Carthusian Monastery and the Church of The Holy Trinity, Brno-Královo Pole
Brno, Moravia, Czech Republic
Ondřej Schweigl (1735–1812, Brno), Franz Anton Maulbertsch (1724 Langenargen am Bodensee – 1796 Vienna), Felix Ivo Leicher (1727 Bílovec – 1812 Vienna), Josef Stern (1716 Graz – 1775 Brno), Martin Johann Schmidt (Kremser-Schmidt), Bartolomeus Zindtner, Mořic Grimm (1669 Achdorf – 1757 Brno), Giacomo Antonio Corbellini
Religious – Monastery
Jan Jindřich of Luxembourg (d. 1375), Prokop of Luxembourg (d. 1405) Jošt of Luxembourg (d. 1411); Carthusian order, Athanasius Gottfried (1738 Polná – 1814 Brno)
The monastery was founded by Moravian margrave, Jan Jindřich, brother of the Czech King and Emperor Charles IV. The monastery, situated outside the town walls, suffered damage in several successive wars. It acquired its present appearance through a Baroque reconstruction of the whole complex following a number of minor repairs. Leading artists from the Vienna Academy participated in the reconstruction. Abbot A. Gottfried was a renowned art collector and exponent of the Enlightenment in Brno. The monastery was dissolved in 1782 as part of the religious reforms undertaken by Joseph II and was among many others that “[did] not support schools or hospitals, and whose members [did] not hold positions as preachers or priests”. The monastery was commissioned for military purposes and rebuilt, in particular in 1871–1877. Soldiers used the premises until the end of 1963 when the monastery was taken over by the Technical University of Brno.
The Carthusian order was dedicated to asceticism and contemplation. The frontage of the single-nave building with statues of St. John the Baptist, Patron Saint of the Carthusians, St. Bruno, founder of the order, a sculpture of the Holy Trinity and the shield with CT (Cella Trinitatis), the symbol of the monastery, are by O. Schweigl. The nave and two side chapels have preserved their original Gothic appearance. The gallery pews, from the early 17th century, are among the most precious in Moravia. The sculpted decoration of the altars was created by O. Schweigl (1763); the high altar features St. John the Baptist and St. Bruno. The altarpiece holds a replica of the sketch by J. Stern, The Celebration of the Holy Trinity. The entrance door to the church is secured by a richly ornamented rococo grid.
As instrumental music was excluded from Carthusian masses Gregorian chant was a characteristic part of the service. A gallery was added later in 1903. In the middle of a large cloister is a refectory with stucco decoration by G. A. Corbellini. There was once a library on the first floor.
This monastery, the only preserved Carthusian complex in Moravia, was founded by a Moravian margrave. The order was dedicated to asceticism and contemplation and leading artists from the Vienna Academy participated in its Baroque reconstruction. Prior A. Gottfried was a renowned art collector and exponent of the Enlightenment in Brno. The interior is adorned with frescos featuring revelations: angels as God’s messengers in mystical scenes from the Old and New Testaments. The monastery was dissolved in 1782 as part of religious reforms undertaken by Joseph II.
The picture by Kremser-Schmidt is signed and dated. The decoration of the church is determined by the office of Abbot A. Gottfried.
The picture shows the monastery and church on the outskirts of Brno, and a village green with the small Church of St. Vitus restored after the ravages of the Swedish campaign. The church is adjoined by cells where one church father lived in each. Outside the cells were gardens demarcated by a two-storey-high wall that made the communication between neighbouring monks impossible (part of their asceticism), and thus guaranteed absolute privacy. The cells contained a room for sleeping, studying and praying and a workshop. These areas were connected by a cloister that closed off the courtyard of reclusion.
Franz Anton Maulbertsch (1724 Langenargen am Bodensee – 1796 Vienna)
The left-hand chapel was once a sacristy for the Carthusian priests. The altarpiece, worshipped by gilded angels by O. Schweigl, represents Archangel Michael (M. J. Schmidt). The marble slab in the floor covers the tomb of Moravian Margrave of the Prokop (district) of Luxembourg. The interior is adorned with frescos featuring revelations – angels as God's messengers in scenes from both the Old and New Testaments – such as dreams, revelations and annunciations.
Franz Anton Maulbertsch (1724 Langenargen am Bodensee – 1796 Vienna)
Only fragments of the original paintings in the Chapter Hall survive. The subjects involve the Life of the Order (allegories of the Church, Taciturnity and Saints Bruno and Jerome), the Monastery and Czech History (Margrave Jan Jindrich, founder of the monastery; St. John of Nepomuk and Queen Žofie; St. Wenceslas), Exempla and Visions.
Felix Ivo Leicher (1727 Bílovec – 1812 Vienna), Ondřej Schweigl (1735–1812, Brno)
Side altars dedicated to Saints Barbara and Tecla, Apollonia and Catherine feature paintings by F. I. Leicher, Maulbertsch’s associate, and statues of the saints by O. Schweigl.
Bohumil Samek, Umělecké památky Moravy a Slezska I, A-J, Prague, 1994, pp. 230–233.
Ivo Krsek – Zdeněk Kudělka (ed) – Miloš Stehlík – Josef Válka, Umění baroka na Moravě a ve Slezsku, Prague, 1996
Thomas Dacosta Kaufmann, Painterly Enlightenment. The Art of Franz Anton Maulbertsch, 1724–1796, North Carolina, 2005.
Lubomír Slavíček, Sibi arti amicics, Poznámky a materiálie k dějinám sběratelství v Brně 1780–1840, Opuscula Historiae Artium, F 42, 1998, pp. 73–88.
Jiří Kroupa, Franz Anton Maulbertsch: Aufklärung, Auftraggeber und Mentalitäten in Mähren, in Eduard Hindelang – Lubomír Slavíček (eds), Franz Anton Maulbertsch und Mitteleuropa. Beiträge zum 30-jährigen Bestehen des Museums Langenargen, Langenargen–Brno, 2007, pp. 23–44.
Zora Wörgötter "Carthusian Monastery and the Church of The Holy Trinity, Brno-Královo Pole" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. http://www.discoverbaroqueart.org/database_item.php?id=monument;BAR;cz;Mon11_F;26;en
Prepared by: Zora WörgötterZora Wörgötter
AFFILIATION: Moravian Gallery in Brno
TITLE: Museum Curator and Local Co-ordinator
Zora Wörgötter studied Applied Painting at the Secondary School of Applied Arts, Video Art (Faculty of Fine Arts) at the University of Technology in Brno and Art History and Ethnology (Faculty of Arts) at Masaryk University, Brno. She has worked at the Moravian Gallery since 1997 and was curator of the Ancient Art Collection up until 2008. Specialising in Dutch and Central European painting of the 17th and 18th centuries, she has participated in the preparation of several exhibitions, catalogues and research projects in the Czech Republic and abroad, and published in the Moravian Gallery Bulletin, Opuscula historiae artium, and other journals. She is co-ordinator of the Art History Database www.ahice.net for the Czech Republic.
Copyedited by: Jiří KroupaJiří Kroupa
AFFILIATION: Department of the History of Art (Faculty of Arts) Masaryk
Professor Jiří Kroupa studied Art History, History and Sociology Masaryk University, Brno. He was a curator at the Kroměříž Museum and the Moravian Gallery in Brno before joining the staff at Masaryk University in 1988 (Head of the Department 1992–2002; Professor 1999 to present). His particular fields of interest are in the history of architecture, 18th-century cultural history and the methodology of art history. His long list of publications includes an edition on the architect Franz Anton Grimm and an essay “The alchemy of happiness: the Enlightenment in the Moravian context”. He was contributing editor for the volume Dans le miroir des ombres. Moravie a la age baroque. 1670–1790 (2002).
Translation by: Irma Charvátová
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: CZ 26