On the left of the picture we see a crowd of people trying to get closer to the centre of the action but being held back by flagbearers. Starting from the right-hand edge, the first figure we see is that of a free knight looking out of the picture (this is a self-portrait of the artist). Next there is a large mare and, behind her, a bull. The two animals are being pulled towards the main group. The group is not uniform – on the left are serfs and on the right vassals. Between them is the young duke, dressed as a peasant. Following the assurances of witnesses and the payment of a symbolic sum, the new duke takes the place of the oldest peasant on the Prince’s Stone, a fragment of a fluted Roman column of the Ionic order.
To mark the 500th anniversary of the last enthronement of a Duke of Carinthia, which fell in 1914, it was decided in Carniola to depict the ceremony on a magnificent canvas, but this plan was interrupted by the Great War. The last ban (governor) of the Drava Banovina, Marko Natlačen (1886–1942), decided to proceed with the project and, in 1938, funded one of the largest art competitions ever held in Slovenia. Entry was limited to members of the Slovenian Society of Fine Art.
The competition was won by Gojmir Anton Kos (1896–1970), who presented the completed cycle at the Jakopič Pavilion in June 1940. Kos used the first part of the early-fourteenth-century StyrianRhyming Chronicle by Ottokar aus der Gaal for background information while working on the painting and was also advised by his brother Milko Kos, a professor of history at the University of Ljubljana. The Enthronement is part of a cycle of seven monumental paintings that was hung in the ceremonial corridor outside the reception rooms on the first floor of the governor’s palace (today’s Presidential Palace) in Ljubljana.
The painting is exhibited at Puharjeva 9.