Parish Church of Our Lady of the Snow
Župna crkva sv. Marije Sniježne
Kutina, North-West Croatia, Croatia
High altar: 1739; pulpit: c. 1761; stucco work and wall painting: 1765–1779
Painters: J. Weitenhiller (active c. 1770), Joann Joseph Görner (active c. 1770), Ivan Krstitelj (Johann Baptist) Ranger (1700–1753); sculptors: Joseph Weinacht (active c. 1740–1750), Franjo (Franz) Straub (1726–before 1771)
Religious, parish church; interior furnishing
Count Karlo II Erdödy and his wife Countess Erdödy, née Kohary
The Baroque church was built on the site of an older building. Construction took a long 40 years, with the sanctuary completed in 1729; the nave in 1748 and building concluded in 1769. Count Karlo Erdödy II and his wife, Countess Erdödy, financed the construction and fitting-out of the church from 1740.
A network of elongated rocaille scrolls and cartouches, into which floral twigs and garlands are interwoven covers the walls of the church like lace to form a framework for the wall paintings. Due to the long construction period, the stucco decoration was created over a long period, but nonetheless is based on an extensive, uniform iconographic programme. The Marian topics include the Legend of Our Lady of the Snow and the Foundation of the Roman Church of Santa Maria Maggiore shown in a number of scenes in the sanctuary of the church (transposed into one of them is a contemporary depiction of the foundation of the church in Kutina). Considerable space on the walls and ceiling of the nave is devoted to the Passion. Accompanying these is a sequence of emblematic depictions based on the Old Testament as well as motifs relating to the Mysteries of the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Rosaries.
Authorship of the wall paintings has not been thoroughly elucidated yet, partly because in the forms the personal styles of three painters can be observed, while the only signatures to be identified are those of Franciscus Weitenhiller of 1776, and Joann Joseph Görner (probably a Varaždin painter) of 1779. While Görner painted the ceiling paintings in the nave, Franciscus Weitenhiller painted the figurative images on the walls of the sanctuary and nave (many of which were subsequently heavily retouched) integrated in the "lace" of the rocaille stuccowork. Because of the misspelled signature, the author was at first identified as Josep Weitenhiller (who it is recorded worked in Slovenia). There are also some excellent woodcarvings. The High altar (1739) is attributed stylistically to the Zagreb sculptor, Joseph Weinacht. Weinacht was one of the most accomplished local sculptors of the first half of the 18th century whose style shows the influence of contemporary Styrian sculpture, which suggests that he trained there. The pulpit (around 1761) is ascribed to the Zagreb sculptor, Franjo or Franz Straub (1726–before 1771), and is classified as among the most luxurious and opulent Baroque embodiments in north-west Croatia, as well as an outstanding specimen of dynamism aspiring towards the monumental, characteristics that define his work.
A church with a nave only and no aisles, it has a belfry on the facade and is surrounded by a covered walkway. The simplicity of the exterior is much at odds with the rich interior, which is among the most luxuriously fitted-out Baroque churches of northern Croatia. The integrity of the opulent Baroque interior is achieved above all through the rich stucco decoration that covers the walls like lacework, framing the wall paintings dedicated to Marian and Christological subjects.
Archival documents and inscriptions on the monument.
Sanctuary, Parish Church of Our Lady of the Snow
Perceived as his most monumental work, it is characterised by a light architectural construction that comes out particularly in the concluding, weight-bearing elements where the altar wall is abandoned.
Far-left intercolumniation of the High Altar, Parish Church of Our Lady of the Snow
Attributed to Joseph Weinacht (active 1740–1750)
The saint, shown as he transfixes the dragon writhing under his feet, along with the figure of St. Martin on the same altar, has similarities with the statues of Filip Jakob Straub on the High Altar of Welsche Kirche in Graz, which probably served Weinacht as an inspiration.
North wall of the church, Parish Church of Our Lady of the Snow
Attributed to Franjo (Franz) Straub (1726–before 1771)
On the corners of the pulpit set on pillars, the figures of the evangelists are shown in high-spirited movement; between them, also plastically very highly emphasised, are rocaille cartouches with reliefs in which the central figure is Moses: Moses Dancing Around the Golden Calf, Moses Receives the Law, Moses and the Bronze Serpent. Monumentality and dynamism are the main features of the sculptural composition at the top of the baldachin too, showing the Transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor, the scene enriched with figures of the Prophets Moses and Elijah either side.
Pulpit, Parish Church of Our Lady of the Snow
Attributed to Franjo (Franz) Straub (1726–before 1771)
Sanctuary ceiling, Parish Church of Our Lady of the Snow
Second half of the 18th century
In the trompe l'œil rocaille framework there is a representation of Vicar Antun Pozojević and Count Karlo II Erdödy with the newly erected church of Kutina, surrounded by its covered walkway. The Immaculate Virgin Mary with a scapular on her arm hovers above them.
Karač, V., "Pregled urbanog razvoja i arhitektonske baštine Kutine" in Kutina: povijesno-kulturni pregled s identitetom današnjice, Kutina, 2002, pp. 398–429.
Mirković, M., "Zidne i svodne slike u crkvi Marije Snježne u Kutini" in Kutina: povijesno-kulturni pregled s identitetom današnjice, Kutina, 2002, pp. 436–452. Repanić-Braun, M., "Franciscus Weittenhiller – novo ime kasnobaroknog zidnog slikarstva u sjevernoj Hrvatskoj" in U služenju Božjemu narodu, Požega, 2007, pp. 790–796.
Baričević, D., Barokno kiparstvo sjeverne Hrvatske, Zagreb, 2008.
Vlasta Zajec "Parish Church of Our Lady of the Snow" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2021. http://baroqueart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=monument;BAR;hr;Mon11;19;en
Prepared by: Vlasta ZajecVlasta Zajec
AFFILIATION: Institute of Art History, Zagreb
TITLE: PhD, Scientific Consultant
Vlasta Zajec was awarded her BA in Art History and Comparative Literature from Zagreb University (Faculty of Philosophy) in 1989. In the same year she began work at the Institute of Art History. She was awarded her MA in 1995 (17th-Century Wooden Altars in Istria), and her PhD in 2001 (17th Century Wooden Sculpture in Istria). She has spent brief periods of study in Italy (Udine, Venice and Trieste) and Germany (Munich). Her areas of research are wooden and marble altars and 17th- and 18th-century sculpture in Istria and North Croatia.
Translation by: Graham McMaster
Translation copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez
Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.
True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.
MWNF Working Number: HR 24