Menu Shopping cart
Your basket is empty.
Support us


Art in Slovenia

The Middle Ages and the 16th Century

Winged Altar of St Canzianus
(c.1530), wood, 157 x 144 x 31 cm

Parish Office Marijino Celje, Lig
The carved altar consists of the shrine cabinet containing three saints - the patron saint of the church in the centre, St. Bartholomew to the left and St. Gereon to the right - two folding wings, each with a saint in relief (St Simon to the left and St Jude Thaddeus to the right), and a predella with a painting of God the Father. The alterpiece used to feature a superstructure that is documented in old photographs; by analogy, the main canopy contained another sculpture, probably standing Christ in Agony. The outer sides of the wings, displayed when the altar is closed, are adorned with the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, depicting the angel to the left and Mary at the lectern to the right. It is evident that the shrine cabinet was also flanked with tall, narrow carved wings like those of the superstructure.

Restored: 1973, Institut of Monument protection Ljubljana
Exibition: Winged Altar from Britof near Ukanje (on the Idrija River); National Gallery of Ljubljana; 5 February - 23 March 2008

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.