Artworks Catalogue

The high altar of the Succursal Church of St Joseph in Slovenska Bistrica (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
The upper part of the altar (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
The sculptures of St Anne and St Joachim (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
The sculptures of St Zachary and St Elizabeth with the young St John the Baptist (Institute for the Protection of cultural heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
The painting of the Death of St Joseph, attributed to Valentin Metzinger (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
The sculpture of kneeling angel beside the tabernacle (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
The sculptures of St Elizabeth, detail (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
Two sculptures of the angels from the atic (Institute for the Protection of cultural heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)

Location

Slovenia, Slovenska Bistrica

Succursal Church of St Joseph (Podružnična cerkev sv. Jožefa)

Artwork

High Altar of the Succursal Church of St Joseph in Slovenska Bistrica

Type

High altar

Critical History

The succursal church of St Joseph in Slovenska Bistrica was visited by the visitator five times between 1751 and 1773.1 In the visitation record from 1751, the building is called "sacellum sancti Josephi"2 and in 1753 "capella an Kalvari Berg".3 In the visitation record from 1756, it reads that the construction of the church had not been completed at the time of the visitation, but according to the description of the furnishings and bells, it must have been almost finished. It also reads that one altar with portatile had already been installed – namely the altar of Saint Joseph.4 Sergej Vrišer set the dating of the altar at 1757/58 and suggested Joseph Holzinger as the author.5 Valentina Pavlič, on the contrary, recently argued for Joseph Straub’s authorship based on the stylistic analysis as well as on the secondary sources (namely the sources about the building of the church and the visitation records of the church made by Savinja Archdeacony of Gorizia Archdiocese from 1756).6 The sculptures as well as the architecture of the high altar share some similarities with works by Joseph Holzinger, but many more with works by Joseph Straub. Pavlič also suggested that the altar is Joseph Straub’s last work (alongside with the sculptures from the parish church in Zlatar in Croatia).7 Evidently, the statues were made just before his death and we can assume that Joseph Holzinger (supposedly his successor) set them on the altar and carved two angels on the sides of the upper part of the altar and fine ornaments (wreaths of roses above the heads of St Anne and St Elizabeth).

The altar fills the whole space of the church apse. It is harmoniously adjusted to the architecture. The four main figures are life size (170 cm) and represent St Anne, St Joachim, St Zachary, and St Elizabeth with the young St John the Baptist standing beside her. All four saints are of great quality and richly dressed. In the upper part of the altar, there is a representation of heavenly glory: a figure of God the Father with significant globe beneath his right hand.

Construction / Execution

The high altar is made of wood. The altar table is made of stone and is covered with wooden antependium. The altar is completely repolychromed. The first polychromation of the altar architecture was an imitation of marble in blue, orange and brown shades. The surface of the architecture was polished and silver painted with blue varnish to imitate marble. The pillars and parts of predella were painted to imitate red/orange marble. The drapery of the sculptures, angel wings and ornaments were gilded to imitate gold.

The back side of the altar has well finished and smoothen surface because it was meant to be seen during certain procession activities.

Components

Carpentry
Carpentry
Author: Joseph Straub (Wiesensteig 1712 – Maribor 1756)
Technique(s): sawing, wood carving
Material(s): softwood
Sculpture
Sculpture
Author: Joseph Straub (Wiesensteig 1712 – Maribor 1756)
Technique(s): wood carving
Material(s): limewood
Sculpture
Sculptures of two angels
Author: Joseph Holzinger (Limbuš 1735 – Maribor 1797)
Technique(s): wood carving
Material(s): limewood
Polychromy
Polychromy
Technique(s): oil, water gilding
Material(s): gold leaf, red bole, silver leaf
Polychromy
First repolychromy
Technique(s): oil
Material(s): oil

Comment

The construction is in a very stable condition. The altar was repolychromed once in the past with a thin layer of oil painting or coloured varnish. On many places of the altar´s architecture the original marbelling is seen through the repolychromy. The original gilding is well preserved.

Images

  1. The high altar of the Succursal Church of St Joseph in Slovenska Bistrica (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
  2. The upper part of the altar (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
  3. The sculptures of St Anne and St Joachim (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
  4. The sculptures of St Zachary and St Elizabeth with the young St John the Baptist (Institute for the Protection of cultural heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
  5. The painting of the Death of St Joseph, attributed to Valentin Metzinger (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
  6. The sculpture of kneeling angel beside the tabernacle (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
  7. The sculptures of St Elizabeth, detail (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, photo by Valentin Benedik, 2018)
  8. Two sculptures of the angels from the atic (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, High Altar of the Succursal Church of St Joseph in Slovenska Bistrica, in: TrArS – Tracing the Art of the Straub Family, 2018, (accessed 13/07/2020) URL

Sources and Bibliography

  1. Sergej Vrišer, Mariborski baročni kiparji, in: Zbornik za umetnostno zgodovino, n. v. IV, 1957, 71–127
  2. Sergej Vrišer, Baročno kiparstvo na slovenskem Štajerskem, Maribor, Obzorja, 1963
  3. Sergej Vrišer, Donesek k baroku v Slovenski Bistrici, in: Zbornik občine Slovenska Bistrica, 1, Slovenska Bistrica, 1983, 229–231
  4. Sergej Vrišer, Baročno kiparstvo na slovenskem Štajerskem, Ljubljana, Slovenska matica, 1992
  5. Valentina Pavlič, Jožef Straub in problem avtorstva velikega oltarja v cerkvi sv. Jožefa v Slovenski Bistrici / Joseph Straub and the question of the authorship of the high altar in Saint Joseph church in Slovenska Bistrica, in: Zbornik za umetnostno zgodovino. Nova vrsta, ISSN 0351-224X, 53, 2017, 149–163, 164–165, URL

Notes

1 Anton Ožinger, 1991, 174, 348, 535, 817–818; Steiermarkische Landesarchiv (StLA), Geistliche Stiftungsakten (GSTA), fasc. 296, published for the first time by Metoda Kemperl, 2007, 121.

2 Anton Ožinger, 1991, 174.

3 Steiermarkische Landesarchiv (StLA), Geistliche Stiftungsakten (GSTA), fasc. 296.

4 Anton Ožinger, 1991, 348.

5 Sergej Vrišer, 1957, 96; Sergej Vrišer, 1963, 93; Sergej Vrišer, 1983, 229–231; Sergej Vrišer, 1992, 133–134; Sergej Vrišer, 1997, 16.

6 Valentina Pavlič, 2017, 149–165.

7 Valentina Pavlič, 2017, 162–163.

8 Valentina Pavlič, 2017, 163.