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Permanent Collection


The Mocking of Christ
(2nd qr. 17th cent.), oil, canvas, 93 x 128 cm

NG S 1128, National Gallery of Slovenia, Ljubljana
The motif depicts Christ, crowned with a crown of thorns and clad in a scarlet robe, as the Roman soldiers mock him as the King of the Jews (Mt 27, 27 – 30, Mk 15, 17 – 20, Jn 19, 2–3). The painting is one of a group of works which were attributed to Trophime Bigot; the composition, the use of light and the types of faces of the figures are very characteristic. The inferior quality of the picture, which was perhaps damaged sometime in the past, does not exclude the possibility that this is a painting from the artist’s workshop or a good contemporary copy.

Restored: 1978, Kemal Selmanović.
Provenance: Unknown. FCC, 1945.
Exhibition: 1983, Ljubljana, No. 6.
Lit.: Zeri [& Rozman] 1983, p. 104, Cat. and Fig. No. 6.

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.