The journal is included in Web of Science (ISI Web of Knowledge) | Scopus | EBSCO | ARTbibliographies Modern | Design and Applied Arts Index | European Science Foundation (European Index for the Humanities – ERIH)

Štěpán Vácha

Joachim von Sandrarts Kreuzauffindung in Brünn im Lichte neuer

The eminent German 17th-century painter Joachim von Sandrart (1606–1688) left a mark on the Czech lands in the form of an altar painting titled The Invention of the Cross that he was commissioned to do for the Capuchin church in Brno. Recent restoration work has revealed the hitherto underappreciated and high level of quality of this painting and has brought to light in it details that were previously unnoticed. The painting falls by date of origin (newly dated as from 1655) within the most important creative period in the artist’s career, a period that began in 1653, when Emperor Ferdinand III commissioned him to paint The Crucifixion for St Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, and after that he executed a series of altarpieces for the Benedictine church in Lambach. The extraordinary painterly qualities of the painting in Brno, which is also an excellent example of the multi-figure history painting genre (‘große Historie’) described by Sandrart himself in Teutsche Academie, depart from the norms customary in 17th-century painting in Moravia and prompt thought about who commissioned it. To date Empress Eleonora Magdalena Gonzaga or Prince Wenzel Eusebius of Lobkowicz have been considered possibilities, but drawing on extensive archive research a more likely hypothesis emerges: the Capuchins themselves commissioned the painting, probably with financial assistance from the Magnis family. Count Franz Magnis had already given considerable support to the construction of the Capuchin monastery in Brno and probably his brother Valeriano Magni, a prominent member of the Capuchin order, widely active across Central Europe and with contacts to the sovereign courts, was in the best position to directly get in touch with the German painter.

< back