Photograph: MIRJANA REPANIC BRAUN,  © MIRJANA REPANIC BRAUN


Name of Object:

St. Francis Xavier

Also known as:

St. Francis Xavier Baptizing Natives

Location:

Požega, Požeško-Slavonska County, Croatia

Holding Museum:

Diocese Museum of the Požega Diocese

Date of Object:

c. 1700

Artist(s) / Craftsperson(s):

Attributed to Andrea Pozzo (30 November 1642, Trento, Italy-31 August 1709, Vienna, Austria)

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

H: 138 cm; w: 103 cm

Workshop / Movement:

Palma il Giovane, Andrea Sacchi

Provenance:

The Jesuit College in Požega

Type of object:

Painting

Period of activity:

1668–1709

Place of production:

Vienna

Description:

Following liberation from Turkish occupation, the Jesuits were among the first to occupy the prominent towns of northeast Croatia. They arrived in Požega, a town at the very heart of the so-called Valis Aurea, the Golden Valley surrounded by mountains, in the middle of the Slavonian plain.
This painting of St. Francis Xavier was probably among the first artworks installed to decorate the Jesuit College in Požega, built and equipped soon after the Jesuit's arrival in 1698. The pendant to this painting presents the Immaculate Conception in a very specific way, with the Madonna sitting on a throne and the Child standing on a serpent's head next to her.
St. Francis Xavier shows the saint baptising the local inhabitants on one of his missions to the East. The composition is common in works with a similar theme, for example, in the small-size oil painting, the Baptism of Queen Neachila of India by the same artist. This work, a kind of study or bozzetto, is in Düsseldorf Museum, while a painting of the same subject on a larger scale is in the Kiscelli Museum, Budapest.
In the Požega painting, the figure of the saint is notable for its monumental gesture: the almost three-quarter length, front-facing figure of the saint pouring holy water from the small bucket onto the heads of the three figures gathered around the baptismal font. The stunning texture of the paint reveals the author's dynamic gestural brushstrokes. The somewhat cold and distant colours are surprising in a scene supposedly taking place in Asia and Africa, where warmer and more saturated colours are expected. Nevertheless, the specific chromatic values seen here are frequent in Pozzo's paintings, as are the dynamic brushstrokes.

View Short Description

St. Francis Xavier is one of a few easel paintings by the Baroque painter, architect and art theoretician Andrea Pozzo. Brought to Požega by the Jesuits soon after 1698 after liberation from the Ottomans, the stunning detail reveals the author's eloquent gestural brushstrokes.

Original Owner:

The Jesuit College in Požega

Current Owner:

The Požega Diocese

How date and origin were established:

The date and the origin of this painting were established partly by the Historia domus of the Jesuit College in Požega and through comparative analysis of other known works by the same author.

How Object was obtained:

Originally owned by the Jesuits of Požega, Joseph II confiscated this painting along with the entire Jesuit inventory when he banned the order. Some of the paintings became part of the Diocese Museum of the Zagreb Archdiocese. Shortly after the Požega Diocese was established, the painting was returned to Požega.

Selected bibliography:

Repanic-Braun, M., Slikarstvo u razdoblju baroka i u 19. stoljecu”, Kulturna baština Požege i Požeštine (ed. N. Čerti), Zagreb, 2004, pp. 233–235.
Szilárdfy, Z., “Pozzo, Andrea. Saint Frances Xavier, 1701”, Barokk Művészet közép-Európában. Utak és találkozások (Baroque Art in Central Europe: Crossroads), (ed. M. Mojzer), Budapest, 1993, p. 324.

Citation of this web page:

Mirjana Repanić-Braun "St. Francis Xavier" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. http://www.discoverbaroqueart.org/database_item.php?id=object;BAR;hr;Mus11_A;2;en

Prepared by: Mirjana Repanić-BraunMirjana Repanić-Braun

SURNAME: Repanić-Braun
NAME: Mirjana

AFFILIATION: Institute of Art History, Zagreb

TITLE: PhD, Scientific Consultant

CV:
From 1981 to 1982 Mirjana Repanić-Braun was a curator of the Academy’s collection of sculpture in the Gliptoteque of the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences; from 1983 to 1998 she worked in the Croatian Academy’s Archives for Visual Arts. Mirjana has been employed as a researcher at the Institute of Art History in Zagreb since 1998: from 2001, as head of the scientific project Baroque Painting, Sculpture and Crafts of Continental Croatia, and since 2006, as head of the scientific project Baroque, Classicism and Historicism in the Arts of North Croatia. Mirjana teaches Art History at the universities of Rijeka and Split. At the University of Zagreb, she participates at doctoral level in the Faculty of Croatian Studies and the Faculty of Philosophy.

Translation by: Mirjana Repanić-BraunMirjana Repanić-Braun

SURNAME: Repanić-Braun
NAME: Mirjana

AFFILIATION: Institute of Art History, Zagreb

TITLE: PhD, Scientific Consultant

CV:
From 1981 to 1982 Mirjana Repanić-Braun was a curator of the Academy’s collection of sculpture in the Gliptoteque of the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences; from 1983 to 1998 she worked in the Croatian Academy’s Archives for Visual Arts. Mirjana has been employed as a researcher at the Institute of Art History in Zagreb since 1998: from 2001, as head of the scientific project Baroque Painting, Sculpture and Crafts of Continental Croatia, and since 2006, as head of the scientific project Baroque, Classicism and Historicism in the Arts of North Croatia. Mirjana teaches Art History at the universities of Rijeka and Split. At the University of Zagreb, she participates at doctoral level in the Faculty of Croatian Studies and the Faculty of Philosophy.

Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: HR 02

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