Name of Monument:

Silver Altar and Coronation Set

Also known as:

The Moravian palladium; Thaumaturga; The Madonna of Old Brno

Location:

Brno-Old Brno, Moravia, Czech Republic

Date:

1735–1736

Artists:

Johann Georg Herkommer (1680/90–1754), Christian Friedrich Rudolph, Jan Jiří Schauberger (? before 1725 Vienna, active in Olomouc – 1744 Brno), František Richter, Mathias Schlössinger?

Denomination / Type of monument:

Religious – Church

Patron(s):

Augustinian Monastery – Hermits of St. Thomas the Apostle, Provost Ondřej Zirckl (1722–1736)

History:

The Coronation of the Miraculous Picture of the Virgin Mary in Brno was one of the biggest religious celebrations to take place in Czech territory. On the occasion, the Augustinians ordered a retable and a liturgical set from the famous goldsmiths’ workshop in Augsburg, to complement the picture. The altar was designed by C. F. Rudolph and probably executed by J. G. Herkommer, a relative. The models of angels were possibly created by Schauberger, a sculptor from Brno. The altarpiece, transported from Augsburg on the Danube, was installed in the newly constructed Marian Chapel in the Church of St. Thomas and decorated with J. J. Etgens’s paintings. In 1776, during cleaning, decorative elements were added by a Brno silversmith, Richter. In 1783 it was transferred to the dissolved Cistercian convent in Old Brno (acquired by the Augustinian order) where it now makes up part of the high altar in the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

Description:

The altar is copper covered with silver plate, partially gilded. Some parts are cast. Cartouches under the picture and six wrought candlesticks feature emblems and the initials of Abbot O. Zirkl painted on enamel.

View Short Description

The Coronation of the Miraculous Picture of the Virgin Mary in Brno was one of the biggest religious celebrations to take place in Czech territory. For the occasion and to complement the picture, the Augustinians ordered a retable and a liturgical set from the famous goldsmiths’ workshop in Augsburg, said to have been donated by Emperor Charles IV. The image was credited with the salvation of Brno from the Swedish siege at the end of the Thirty Years’ War and was thought to have healing properties and bring about other miracles. Members of major Moravian aristocratic families were traditionally married before the Thaumaturga.

How Monument was dated:

According to a contract dated 4 October 1734, the altar was to be completed by 1 September 1735. Both the altar and coronation set are hallmarked. The original state of the altar is captured by several prints depicting the coronation and there are several descriptions of it.

Special features

The Virgin Mary of Old Brno

Second half of the 13th century?

This picture of the Virgin Mary is named after its second location. It was the palladium of Brno, a miraculous picture (Thaumaturga) of the Madonna and Child donated to the Augustinian Monastery in Brno by Emperor Charles IV. Members of major Moravian aristocratic families were traditionally wedded before the Thaumaturga. The reliquary, originally embedded in the child’s heart, makes up the clasp of the Madonna’s dress. Relief letters, gilded crowns with precious stones, and a chain come from the period of the picture’s coronation and its incorporation into the new altar. The image was credited with the salvation of Brno from the Swedish siege at the end of the Thirty Years’ War, as well as with healing properties and other miracles.

Coronation Monstrance

1735

Mathias Schlössinger

The radial monstrance is decorated with vine leaves and grapes, the Eucharist, symbol of Christ’s blood. Below the casket is a relief of the Madonna and Child; at the top, under a baldachin, is God and the dove of the Holy Spirit. Cartouches on the richly wrought pedestal feature paintings on enamel: the Madonna of Old Brno and half-figures of the order’s saints.

Abbot’s Coronation Sceptre

1735

Johann Georg Herkommer (1680/90–1754)

The spiral part of the sceptre is covered with acanthus leaves and multi-coloured cut glass. In the central halo there is an image of the Madonna of Old Brno transferred into relief form as a cast statue.

Mass Chalice and Jugs

1735

Johann Georg Herkommer (1680/90–1754)

Apart from the chalice decorated with half-figures of the order’s saints painted on enamel, and jugs for Abbot Zirckl, there were two other chalices for assisting priests, with scenes from the Lfe and Torment of St. John of Nepomuk and the Passion, created in the Augsburg workshop for the coronation.

Coronation Paraments

1732–1735

Fabrics were essential elements of the coronation ceremony. Viennese embroiderers frequently worked for the monastery. In comparison with other preserved Paraments these appear rather poor. The most spectacular part of the coronation set was the altar with an altarpiece. Accompanying elements were subordinated to it through their reduced decorativeness.

Selected bibliography:



Bohumil Samek, Klášter augustiniánů v Brně, Brno, 1993, pp. 30–31.
Bohumil Samek, Umělecké památky Moravy a Slezska I, A-J, Prague, 1994, pp. 188–191.
Ivo Krsek –­­ Zdeněk Kudělka –­­ Miloš Stehlík –­­ Josef Válka, Umění baroka na Moravě a ve Slezsku, ed. Zdeněk Kudělka, Prague, 1996, p. 600.
Zdeněk Kazlepka, Johann Georg Herkommer a “stříbrný” oltář u brněnských augustiniánů, Sborník prací filozofické fakulty brněnské univerzity F 37–­­39, 1993–­­1995, pp. 171–­­188.
Jana Oppeltová, Slavnosti a efemérní architektura, in Jiří Kroupa (ed), Dans le miroir des ombres. La Moravie a la age baroque. 1670–­­1790, Paris–­­Rennes–­­Brno, 2002, pp. 145–159.

Additional Copyright Information:

Copyright images "Národní památkový ústav v Brně": Národní památkový ústav – územní odborné pracoviště v Brně.

Citation of this web page:

Zora Wörgötter "Silver Altar and Coronation Set" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. http://www.discoverbaroqueart.org/database_item.php?id=monument;BAR;cz;Mon11_F;11;en

Prepared by: Zora Wörgötter
Copyedited by: Jiří Kroupa
Translation by: Irma Charvátová
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez


MWNF Working Number: CZ 11