Religious Painting

In the Painting Collection, a separate unit, a collection within a collection almost, consists of the set of religious painting. In the section of the permanent collection devoted to religious art, works of the Pauline painters of the 18th century prevail. The majority come from Veternica, but there are also those from other Pauline monasteries, churches and curiae in Croatia. Five centuries of continuous Pauline presence in Croatia left a profound mark; the Pauline monasteries were centres of vigorous artistic, cultural and educational activity, which spread far outside the cloisters. Judging from the stylistic and iconographic features, Pauline painting developed on a well-defined painting tradition that, of course, the Baroque Pauline painters adapted to the spirit of their time. Most of the paintings that derive from the circle of the order of St Paul the Hermit are works by anonymous authors like the exhibited painted wings of altars from the church in Veternica with depictions of St Cecilia and King David with harp, and a series of 12 oil paintings on canvas with busts of the apostles deriving from the monastery in Olomouc in Moravia, painted in the first half of the 18th century. The paintings Adoration of the Shepherds and Adoration of the Kings from the parish church of the Three Kings in Karlovac certainly stand out for their excellence; they are the work of Gabriel Taller, head of the Pauline painting workshop in Kamensko.

During the 18th century the most important painters, heads of the Pauline workshop were Franjo Bobić (? – ?) from Brežice and Ivan Krstitelj Ranger (Götens, Tyrol, 1700 – Lepoglava, 1753), who started his work in Croatia most likely in 1726 in the church of st Mary of Carinthia.

Even after the dissolution of the order in 1786 the former Pauline painters were for some at work painting religious structures throughout Croatia; but at the beginning of the 19th century as the Baroque disappeared, so did the phenomenon of Pauline painting as a group distinctly defined by its style and morphology within Croatian Baroque painting. Alas, after the dissolution of the order, most of the works of art and valuables that had been kept in the monasteries were carried off and destroyed, and only a very small part of that large and exceptionally valuable artistic production has come down to us. in spite of that, the extant works of Bobić, Ranger and Taller, already mentioned, tell of the high levels of creativity of Pauline painters and of the phenomenon of Pauline painting as one of the most valuable painting units of the Baroque period in Croatia.

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