Paulines at Prayer
Zagreb, Zagreb County, Croatia
Diocese Museum of the Zagreb Archdiocese
Ivan Ranger (1700, Götzens, Parish of Axams in Tyrol-1753, Lepoglava)
Oil on canvas
H: 87 cm; w: 153.5 cm
Painting workshop of the Pauline monastery, Lepoglava
Pauline monastery, Lepoglava
Painted altarpiece, antependium
Made in the painting workshop of the Pauline monastery, Lepoglava
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Their hands clasped in prayer, the Pauline brothers kneel on a paved balustraded terrace in a garden in front of a row of vases on pedestals with flowers in them, with palm trees behind them arranged in shortened perspective. The perspective of the composition, based on two intersecting linear scenes, shows the vision of the patron of the Paulines and St Paul the Hermit in a cave on the lawn. The vision of the Patron of the Paulines depicts the Virgin Mary, St. John the Baptist and the Agnus Dei with His leg curved around a flag with a cross.
The use of perspective, accentuated by the row of classical pedestals, evokes an earlier style. The foreshortening decreases the depth of the scene and emphasises the initial pair of brothers and the first pedestal, which brings them closer to the front of the painting. The morphology and typology of the Pauline brother figures, St Paul the Hermit and the ornamental motifs on the vases together with the flowers in them, suggest a date of around 1740, being elements of the Baroque style. The work is in the style of the lay brother and painter, Ivan Ranger. Ranger, regarded as one of Croatia's greatest Baroque painters is most famous for his frescoes, which he painted in enormous numbers. Ranger was already a trained artist when he arrived at the Lepoglava monastery from Tyrol. The Pauline Order accommodated a number of lay brothers in their monasteries, comprising painters, sculptors, cabinet-makers and other masters of the arts and crafts. They produced works for the interiors of churches and monasteries in the monastery workshops.
Lepoglava was the largest and most important Pauline monastery in Croatia. It was the main centre for educational and cultural learning, with a Latin grammar school and was the first Academy awarded the right to confer doctorates. The Paulines, together with the Jesuits, played a key role in promoting Baroque art and culture in Croatia.
The altarpiece, depicting the Pauline brothers in a garden praying in front of flower vases, is probably the work of the lay brother and painter Ivan Ranger, a trained artist who came from Tyrol. Ranger – who joined the Pauline Order in Lepoglava and remained there until he died – is regarded as one of Croatia’s greatest Baroque painters. He is especially famous for his frescoes, which decorate many Pauline interiors as well as other churches and monasteries. The Lepoglava monastery was the main centre of the Pauline Order. It had a grammar school and was the first Academy awarded the right to confer doctorates. Together with the Jesuits, the Paulines played a key role in advancing Baroque art and culture in Croatia.
Pauline monastery, Lepoglava
From the Pauline Monastery estate, the attribution and date were established from the characteristics of morphology, style and typology.
The Diocesan Museum in Zagreb was founded in 1939 to safe-keep church artworks that for various reasons were in danger of devastation. This altarpiece was placed in the museum to preserve it.
Kultura pavlina u Hrvatskoj 1244–1786 (Culture of the Paulines in Croatia 1244–1786), exhibition catalogue, Zagreb, 1989, p. 409.
Nela Tarbuk "Paulines at Prayer" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. http://www.discoverbaroqueart.org/database_item.php?id=object;BAR;hr;Mus11_A;3;en
Prepared by: Nela Tarbuk Nela Tarbuk
AFFILIATION: Museum of Arts and Crafts, Zagreb, Croatia
TITLE: Museum Counsellor, Head of the Sacral Sculpture, Ivory and Musical
Nela Tarbuk was awarded her BA in Art History and Comparative Literature from Zagreb University (Faculty of Philosophy). As head of the Museum if Arts and Craft’s Sculpture, Ivory and Musical Instruments collections, she has curated several exhibitions and written many articles. Her special research interests focus on sacral furniture. Exhibition catalogues include Culture of the Paulines in Croatia (1989), Jesuit Heritage in Croatia (1992), Peace and Virtue (2000), Hidden Treasures (2005) and Musical Instruments from the Holdings of the Museum of Arts and Crafts (2007).
Translation by: Nikolina Jovanović
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: HR 03
On display in
Discover Baroque Art Exhibition(s)The Ascension of the Bourgeoisie | The Bourgeois Gentleman Reformation and Counter-Reformation | Religious orders and their function in transmitting the language of the Counter-Reformation
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