© Moravská galerie v Brně © Moravská galerie v Brně

M. T. Bittnerová, Antependium

Name of Object:

Antependium with the Tribute of Continents and Imperial Countries to the Holy Family


Governor’s Palace, Brno, Moravia, Czech Republic

Holding Museum:

Moravian Gallery, Brno

 About Moravian Gallery, Brno, Governor’s Palace, Brno

Date of Object:


Artist(s) / Craftsperson(s):

Marie Tekla Bittnerová of Glückstein (1675, Vienna-1730, Brno)

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Repp (warp of silk and weft of cotton; silver lamellas). Embroidery in silk and metal lamellas; decoration and painting in gouache on canvas and parchment.


h: 291 cm; w: 100 cm


Franciscan Convent of St. Joseph, Brno

Type of object:

Embroidery and painting in original gilded frame

Place of production:



This colourful embroidery was executed as a “needle painting” and is set within an original gilded frame. An eventful scene opens out with a central motif of columned architecture with staircases and balustrades, and adoring female figures. At the bottom left, four girls kneel, with the coats of arms of the imperial Electors of the clergy who facilitated the foundation of the Franciscan Convent of St. Joseph in Brno. The Archbishops of Treves, Cologne and Mainz are represented by the coats of arms of Karel Kaspar von der Leyen (1652–1676), Maximilian Heinrich von Bayern (1650–1688) and Johann Philipp von Schönborn (1647–1673). Opposite, four girls kneel with the coats of arms of the imperial countries: Bavaria, Saxony, Brandenburg and Pfalz. In the centre are four female personifications of the continents, Asia, America, Africa and Europe, in precious attire. The women and a host of lay people of both sexes pay tribute to the Holy Family. The Virgin Mary is supervising the education of Jesus, while St. Joseph hands to the Pope – a personification of the Church – a sheet with the text Ecclesiae Petenti Satisfiat. The scene is crowned with the dove of the Holy Spirit. At the sides are monumental summerhouses with decorative vases and cartouches with the inscription Ite ad Joseph (Go to Joseph), while the Old Testament quotation (Gen 41:55) relates to the figure of St. Joseph of Nazareth. In combination with the text on the donated sheet, it elucidates the subject of the embroidered antependium emphasising the role of St. Joseph, patron saint of the Franciscan Convent of St. Joseph in Brno, as a righteous protector of the church and promoter of Divine will. Towards the horizon, various landscapes alternate on the antependium, valleys and hills dotted with dominant castles. The intricate layout of the embroidery may refer to a major event in the history of the Franciscan convent or it could commemorate the establishment and construction of the Convent Church of St. Joseph in 1651–1653.

View Short Description

The subject of the technically and artistically remarkable antependium is derived from the legends of St. Joseph, a popular saint of the Baroque period. It is one of only a few examples of the use of figurative embroidery in sacred art during the first half of the 18th century, and a specimen of monastery art.

Original Owner:

Franciscan Convent of St. Joseph, Brno

Current Owner:

Czech-Moravian Province of the Roman Union of the Order of St. Ursula, Prague (OSU Prague)

How date and origin were established:

According to archival records, this embroidery – which is of extraordinary quality – was executed by Sister Marie Tekla Bittnerová of Glückstein who during 1705 and 1730 lived in the Franciscan Convent of St. Joseph, Brno, where she produced chasubles, as well as other antependia.

How Object was obtained:

On long-term loan

Selected bibliography:

Dana Stehlíková, in Jiří Kroupa (ed), Dans le miroir des ombres. La Moravie à ľâge baroque 16701790, Paris–Rennes–Brno, 2002, pp. 279–280, cat. 120.
Dana Stehlíková, Bohemia Sancta. Poklady křesťanského umění z českých zemí, Caltanissetta–Syracuse–Prague, 2004.

Citation of this web page:

Andrea  Husseiniová "Antependium with the Tribute of Continents and Imperial Countries to the Holy Family" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. http://baroqueart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;BAR;cz;Mus11;11;en

Prepared by: Andrea Husseiniová Andrea Husseiniová

SURNAME: Husseiniová
NAME: Andrea

AFFILIATION Moravian Gallery in Brno

TITLE: Curator of the Ceramics Collection

Andrea Husseiniová Studied Art History and Archeology ( Faculty of Arts) Masaryk University in Brno. From 2004 to 2006, she was a curator at the Brno Cultural Centre Galleries. She has worked in the Department of Applied Arts at the Moravian Gallery in Brno since 2007, specialising in a broad spectrum of decorative arts that includes textiles, glass, ceramics and porcelain.

Copyedited by: Zora WörgötterZora Wörgötter

SURNAME: Wörgötter
NAME: Zora

AFFILIATION: Moravian Gallery in Brno

TITLE: Museum Curator and Local Co-ordinator

Zora Wörgötter studied Applied Painting at the Secondary School of Applied Arts, Video Art (Faculty of Fine Arts) at the University of Technology in Brno and Art History and Ethnology (Faculty of Arts) at Masaryk University, Brno. She has worked at the Moravian Gallery since 1997 and was curator of the Ancient Art Collection up until 2008. Specialising in Dutch and Central European painting of the 17th and 18th centuries, she has participated in the preparation of several exhibitions, catalogues and research projects in the Czech Republic and abroad, and published in the Moravian Gallery Bulletin, Opuscula historiae artium, and other journals. She is co-ordinator of the Art History Database www.ahice.net for the Czech Republic.
, Jiří KroupaJiří Kroupa

NAME: Jiří

AFFILIATION: Department of the History of Art (Faculty of Arts) Masaryk
University, Brno

TITLE: Professor

Professor Jiří Kroupa studied Art History, History and Sociology Masaryk University, Brno. He was a curator at the Kroměříž Museum and the Moravian Gallery in Brno before joining the staff at Masaryk University in 1988 (Head of the Department 1992–2002; Professor 1999 to present). His particular fields of interest are in the history of architecture, 18th-century cultural history and the methodology of art history. His long list of publications includes an edition on the architect Franz Anton Grimm and an essay “The alchemy of happiness: the Enlightenment in the Moravian context”. He was contributing editor for the volume Dans le miroir des ombres. Moravie a la age baroque. 1670–1790 (2002).

Translation by: Irma Charvátová
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: CZ 12


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