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Permanent Collection


(1st half 17th cent.), oil, canvas, 119 x 95 cm

NG S 1299, National Gallery of Slovenia, Ljubljana
This impressive painting, whose authorship is still unknown, combines stylistic elements of both Genoese and Milanese painting and it seems reasonable to date it between 1630 and 1650. The compact composition and the strong contrasts of light and shade indicate that the artist was familiar with the work of Luca Cambiaso and the Genoese Mannerists connected with the latter, while the typology is reminiscent of Milanese painting, such as the work of Giovanni Battista Crespi, called Cerano, and his circle.

Provenance: Staff doctor, Dr. Wotypka, Graz; Strahl collection, Stara Loka, until 1930; purchased by the Narodna galerija in 1930, old Inv. No. 111 (Bolognese School).
Exhibitions: 1930, Ljubljana, no catalogue; 1960, Ljubljana, No. 25; 1983, Ljubljana, No. 33.
Lit.: Polec 1930b, p. 161, Cat. No. 327 (style of J. Ribera, called Lo Spagnoletto); Mikuž 1941, p. 173 with Fig. (Bolognese School); Cevc 1960, p. 22, Cat. No. 25 (Lorenzo Garbieri); Rizzi 1972, p. 133 (Bolognese, 17C); Zeri [& Rozman] 1983, p. 38, Cat. No. 33, Fig. 32.

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.