sculpture is represented by plaster casts of the Bishop Ravbar epitaph and two reliefs of St Andrew’s altar from Gornji Grad by Oswald Kittel.