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Permanent Collection

Maestro Jacopo - 1600–1700

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Archive documents mention a “Maestro Jacopo” as the artist who produced three big paintings in the church of Santa Maria in Aquiro in Rome. They represent The Crowning With the Crown of Thorns, The Flagellation and The Lamentation. They were first attributed to Gerrit van Honthorst (1590–1656), then to Trophime Bigot (1579–1649?) of Arles in France; around these paintings critics have grouped a number of stylistically fairly homogenous pictures which reveal quite close links with Honthorst, Matthias Stomer and Georges de La Tour, while at the same time influences of Carlo Saraceni and Bartolomeo Manfredi can also be seen. Characteristic of the paintings of “Maestro Jacopo” are strong contrasts of light and shade, which are created by candles and lamps; these cast a strong light on the figures, which stand out clearly from a dark background without any architectural or landscape detail.

Lit.: Benedict Nicolson: Caravaggism in Europe, Second Revised Edition (Luisa Vertova), Vol. 1-3, Torino 1990, Vol. I, pp. 59-64, fig. in Vol. II.

From Mannerism to Baroque

Although imported early-Baroque works prevailed in this period and those by itinerant artists, the 17th century paved the way for the future. The political circumstances in the region were relatively stabilized in spite of the Thirty Year War and the patronage gradually grew stronger. The arrival of the Jesuits in Ljubljana, the activity of the polymath Johann Weichard Valvasor, particularly his graphic workshop at Bogenšperk/Wagensperg Castle, and the foundation of the Academia operosorum at the end of the century were the key events of the time. 

Characteristic of sculptural production on the Slovenian territory in the 17th century were the so-called “golden altars”. As a rule, these were gilded and polychrome carved wooden retables with rich ornamentation, first with crustaceous patterns which turned into vine and grapes that covered architectural framework until the achantus foliage took over and obliterated architectural structure completely. The making of golden altars included several branches of fine arts: prints, carving, gilding, painting. Religious painting of the first half of the century still contains Mannerist elements; in the second half also secular motifs became more numerous, particularly genre scenes and aristocratic portraits. The artworks mainly echo northern early-Baroque influences. 

Noteworthy among the newcomers who settled in Carniola with their workshops were the painter and gilder Hans Georg Geiger von Geigerfeld in the mid-century, who had moved to Carniola from the region of the Central Alps, and the Fleming Almanach in the third quarter of the 17th century, known only by his nickname, who worked here only for a few years. The extraordinary productivity and skills of the latter are evidenced by his rare surviving works, mentions in Valvasor’s books, and aristocratic probate inventories.