Lavric AHAS 2angl

Works of art in the Jesuit college of Ljubljana
In 1774, only a year after the dissolution of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuit college in Ljubljana was destroyed in a fire. Only a few paintings of its rich collection survive: four canvases representing St. Ignatius of Loyola, two (possibly even three) featuring St. Francis Xavier (all six pictures, or seven respectively, are presently housed in the Ursuline convent, Ljubljana), and a large canvas, The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, once mounted in the refectory (now in the Franciscan monastery, Ljubljana), a signed and dated work by Valentin Metzinger, 1747. An inventory list composed by a special commission on the suppression of the college in 1773 is of particularly great help in attempting to reconstruct the interior of the Order’s house: more than 200 paintings are listed in it, and several small altars in the stairwell, dedicated to the Virgin and some Jesuit saints. Most precious are also the data contained in the Order’s archival documents, providing information about new artistic acquisitions from year to year. A new embellishment of the library can be considered as one of the greatest achievements in the Ljubljana college; it was executed to the idea of the learned Jesuit Carolus Enders, who also supervised the works. The paintings included, showing Christ, Mary (Sedes sapientiae), and 14 representatives of theological and secular (positivist) sciences, were well considered and served perfectly the purpose of the place. They emphasized the importance of science, but they interpreted it within Christian context, pointing out that Christ alone was the source of all prudence. Undoubtedly, the Jesuits set up their library to rival the one of the Operosi (the present Seminary Library) which had been decorated with frescoes a year earlier, i. e. 1721, by the famous north-Italian painter Giulio Quaglio, assisted by his son Raffaele. However, the concept of the decoration in the Jesuit library differed from this to a certain degree, but was certainly not inferior in quality. It was in the 1740s that the most extensive decorations were put up in the college: the corridors were embellished with portraits of Jesuits, and paintings were mounted in the refectory that corresponded in their subject-matter to the purpose of the place; in addition, a new cathedra was also installed in it.