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Exhibitions and Projects

Portraits of the Bishops of Ljubljana

This exhibition, in honour of the 300th anniversary of the Ljubljana cathedral, presents portraits of the "shepherds" of the Ljubljana diocese from the times of its founding to the present day. The items on display, selected according to cultural-historical and artistic criteria, come from various sources. At the core of the exhibition is a collection of portraits from the Ljubljana archiepiscopal palace and the gallery of bishops drawn by Jakac, derived from the former. Of the 34 bishops who have so far held the Ljubljana cathedral, five could not be identified in either original or secondary depictions, so Glušič, Radlič, Leslie, Petazzi and Kavčič are represented only by crests, and Seebach only by a 19th century fresco. While many of the portraits were unidentified or misidentified until now, numerous identification problems have been resolved for this exhibition.

The oldest known images of our bishops come from tombstones and epitaphs. Ravbar had his tombstone engraved while still alive. Kacijanar’s was made soon after his death. Lamberg and Textor’s were only raised by Hren. Tavčar’s image is known only through prints, as are Scarlichi’s and Karel Janez Herberstein’s. With others, prints constitute an important supplement to oil paintings. The oldest of the preserved oil portraits are Hren’s, followed by Buchheim’s through to the present (with the aforementioned gaps). In some periods the images grow quite numerous, particularly from Brigid onward, but not with all bishops. The quality of the works varies also, as they span from exquisite, confident paintings to more commonplace works. The oldest works for the most part remain anonymous, while the artists from the 19th century on are mostly known. Among them are Mihael Stroj, Fran Sterle, Matej Sternen, Karla Bulovec Mrak, Božidar Jakac, Slavko Pengov, Lojze and Tomaž Perko, Jože Kramberger, Irina Rahovsky Kralj, Samo Kralj and Nikolaj Mašukov. Presented separately, with his bust maquettes of the 20th century Ljubljana bishops, is the sculptor Mirsad Begić.

The portraits of the bishops are mostly official in nature, sticking to prescribed patterns and rarely overstepping formal boundaries. Those portrayed mostly pose in vestments, dressed in the cassock, rochet and mozzetta; some also don a train (cappa magna). Another simpler and ever more frequent choice is the official dignitary dress, the cassock, sometimes with a short cape (jurisdictio). It is also often complemented with a purple robe (ferraiuolo). Liturgical clothing is rare in portraits; it can be seen mostly on tombstones and posthumous depictions based thereupon.
Besides their clothing, the bishops are recognisable by their insignia: the pectoral cross (on a single or double chain, band or string), the pontifical ring (right hand middle finger), and the bishop's mitre and crosier. The latter two, both part of the liturgical equipment, tend to remain at the level of attributes in these depictions.

Ana Lavrič

The exhibition was organised by
National Gallery of Slovenia
France Stele Institute of Art History SRC SASA
Archdiocese Ljubljana
National Museum of Slovenia

Concept of the exhibition
Ana Lavrič

Authors of the exhibition
Ana Lavrič, Marja Lorenčak, Ferdinand Šerbelj

Exhibits selected by
Ana Lavrič, Ferdinand Šerbelj, Jure Volčjak, France Dolinar, Blaž Resman and authors of the catalogue

Editors of the monograph
Ana Lavrič (main editor), Marja Lorenčak, Blaž Resman, Ferdinand Šerbelj

Editors of the Guide to the exhibition (summarised from the monograph)
Ana Lavrič (main editor), Marja Lorenčak, Barbara Jaki

jzs, Julija Zornik Strle
Okvir d.o.o.

Works of art lent by
Arhiv Republike Slovenije; Bischöfliches Mensalgut Schloss Seggau; Cistercijanska opatija Stična; Frančiškanski samostan Brezje; Mestni muzej Ljubljana; Muzej krščanstva na Slovenskem ; Nadškofija Ljubljana; Nadškofija Maribor; Nadškofijski arhiv Ljubljana; Narodna galerija; Narodna in univerzitetna knjižnica v Ljubljani; Narodni muzej Slovenije; Pokrajinski muzej Maribor; Pokrajinski muzej Ptuj; Provincialat lazaristov; Semeniška knjižnica, Ljubljana; Stolni župnijski urad sv. Nikolaja; Škofija Novo mesto; zasebniki iz Slovenije in Avstrije ; Zavod sv. Stanislava, Ljubljana Šentvid; Župnijski urad Begunje; Župnijski urad Breznica na Gorenjskem

Technical organisation
National Gallery of Slovenia

Project was made possible by
Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia; National Gallery of Slovenia; France Stele Institute of Art History SRC SASA ; Slovenian Research Agency; Archdiocese Ljubljana

Strle svetila
Klet Bistrica

19 June–14 October 2007
National Gallery of Slovenia
Prešernova 24
SI-1000 Ljubljana