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On display in the Exhibition(s)
Devotion and Pilgrimage | Specifics of devotional iconography

Name of Object:
Adoration of the Painting of the Virgin Mary of Znojmo
Date of Object:
Jan Daniel de Herdt / Giovanni de Hertz
Type of object:
Holding Museum:
Museum of South Moravia, Znojmo
Znojmo, Moravia, Czech Republic
Period of activity:
1646–1648 in Antwerp, Brescia, Vienna, Znojmo, Brno and Třebíč
Museum Inventory Number:
Material(s) / Technique(s):
Oil on canvas
Place of production:
h: 241 cm; w: 167 cm
The image within, praised by angels, is a painted reproduction of an adoration picture of the Virgin Mary of Znojmo which originated in the 1630s. Its subject is the miraculous transportation of the picture which, according to legend, was brought to its new location by angels. The gloomy landscape in the bottom section of the painting has, beyond doubt, an allegorical meaning, while the illuminated adoration image presents a reality higher than the earthly life, here represented by thistles, military fortresses and rocks. The artist accentuated the difference between the miraculous picture and mundane reality through quaint, rustic elements in the picture of the Virgin Mary, in terms appropriate to chronology and the taste of the period. On the other hand, the figures of the angels and the landscape are rendered in Herdt’s trademark warm red-brown and golden tones, revealing his Flemish training.
This sizeable painting is an example of the then popular picture-within-a-picture type. The intention of such paintings was to visually enhance, or “update”, well-known and already worshipped miracle-inspiring pictures. These “miraculous” pictures were displayed on altars, like relics, and as such were to be venerated. At the same time, pictures-within-pictures were employed, by Counter-Reformation and missionary orders in particular, for more striking presentations of “miraculous” pictures among ordinary town and country people.
The origination of the painting marks a key moment in the history of the worship of the miraculous Znojmo picture, since the burgeoning importance of the Znojmo Dominicans in South Moravia involved the cult of the Virgin Mary of Znojmo. One of the first mentions of a Marian brotherhood of the Holy Rosary, active in one of the chapels of the monastery complex, date to the same period. In 1734 the “miraculous picture” was festively crowned and placed on a new altar in the monastery church.
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Current Owner:
Museum of South Moravia, Znojmo
How date and origin were established:
The painting is signed and dated 1678. The Dominican monastery, established in Znojmo around the mid-13th century, suffered serious damage during the Thirty Years' War and was not substantially restored until several decades later. At that time, The Invention of the Holy Cross, a painting by Jan Daniel (de) Herdt a Dutch artist formerly active in Brescia, Italy, was obtained for the main altar. A year later, Herdt painted another canvas for the monastery, its subject being the adoration of a picture of the Virgin Mary of Znojmo.
How Object was obtained:
The painting was probably found in one of the chapels of the Dominican monastery church in Znojmo which was pulled down in the late 19th century. The picture was transferred to Znojmo Castle chapel, administered by the Museum of Znojmo since the early 20th century.
Selected bibliography:
Václav Richter – Bohumil Samek – Miloš Stehlík, Znojmo, Prague, 1966, p. 67.
Libor Šturc, in Pavel Ciprian – Libor Šturc, Staré umění Znojemska, stálá expozice gotického barokního umění ze sbírek Jihomoravského muzea ve Znojmě. Průvodce expozicí, Znojmo, 1996, p. 12, no. 15.
Jiří Kroupa, in: Dans le miroir des ombres. La Moravie a la age baroque 1760–1790, Brno–Paris–Rennes, 2002, pp. 93–94, cat. 7.
Citation of this web page:
Zora Wörgötter, Jiří  Kroupa "Adoration of the Painting of the Virgin Mary of Znojmo" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2016.;BAR;cz;Mus11_E;1;en
Prepared by: Zora Wörgötter, Jiří Kroupa
Copyedited by: Jiří Kroupa
Translation by: Irma Charvátová
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: CZ 02