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Agata Kaczmarek

Geyner versus Reiner. Zum fraglichen Mitautor der Fresken in der Hochbergschen Kapelle zu Wrocław (Breslau)

The article touches on the questions surrounding the authorship of a series of frescoes that decorate the vault of the chapel of Abbot Hochberg at the Premonstratensian Church in Vratislav. In the literature that makes mention of these paintings Wenzel Lorenz Reiner is most often identified as the author, but authorship or co-authorship has also been ascribed to the mysterious painter Martin Geyner (Geyer). An analysis of the literature on this theme tells us that Geyner's surname appeared in this connection owing to a mistake made by Johann Christian Kundmann, who eleven years after the chapel was built was the first to compose a short description of its decorative paintings. It is interesting that in his text Kundmann never even mentioned Reiner's name, ascribed all the frescoes to Geyner, and described him as 'a famous painter from Prague'. Many subsequent scholars repeated the information about Geyner, although he was never again mentioned as the sole author of the paintings. Nevertheless, these writings significantly contributed to the formation of a myth around the authorship of these frescoes. However, the contract commissioning the paintings is preserved in the State Archives in Vratislav and it leaves no doubt about who the author was. The contract was signed between Abbot Hochberg and Reiner on 16 July 1725, and from its contents it is possible to assume that Reiner was most likely the sole author of the designs of the paintings and the frescoes themselves. In the light of analyses of the paintings conducting using photography this opinion appears to be correct.

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