Jan Hasištejnský of Lobkowicz and Venetian Art of the 15th Century

Pages 69–75
Citation CHLÍBEC, Jan. Jan Hasištejnský of Lobkowicz and Venetian Art of the 15th Century. Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia litterarum. Prague: National Museum, 2007, 52(1-4), 69–75. ISSN 0036-5351. Also available from: https://publikace.nm.cz/en/periodicals/acta-musei-nationalis-pragae-historia-litterarum/52-1-4/jan-hasistejnsky-of-lobkowicz-and-venetian-art-of-the-15th-century
Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia litterarum | 2007/52/1-4

Travelogues are an important source of information for the understanding of the 15th and 16th century Czechs and their opinion on contemporary Italian art. Among them there is an interesting description of the 1493 pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre by Jan Hasištejnský of Lobkowicz (1450–1517), brother of the poet Bohuslav. Of the Italian region, John described only Venice, the traditional starting point for trans-Alpine pilgrims to the Holy Land. Jan Hasištejnský of Lobkowicz looked at Venetian art through Gothic eyes. He apreciated art that related to the trans-Alpine paradigms. He focused on gothic architecture and completely ignored the Renaissance treasures that had been already completed, or were close to completion. Likewise, he ignored Venetian contemporary paintings, although the prominent works of Bellinis, Vivarinis and other masters were exhibited in several places that he visited. One of his records is of extraordinary signifi cance: it helps in exact reconstruction of Guido Mazzoni’s Lamentation, of which only fragments survive. We may compare his descriptions with the 1495–1496 travelogues from a pilgrimage of Alexander of Wittelsbach. Most places visited by Alexander are identical with those visited by Jan Hasištejnský. The pilgrims must have had a similar “tourist’s itinerary” for both Venice and the Holy Land. However, Alexander could already see Verrocchio’s gilded bronze monument of Bartolomeo Colleoni at some time between April and May 1495 and admire both the technical and artistic qualities of that Renaissance treasure. It is one of the fi rst descriptions of this equestrian statue. We may wonder whether Hasištejnský’s Venetian sojourn and artistic pleasures carried over into the art that surrounded him in Bohemia. From what information is extant, the answer is probably in the negative. An exception may be his portrait in the Church of the Fourteen Holy Assistants in Kadaň. The naturalistic rendition of his wrinkled, unattractive face is the fi rst Czech late Gothic sculptural portrait emancipated from previous obligations. That realistic conception may have been a reminiscence of Mazzoni’s group and its crypto-portraits made from molds of faces of living donators, or of sepulchral sculptures in Venetian churches.

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