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Permanent Collection

1600–1700

Pieter Mulier

(Haarlem, 1637 – Milan, 1701)

Storm at Sea
oil, canvas, 158 x 288 cm

ZD S 2001088, Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
This is one of the most monumental of Pietro Tempesta’s seascapes. His exceptional skill in the depiction of both rough seas and stormy skies is shown here in a series of motifs, especially as regards luminescence. The sky is particularly effectively painted, opening in the middle between a number of very differently shaped clouds. This painting can be compared to similar examples in the Galleria Doria Pamphilj in Rome, in the Galleria Estense in Modena and in the Borromeo collection on Isola Bella on Lago Maggiore.

Restored: 1960, ZSV, Ljubljana.
Provenance: Unknown. FCC, 1945; on loan to the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts to be hung in their offices.
Exhibitions: 1960, Ljubljana, No. 103; 1983, Ljubljana, No. 17.
Lit.: Cevc 1960, p. 39, Cat. No. 103 (Dutch, 17C); Zeri [& Rozman] 1983, p. 112, Cat. No. 17, Fig. No. 18; Aloisi 1998, p. 85.

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.