Publication details

„… rozpomeňte se na Seslání Ducha Svatého, uposlechněte hlasu Církve svaté“: Pozdně barokní malby Josefa Františka Pilze v kostele Nanebevzetí P. Marie ve Slatinicích

Title in English “...remember the Descent of the Holy Spirit, obey the voice of the Holy Church”. The Late Baroque Paintings by Josef František Pilz in the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Slatinice


Year of publication 2020
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Slatinice in the Olomouc region is a remarkable new structure, which was developed and decorated in the 1870s as a result of the focused interest of the local pastor Václav Hlávka (†1768) and thanks to his generous funding. The complex fresco decoration was assigned to the painter Josef František Pilz/Piltz (1711–1797), who was born in Retz, Lower Austria, and after his training in Brno (at J. J. Etgens’s studio) lived and worked in the Olomouc and Kromeříž regions. His work however penetrated beyond the borders of Moravia when he decorated the Holy Trinity Church of the Trinitarians order in Krakow-Kazimierz with his frescos in 1757–1758. The paintings in the dome of the oval nave and chancel were created between 1772–1773/1774. The paintings in the choir – The Holy Trinity with archangels and angels, representatives of the Old and New Testaments – and the main nave – the scene of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, which is not very common in our environment, have been preserved to date. The basic idea of this scene, i.e. the establishment of the Church and its global mission, is then developed by the mural on the narthex vault, which J. F. Pilz with his son covered with personifications of four continents. The paintings truly represent Pilz’s style with its air of rococo, nevertheless, the circumstances of the choice of the central scene still remain as an important question which has not yet been raised. The paper is hypothetically considering the possibility of whether the tradition of (mostly published) sermons of the significant clergyman Bohumír Hynek Bílovský (1659–1725), who lived and worked in Slatinice from 1708 until his death, could play its role in this. A number of his printed sermons were based around the Whitsun symbolism and the Pentecostal story and the question arises then as to whether this could be subsequently also reflected in the choice of the fresco decoration, no matter that this happened two generations later. The relation between the sermons and the church decorations lies in the manner of how both of these media turn to the believers gathered in the church and how they are often directly connected. Bílovský himself, in one of his places of operation – at the Church of Saint Liborius in Jesenice – purposefully related his sermons to the murals in the church. By analogy, Pilz’s frescos could function as a religiousdisciplinary element accompanying sermons, which, in the spirit of the tradition of Bílovský, could a) strengthen the basic principles of Catholic teaching about the universal Church and the salvation of man within its framework, but concurrently b) directly react to the weak faith of local believers, which was a frequent topic of Bílovský’s sermons and reflected the practice of weak religious consciousness in the Hanakian countryside. In this sense, the general proposition would apply about the pedagogical-indoctrination (confession-building) role of religious art, in particular in the Catholic environment after the Council of Trent. Here the iconography of the Descent of the Holy Spirit was also redefined, which with its missionary and “conversion” story corresponded to the current universalistically hegemonic policy of the Counter-reformation Church.

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