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Art in Slovenia

The Middle Ages and the 16th Century

Catarino Veneziano

(active 3rd qr. 14th cent.)

St Peter
(1360−1370), tempera, wood, 95 x 32 cm

ZD S 2002009, Parish Office Dobrna

Preservation: The paint was cleaned and fortified. Chalk ground.
Restored: Circa 1966, Viktor Povše.
Provenance: Loan: Parish Office Dobrna
Exibition: Federico Zeri in Ksenija Rozman; European Painters from Slovene art collections; National Gallery Ljubljana, April - July 1993
Lit: I(van) S(topar), Dobrna,Varstvo spomenikov ( Care and preservation of monuments), XVII - XIX/2, 1975, p. 144 ( gothic panels from the first half of the 15th century); I. Stopar: Dobrna, zb. vodnikov (collection guide) 98, Ljubljana 1980, p. 18 - 19, picture p. 15 (in I. Komelj opinion the panels remind us on " Jurij Blažev " and they suppose to originate from Dalmatia); I. Stopar: Dobrna, Motovun 1986, p. 29 (Panels are about eighty years older than the painted year 1503 and evidently they originate from the mediterranean cultural circle); Slovenska enciklopedija (Encyclopedia of Slovenia) 2, Ljubljana 1988, p. 276, s. v. Dobrna (Dalmatian origin around 1420); S. Kokole, Štiri tabelne slike iz delavnice Donata in Catarina v Dobrni pri Celju (Four panel pictures from Donato and Catarino workshop in Dobrna near Celje), ZUZ, XXV, n. v., 1989, p. 57, passim, picture 31.34 (workshop of Donato and Catarino (?)).

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.