The Worship of Pallas Athene
Governor’s Palace, Brno, Moravia, Czech Republic
Moravian Gallery, Brno
Paul Troger (1698, Zell/Welsberg-1762, Vienna)
Pen and brown ink on paper
h: 30.7 cm; w: 21.6 cm
Private collection, Brno
The scene shows a statue of Pallas Athene, goddess of wisdom, on an altar. A group of putti are garlanding the statue, while their companions pour incense into an offering vessel. The drawing was inspired by Paul Troger's time in Italy, a period of several years. Together with Martin van Meytens among others, he “studied ancient monuments in the vicinity of Rome with such unceasing diligence that very often we only made do, for days, with bread and water in order to continue with our study without disturbance”. The artist modelled the central motif on a statue of Pallas Athene from the famous collection of ancient art assembled by Marquis Vincenzo Giustiniani (now in the Vatican Museum, Rome). The statue was also known from a print of 1631 and from pictorial publications on ancient sculpture. Paul Troger employed a subject similar to the Brno drawing in an etching from 1724, the origin of which is provably associated with the artist's stay in Rome. Troger's etching and the Brno drawing resemble the engraving technique of Venetian peintre-graveur, using a fine grid for the modelling and to capture transitions in light. Typical examples may be found in the work of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696–1770), a major exponent of Italian Settecento painting. The subject of adoration of the goddess of wisdom reflects the growing emphasis placed on education at the time. Troger's unfinished drawing probably served as a template for a print celebrating Wisdom. The principal motif is worked up in detail, while the accompanying figures of putti and the landscape in the background are sketched in pencil. Continuous wavy lines give evidence of a swift and expressive drawing manner. The artist was an influential professor of the Vienna Academy and was a leading Central European painter of the 18th century.View Short Description
Moravian Gallery, Brno
Josef Winterhalder Sr
The determination of the artist is based on a confirmed provenance. Troger's authorship is proven, in particular, by the distinctive faces of the putti and the brisk drawing manner.
The drawing probably comes from the estate of the sculptor Josef Winterhalder Sr., a friend of Troger. It was donated to the gallery by Mrs Trapp before 1963, and was previously found in the collections of the archivist and historian Jan Petr Cerroni and Mořic Wilhelm Trapp, a curator of the Francis Museum in Brno.
Wanda Aschenbrenner – Gregor Schweighofer, Paul Troger, Leben und Werk, Salzburg, 1965, p. 130, cat. 14, p. 154.
Lubomír Slavíček, in Jiří Kroupa (ed), Dans le miroir des ombres. La Moravie a la age baroque 1760–1790, Brno–Paris–Rennes, 2002, p. 249, cat. 93.
Jiří Kroupa, in Eduard Hindelang – Lubomír Slavíček, Franz Anton Maulbertsch und Mitteleuropa, Festschrift zum 30jährigen Bestehen des Museums Langenargen, Langenargen–Brno, 2007, pp. 27–28.
Zora Wörgötter "The Worship of Pallas Athene" in Discover Baroque Art , Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;BAR;cz;Mus11;12;en&id=prints_and_drawings
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 13