Name of Monument:

Augustinian Monastery, Hermits of St. Thomas the Apostle, Brno

Also known as:

Governor’s Palace, Dicasterial Palace


Brno, Moravia, Czech Republic


1634; 1665–1675; 1731–1752; 1783


Ondřej Erna, Jan Křtitel Erna (1625? Brno – 1698 Brno), Mořic Grimm (1669 Achdorf – 1757 Brno), František Antonín Grimm (1710–1784, Brno), Josef Tadeáš Rotter (1701 Opava – 1763 Brno), Jan Jiří Schauberger (?, before 1725 Vienna, active in Olomouc – 1744 Brno), Bernard Stettener, Josef Winterhalder Sr. (1702 Vöhrenbach – 1769 Vienna), Jakub Scherz (active in the third quarter of the 18th century, Brno), Franz Anton Maulbertsch (1724 Langenargen am Bodensee – 1796 Vienna), Josef Leonard Weber (? Svidnica – after 1766 Trnava), Franz de Paula Anton Hillebrandt (1719–1797, Vienna), Jan van der Furth, Ferdinand Pfaundler, Martin Anton Lublinský (1636 Lesnica – 1690 Olomouc), Jan Jiří Heintsch (1647 Kladsko – 1712 Prague), Jan Křtitel Spiess (? Sterzing – 1688 Brno), Antonis Schoonjans (c. 1655 Antwerp – 1726 Vienna)

Denomination / Type of monument:

Religious – Monastery


Augustinian Monastery, Hermits of St. Thomas the Apostle, Provost Ondřej Zirkl, Abbot Matthäus Pertscher, Count Jan Křtitel Mittrovský


The monastery by the town walls was destroyed during the Hussite Wars and particularly during the siege of Brno by the Swedes in the 17th century. Its restoration was undertaken in 1665, when J. K. Erna started to build a new church nave. The reconstruction was completed in the first half of 18th century under the guidance of M. Grimm. In 1736 the monastery hosted one of the greatest religious festivities, the Coronation of the Miraculous Picture of the Virgin Mary (of Old Brno). After the dissolution of the Jesuit order locally, one of the monastery buildings became a grammar school, and became known among the best in the Habsburg monarchy. From 1778 the monastery also housed a university. In 1783 the monastery was transferred to Old Brno, the church became a parish church, and the monastery buildings were adapted for the state administration.


The horizontally spread frontage of the church, with its accentuated central axis, is an example of Italian mannerist architecture. The architects, O. Erna and J. K. Erna, were leading lights of Moravian architecture in the 17th century. Two-layered relief segmentation is supplemented by niches that hold statues by the itinerant Flemish sculptor, J. van der Furth who also created the statues for some of the side altars and worked for Brno Town Council. The original frontages differed according to the various functions of the monastery buildings, but these have been unified in modern times.

View Short Description

This medieval monastery, restored after damage sustained in the Thirty Years’ War, was reconstructed in the 18th century. It hosted religious festivals and also housed a grammar school and university. During the late 18th century, the buildings were used by the state administration. The late 17th-century appearance of the church is largely preserved. The high altar is adorned by a famous altarpiece by F. A. Maulbertsch. The contents of the monastery, partially the work of masters settled in Brno, were destroyed by bombing in 1945. Only the library (where later the geneticist J. G. Mendel studied) survived.

How Monument was dated:

Archive material (especially contracts, receipts and designs)

Special features

Archangel Raphael with Little Tobias

Augustinian Monastery, Hermits of St. Thomas the Apostle

c. 1680

Ferdinand Pfaundler, Jan Krtitel Speiss (? Sterzing – 1688 Brno), Martin Anton Lublinský (1636 Lesnica – 1690 Olomouc)

Black gilded side altars pose a contrast, together with a pulpit, to the white vaulting decorated with simple stucco featuring vegetal motifs. The figure of Tobias personifies count Dietrichstein, whose coat of arms is on the boy’s shoulder. The guardian angel accompanies him on the journey to the divine light, leading him on the path of virtue and protecting him from sins and vices. M. A. Lublinský is also attributed with the replica of a picture by P. P. Rubens on the opposite altar.

St. John of Nepomuk

Augustinian Monastery, Hermits of St. Thomas the Apostle


Antonis Schoonjans (c. 1655 Antwerp – 1726 Vienna)

This painting by A. Schoonjans, an itinerant Flemish artist, is on a side altar covering an entrance to the Chapel of the Holy Cross. A court painter in Vienna and Berlin, he was active in Moravia where he worked in particular for the Znojmo Premonstratensians. The altar by J. J. Schauberger was removed from the chapel and now closes the former entrance to the chapel with a Thaumaturga.

The Revelation of St. Thomas

Augustinian Monastery, Hermits of St. Thomas the Apostle


Josef Winterhalder Sr. (1702 Vöhrenbach – 1769 Vienna), Franz Anton Maulbertsch (1724 Langenargen am Bodensee – 1796 Vienna), Jakub Scherz (active in the third quarter of the 18th century, Brno)

The painting, depicting the revelation of the Apostle Thomas who doubted Christ’s resurrection is enhanced by the sculpted component of St. Augustine with a burning heart, which becomes almost part of the miraculous scene. The figure of St. Matthew is a crypto-portrait of Abbot M. Pertscher, under whom the monastery was completed and furnished. He was active during the Catholic Enlightenment and was among a small group of clergymen closely linked with the court of Maria Theresa.

Main portal

Augustinian Monastery, Hermits of St. Thomas the Apostle


František Antonín Grimm (1710 Brno – 1784 Brno) – Josef Leonard Weber (? Svidnica – after 1766 Trnava)

The monastery was established in 1350 by Margrave Jan Jindřich of Luxembourg, brother of Emperor Charles IV. The church was meant to house the tombs of the Luxembourg dynasty, but only Jan Jindřich and his son, Jošt, are buried here; their statues flank the entrance to the prefecture. It is the only five-axis palace portal in Moravia.


Augustinian Monastery, Hermits of St. Thomas the Apostle


Josef Leonard Weber (? Svidnica – after 1766 Trnava), Bernard Stettener

Of the original monastery interior only the library, decorated by J. T. Rotter, has survived. The monks transferred the shelves, made by a lay brother, to their new monastery in Old Brno. Corner niches are filled with allegories of continents by Josef Leonard Weber, whose family were sculptors active in Trnava, Slovakia, and in Budapest and whose statues can be found in the Znojmo region in particular. Some of the library folios actually originated in the monastery. J. G. Mendel, a member of the Augustinian order and a founder of genetics, also studied there.

Selected bibliography:

Bohumil Samek, Umělecké památky Moravy a Slezska I, A-J, Prague, 1994, pp. 193–199.
Ivo Krsek –­­ Zdeněk Kudělka (ed), –­­ Miloš Stehlík –­­ Josef Válka, Umění baroka na Moravě a ve Slezsku, Prague, 1996, pp. 292, 296.
Lubomír Slavíček, in Friedrich Polleroß (ed), Reiselust & Kunstgenuss. Barockes Böhmen, Mähren und Österreich, Petersberg, 2004, p. 230.
Michal Šroněk, Jan Jiří Heintsch (1647–­­1712): malíř barokní zbožnosti, Prague, 2006.
Jiří Kroupa, Umělci, objednavatelé a styl. Studie z dějin umění, Brno, 2006, pp. 141–166.

Citation of this web page:

Zora Wörgötter "Augustinian Monastery, Hermits of St. Thomas the Apostle, Brno" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2021.;BAR;cz;Mon11_F;7;en

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

MWNF Working Number: CZ 07