Despite the loss of most of the manuscripts, the remnants of the impressive library can still provide a valuable insight into several centuries of continuous development of the medieval book. Today, about 120 manuscripts and 100 fragments are known. This is but a fraction of the whole, and even this small part is almost entirely outside Slovenian borders. Yet this is the only group of medieval manuscripts from Slovenia, allowing us to follow nearly four centuries of unbroken manuscript production within one monastic community.
Manuscripts are in fact many-layered monuments and they can tell us a great deal. The preserved shelve-marks at Žiče confirm that there really were approximately 2000 manuscripts. Several of these manuscripts are also signed by monks or copists from outside, who were probably benefactors, and their hand-written work makes for a rich palette of paleographical forms. It is also the only group of manuscripts in Slovenia which is complete enough for us to be able to follow the development of flourished (penwork) initials and consequently to speak about the “Žiče style”. Some manuscripts also proudly display colourful painted initials and other illuminated elements, created by professional and – as was in those times fairly common practice – by itinerant painters.
The exhibition consists of 29 original manuscripts: 20 from Graz (Universitätsbibliothek), 3 from Vienna (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek), 2 from Celje (Historical Archives) and 4 from Ljubljana (National and University Library). Among the manuscripts, 15 works of art, related to the Žiče Charterhouse are exhibited (oil painting, chalices, map, graphic reproductions, architectural elements and original hallowed Carthusian clothing).
Author of the exhibition
Nataša Golob, Alenka Simončič
Alenka Simončič, Marja Lorenčak
Jani Bavčer, Arsenal d.o.o.
Works of art lent by
Archives of the Republic of Slovenia; National and University Library; Municipality of Slovenske Konjice; Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Wien; Stift Klosterneuburg; Universitätsbibliothek Graz; The Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, Celje Regional Unit ; Historical Archives Celje; Rectory of Ruše; Rectory of Špitalič; Rectory of Oplotnica; Rectory of Kebelj
Project was sponsored by
Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia
Bank Sparkasse d.d.
Municipality of Slovenske Konjice
Karel Iršič, herbalist from Žiče Charterhouse
16 November 2006–21 January 2007
National Gallery of Slovenia