Artworks Catalogue

The Plague monument on the Main Square in Maribor, old photograph (source of the photo: Regional Archive Maribor)
The cartouche with the chronogram (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
The relief with St Rose of Lima (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
The original sculptures at the entrance hall of the Maribor Regional Office of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia in Maribor (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
The original sculptures of St Sebastian and St Roch (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
The original sculptures of St Anthony of Padua, St James the Greater and St Francis Xavier (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
The head of the sculpture of St Francis Xavier (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)

Location

Slovenia, Maribor

Artwork

The Plague monument on the Main Square in Maribor

Type

Sculpture

Dimensions

Height: 188 cm, width: 72 cm, depth: 58 cm

Inscriptions

  1. In honoreM sIne Labe ConCeptae VIrgInIs eX Voto a pIIs CIVItatIs InCoLIs haeC statVa erreCta fIt (in the cartouche under the column, not visible anymore)
  2. IOS. STRAUB FI. FECIT (on the base of the statue of St John the Baptist, not visible anymore since the sculpture is lost)
  3. IOSEPH… INUENIT ET F… (on the base of the statue of St Francis Xavier, not visible anymore)
  4. VIator DIC saeCVLIs VentVrIs e Voto et CarItate hIC renoVata sVM (on the back side of the base of the column)

Critical History

The first comprehensive study of the Plague monument in Maribor was published already in 1911 by Avguštin Stegenšek.1 Stegenšek transcribed the chronogram in the cartouche under the column (Ins 1) and the inscription which he saw on the base of the statue of St John the Baptist (Ins 2) – but he pointed out that the inscription under the statue was badly damaged.2 Furthermore, he presented the sculptor Joseph Straub and his origin, which is actually the first mention of this sculptor in Slovene literature.3

Sergej Vrišer was not able to read the inscription mentioned by Stegenšek since the statue of St John the Baptist was already lost in that time.4 But he saw and transcribed an inscription from the base of the statue of St Francis Xavier (Ins 3).5 Today, the inscription is not visible anymore, but the plague monument is considered a documented work of Joseph Straub and even the first work Joseph Straub did in Maribor. Still, there are many issues about the commission of the monument. Since the plague monument was a major commission by the city of Maribor, it seems likely that his brother Philipp Jakob Straub, who was an important sculptor in Graz at that time, received the commission – rather than still unknown Joseph.6 This, of course, is only a presumption since we still have not found any archival source about the commission. Also, style analysis is not possible because the statues are seriously damaged.

The first column – Mary`s column – was erected on that place already in 1681, as a votive gift from the citizens after the city was saved from plague.7 Later it was replaced with a monument we see today.

The plague monument is a significant landmark in the Main Square in Maribor. It is large and has a complex form. Three stairs lead to the main platform with a metal fence. In the centre, the stone mensa is set and a relief with the depiction of St Rose of Lima above it. From there, a high column erects and a golden statue of St Mary is placed on its top (the original statue of St Mary is kept at the Regional Museum Maribor).

Originally, there were eight sculptures set on their own pedestals, four on each side of the mensa. From left to the right we can identify them as St Francis of Assisi, St Sebastian, St James the Greater, St Anthony of Padua, St Roch and St Francis Xavier.

There were two angels beside the cartouche and two other statues – St John the Baptist and St John of Nepomuk, which stood on each side of the entrance until 1896.8 Later they were transferred to Betnava Mansion and two modern lamps were set on their place.9

Construction / Execution

The original sculptures are made of sandstone (lithothamnium limestone of light colour), which was probably brought from the quarry called Aflenz near Leibnitz in Styria.10

The reconstruction of the monument and the copies of the statues were set on its place in 1991. The original sculptures are situated at the entrance hall of the Maribor Regional Office of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia in Maribor. They have smoothen backs because they were meant to be seen from all sides.

Components

Sculpture
Sculpture
Author: Joseph Straub (Wiesensteig 1712 – Maribor 1756)
Completed: ca. 1743
Material(s): sandstone

Comment

The sculptures are badly damaged because of weather conditions. They have unrecognisable faces. They are preserved on few areas under sculpture´s drapery. Grey polychromy is visible there.

Conservation-restoration

The renovation of the monument
Consolidation and repairing by Maribor Regional Office of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia in Maribor
Consolidation - Maribor Regional Office of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia in Maribor
Maribor Regional Office of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia in Maribor

Treatment Description

Determination of damaged originals, modelling damaged originals, reconstruction, making a copy.

Images

  1. The Plague monument on the Main Square in Maribor, old photograph (source of the photo: Regional Archive Maribor)
  2. The cartouche with the chronogram (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
  3. The relief with St Rose of Lima (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
  4. The original sculptures at the entrance hall of the Maribor Regional Office of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia in Maribor (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
  5. The original sculptures of St Sebastian and St Roch (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
  6. The original sculptures of St Anthony of Padua, St James the Greater and St Francis Xavier (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
  7. The head of the sculpture of St Francis Xavier (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)

Catalogue entry prepared by Valentina Pavlič and Saša Dolinšek

Recommended citation: Valentina Pavlič and Saša Dolinšek, The Plague monument on the Main Square in Maribor, in: TrArS – Tracing the Art of the Straub Family, 2018, (accessed 16/09/2019) URL

Sources and Bibliography

  1. Avguštin Stegenšek, Naši Marijini stebri, in: Voditelj v bogoslovnih vedah, XIV, 1911, 328–339
  2. Stele, Zap. LXXXVII, 1921, 8; Stele, Zap. LXXX, 1932, 17, URL
  3. Sergej Vrišer, Mariborski baročni kiparji, in: Zbornik za umetnostno zgodovino, n. v. IV, 1957, 71–127
  4. Sergej Vrišer, Baročno kiparstvo na slovenskem Štajerskem, Maribor, Obzorja, 1963
  5. Janez Mikuž, Reševanje Kužnega znamenja na Glavnem trgu v Mariboru, in: Varstvo spomenikov, 34, 1992, 127–131
  6. Sergej Vrišer, Baročno kiparstvo na slovenskem Štajerskem, Ljubljana, Slovenska matica, 1992

Notes

1 Avguštin Stegenšek, 1911, 328–339. We should point out that Stegenšek also introduced the sculptor Joseph Straub; his research of Straub's connections with central european sculpture is the first comprehensive description of this sculptor in the literature.

2 Stegenšek 1911, 333. France Stele also transcribed both inscriptions (Stele, 1921, 8; Stele, 1932, 17). He wrote that stone with the signature under the statue of St John of Nepomuk is glanced off, but he managed to transcribe: joseph… invenit et.

3 Aguštin Stegenšek 1911, 333–334.

4 When Stegenšek wrote his contribution, the statues of St John the Baptist and St John of Nepomuk were already moved to the Betnava Mansion. From there they later disappeared.

5 Sergej Vrišer 1957, 86; Sergej Vrišer, 1963, 168; Sergej Vrišer, 1992, 235.

6 In the earliest writings about the monument we can read that both brothers, Joseph and Philipp Jakob Straub, worked together, but this thought has never been elaborated. (Stegenšek 1991, 334; Vrišer 1957, 88). For the discussion of the authorship see also: Blaž Resman, 1998, 58; Sergej Vrišer, 1999, 319–321.

7 Avguštin Stegenšek, 1911, 332.

8 Janez Mikuž, 1992, 128; Sergej Vrišer, 1957, 86.

9 Avguštin Stegenšek, 1911, 334.

10 Janez Mikuž, 1992, 128.