Name of Object:

Paulines at Prayer


Zagreb, Zagreb County, Croatia

Holding Museum:

Diocese Museum of the Zagreb Archdiocese

Date of Object:

About 1740

Artist(s) / Craftsperson(s):

Ivan Ranger  (1700, Götzens, Parish of Axams in Tyrol-1753, Lepoglava)

Museum Inventory Number:

DM 239

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Oil on canvas


H: 87 cm; w: 153.5 cm

Workshop / Movement:

Painting workshop of the Pauline monastery, Lepoglava


Pauline monastery, Lepoglava

Type of object:

Painted altarpiece, antependium

Period of activity:


Place of production:

Made in the painting workshop of the Pauline monastery, Lepoglava


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.

View Short Description

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.

Original Owner:

Pauline monastery, Lepoglava

Current Owner:

Zagreb Archdiocese

How date and origin were established:

From the Pauline Monastery estate, the attribution and date were established from the characteristics of morphology, style and typology.

How Object was obtained:

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.

Selected bibliography:

Kultura pavlina u Hrvatskoj 1244–1786 (Culture of the Paulines in Croatia 1244–1786), exhibition catalogue, Zagreb, 1989, p. 409.

Citation of this web page:

Nela Tarbuk  "Paulines at Prayer" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2019.;BAR;hr;Mus11_A;3;en

Prepared by: Nela Tarbuk Nela Tarbuk

NAME: Nela

AFFILIATION: Museum of Arts and Crafts, Zagreb, Croatia

TITLE: Museum Counsellor, Head of the Sacral Sculpture, Ivory and Musical
Instrument Collections

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


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