Artworks Catalogue

The high altar in Brezovica (Croatian Conservation Institute Photo Archive, photo by Goran Tomljenović, 2018)
The sculpture of St Joachim (Croatian Conservation Institute Photo Archive, photo by Goran Tomljenović, 2018)
The sculpture of St Elisabeth (Croatian Conservation Institute Photo Archive, photo by Goran Tomljenović, 2018)
The high altar in Brezovica, detail (Croatian Conservation Institute Photo Archive, photo by Goran Tomljenović, 2018)
The tabernacle (Croatian Conservation Institute Photo Archive, photo by Goran Tomljenović, 2018)
Brezovica, parish church of the Assumption of Mary, high altar (Photo by Schneider's Photo Archive, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, 1930s)

Location

Croatia, City of Zagreb, Brezovica

Parish Church of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary (Župna crkva Uznesenja Blažene Djevice Marije)

Artwork

High Altar in the Parish Church of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary in Brezovica

Type

High altar

Dimensions

Height: 720 cm, width: 535 cm, depth: 85 cm

Inscriptions

  1. Sv. Joakim (on the base of the sculpture of St Joachim)
  2. Sv. Ana (on the base of the sculpture of St Anne)
  3. Sv. Elizabeta (on the base of the sculpture of St Elisabeth)
  4. Sv. Josip (on the base of the sculpture of St Joseph)

Critical History

The high altar was first mentioned in the text of the canonical visitation of 1762, noting that its execution was under way1 but a more extensive description was given in the record of the next canonical visitation of 1768 which mentioned that it was commissioned by the parishioners.2 The noble family of Josip Kazimir Drašković, who were the patrons of Brezovica, could also have taken part in its execution, just like they did earlier in 1756 when the new parish church had been built owing to their donation.

Doris Baričević attributed the altar and its sculptures to Franz Anton Straub on the basis of stylistic similarities with other works attributed to him. She particularly praised his ability to introduce new ornamental and compositional motifs, such as numerous openings of altar architecture framed with rocaille decorations, which contribute to the overall impression of Rococo lightness and elegance3 and make it one of the most important artworks in continental Croatia.4

Construction / Execution

The high altar is situated in the chancel where it occupies an entire rear wall of the apse. The altar architecture itself echoes a somewhat conservative design, but it is transformed in such a way that it demonstrates prominent non-architectural characteristics. The shafts of the columns have "disappeared" under rocaille shapes and have been converted to gigantic ornamental formations or even anthropomorphised by being carved into hermae.5 The intercolumns are opened and framed with lavish rocaille shells, volutes, scrolls and similar forms. Above the central small figure of the Virgin Mary, which dates from the previous high altar, there is an opening with Maria's monogram. Large sculptures of Saint Joachim, Saint Anna, Saint Elizabeth and Saint Joseph stand in intercolumns. On the attic the central sculptures of Holy Trinity are accompanied by Saint John the Baptist and Saint Ignatius de Loyola.

Some side elements of the tabernacle are missing.

Components

Carpentry
Author: Franz Anton Straub (Wiesensteig 1726 – Zagreb ca. 1774)
Completed: 1762 –
Patron(s): owner, parish
Technique(s): sawing, wood carving
Sculpture
The sculpture of the Virgin Mary
Technique(s): wood carving
Material(s): wood
Sculpture
Author: Franz Anton Straub (Wiesensteig 1726 – Zagreb ca. 1774)
Completed: 1762 –
Patron(s): owner, parish
Technique(s): wood carving
Polychromy
Completed: 1762 –
Patron(s): owner, parish
Polychromy
First repolychromy
Author: Franjo Mrnjec
Completed: 1998
Technique(s): water gilding
Material(s): gold leaf

Comment

The present repolychromy was carried out in 1998 by Franjo Mrnjec, a private restorer, and commissioned by the parish community.

Images

  1. The high altar in Brezovica (Croatian Conservation Institute Photo Archive, photo by Goran Tomljenović, 2018)
  2. The sculpture of St Joachim (Croatian Conservation Institute Photo Archive, photo by Goran Tomljenović, 2018)
  3. The sculpture of St Elisabeth (Croatian Conservation Institute Photo Archive, photo by Goran Tomljenović, 2018)
  4. The high altar in Brezovica, detail (Croatian Conservation Institute Photo Archive, photo by Goran Tomljenović, 2018)
  5. The tabernacle (Croatian Conservation Institute Photo Archive, photo by Goran Tomljenović, 2018)
  6. Brezovica, parish church of the Assumption of Mary, high altar (Photo by Schneider's Photo Archive, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, 1930s)

Catalogue entry prepared by Martina Ožanić and Ksenija Škarić

Recommended citation: Martina Ožanić and Ksenija Škarić, High Altar in the Parish Church of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary in Brezovica, in: TrArS – Tracing the Art of the Straub Family, 2018, (accessed 17/10/2021) URL

Sources and Bibliography

  1. Archive of the Archbishopric of Zagreb, Canonical visitations, Katedrala Archdeaconry, protocol 59/XV, 1762
  2. Archive of the Archbishopric of Zagreb, Canonical visitations, Katedrala Archdeaconry, protocol 60/XVI, 1768
  3. Doris Baričević, Članovi kiparske obitelji Straub u Hrvatskoj, in: Peristil. Zbornik radova za povijest umjetnosti, 35–36, Radovan Ivančević (ed.), Zagreb, 1992–1993, 193–218
  4. Doris Baričević, Barokno kiparstvo sjeverne Hrvatske, Zagreb, 2008
  5. University of Zagreb, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Martina Ožanić, Atektonsko građeni oltari XVIII. stoljeća na poručju sjeverozapadne Hrvatske, PhD Thesis, Zagreb, 2017

Notes

1 Canonical visitations, Katedrala Archdeaconry, 59/XV, 1762, 535: "In ea altaria sunt 4, omnia quatuor priora, consequenter satis jam vetusta; ideo ubi nova accesserint positaque effective fuerint (quod de altari majori in actuali utpote labore constituto proximius eventurum) plene et ubertim describentur." (Transcribed by Šime Demo)

2 Canonical visitations, Katedrala Archdeaconry, 60/XVI, 1768, 264: "In sanctuario posita est ara nova sculptorij operis, sat magna et bene inaurata et depicta, in cujus medio est statua Beatae Mariae Virginis in caelos Assumptae, sceptrum manu gestantis; utrinque inter columnas 2 sunt statuae duae, a dextris quidem Sanctae Annae et Joachim, a sinistris Sanctae Elizabethae et Sancti Josephi; in superiori contignatione est effigies Sacratissimae Trinitatis sculptorij operis, ad cujus latera in figura adorationis prostant statuae Sancti Joannis Baptistae et Sancti Ignatij, et quatuor angeli. Quae ara ex pia liberalitate contribuantium assurrexit." (Transcribed by Šime Demo)

3 Doris Baričević, 1992–1993, 208

4 Doris Baričević, 2008, 273–274

5 Martina Ožanić, 2017, 71–72