2019 / 4 / 12

An unexpected discovery – a sculpture by Joseph Straub in Gorizia

The members of the Slovenian team of the TrArS project informally came across the information that a sculpture attributed to Joseph Straub is kept in the storage of the Musei Provinciali di Gorizia. We contacted the curator of the museum Alessandro Quinzi, who had attributed the sculpture to Joseph Straub just recently (the sculpture has not yet been published).

First, the sculpture was inspected by art historian Valentina Pavlič, who confirmed the attribution and talked with Quinzi about the possibilities of our future cooperation.

On Tuesday, 26 March 2019, we organized a meeting attended by the curator of the museum, Alessandro Quinzi, members of the Slovenian team - art historian Valentina Pavlič, restorer Saša Dolinšek and photographer Valentin Benedik - and Dr. Giuseppina Perusini, a professor at the University of Udine, and restorer Elisabetta Ceccaroni. We inspected the sculpture carefully, while Valentin Benedik took photos.

The sculpture of StJohn of Nepomuk is rather damaged and dirty, also covered with overpaintings. Under the monochrome painting there are some parts of gold and silver on the mozzetta and some remains of blue painton the lower part of the (clerical) garment (most likely these remains represent the original polychromy). Despite the poor condition of the sculpture, the characteristics of Joseph Straub`s style can be seen well. The back side of the sculpture is also worth mentioning because it has no distinctive "opening" – like other sculptures by Joseph Straub – but is closed and well finished. As presumed by Quinzi, the sculpture was originally probably located in Gorizia or its surroundings – definitely in the area that was ravaged during the First World War (we assume that the sculpture was most severely damaged then). In any case, it is necessary to emphasize that the "discovery" of the sculpture widens our understanding of Straub's activity in Vipava and its surroundings. Between 1738 and 1741, when Joseph Straub is documented in this region, he must have made more works than we know about today. The sculpture in Musei Provinciali di Gorizia gives us hope that in the future we might find some other works by Straub in this area.

The sculpture of St John of Nepomuk is kept in the storage now and will also be in the future. Therefore we discussed the possibilities of restoration works in terms of what is urgent and what is reasonable. Giuseppina Perusini took some samples for laboratory analysis. We will report on the results and restoration works on the sculpture in the future.

We invite you to visit our online catalogue where the sculpture is also listed.

Valentina Pavlič