Ciglenecki AHAS 4angl

Paintings from Libochovice in the castle of Ptuj
A group of seventeen paintings dating from the end of the 17th century are kept in the castle of Ptuj, Slovenia. All of the canvases are copies after several European masters' well-known works which were originally part of the Prague Castle gallery and are now housed in various museums. The paintings in the Regional Museum of Ptuj are only part of a series of fourty-three (or even fourty-five) copies, which Gundakar Dietrichstein, the founder of the Czech branch of the Dietrichstein family, commissioned in around 1690 from the Prague court painter Johann Christian Schröder (1655–1702), for his castle at Libochovice, Bohemia.
Towards the end of the 17th century Gundakar Dietrichstein profoundly renewed the castle of Libochovice and arranged it as a luxurious residence surrounded by gardens. He chose Antonio della Porta to design the architecture. Excellent masters were engaged for furnishing the interior, too. The copies after well-known paintings from the Prague court gallery were not made by Schröder alone; however, because his oeuvre has not been thoroughly investigated yet, it is not possible to distinguish between his own work and that of his assistants in his workshop. The participation of Peter Jan Brandl (1660/68–1739), who was Schröder's pupil in the years 1683–1688, is also presumed. All the copies are of about the same size (cca 150 x 170 cm). The original compositions, which are of different dimensions, were adapted to an almost square format. The paintings now in the museum of Ptuj, as well as those that have remained in the castle of Libochovice, are furnished with identical, richly carved frames. Their ornamentation is a little rough, but they are very delicate in composition. It is presumed that the frames were made in the workshop of Jan Brokoff (1652–1718), who was also engaged by Gundakar Dietrichstein with the purpose of furnishing the castle of Libochovice.
In the castle of Ptuj the following paintings from the Libochovice series are kept:
Christ and the Adulteress, copy after Veronese
Christ and the Samaritan Woman, copy after Veronese
Christ and the Centurion, copy after Veronese
Hagara and Ishmael in the Wilderness, copy after Veronese
St Jerome, copy after Guido Reni
Divina Sapientia, copy after Andrea Sacchi
David playing Harp to Saul, copy after Giovanni Batista Spinelli
Mattia Pretti and (or?) his workshop: The Martyrdom of St Bartholomew
The Flagellation of Christ, copy after Tintoretto or Palma the Younger
Pietr, copy after Giovanni Andrea de Ferrari
The Agony in the Garden, copy after Domenico Fetti
Christ Expelling the Money Changers, copy after El Greco
The Annunciation, copy after Peter Paul Rubens (?)
The Penitent Mary Magdalene, copy after Orazio Gentilleschi
The Doubting of Thomas, copy after Mattia Preti
Christ appearing to the Virgin, the original is not yet known
St Cecilia, copy after Antiveduta della Gramatica
In the castle of Ptuj two more paintings from the castle of Libochovice are exhibited, The Plague in the Town of Azot (copy after Poussin) and The Martyrdom of St Andrew (copy after Domenichino). The same provenance is also presumed for the portrait of the emperor Rudolf II (copy after Josef Haintz Senior).
It has not yet been possible to establish on what grounds the original paintings were chosen to be copied. The series certainly represents an interesting example of how to furnish a castle with the intention of the owner to demonstrate in various ways their indispensable role in the monarchy. The paintings from Libochovice testify to the cosmopolitanism of the person who commissioned them; he was a regular guest at the royal court, and he tried, also by acquiring the above-mentioned paintings, to bring his castle close to the splendour of the royal residence and to prove his own importance in the highest social class. At the beginning of the 20th century Johann Josef Herberstein, from 1895 on the owner of the castles of Ptuj and Libochovice, brought seventeen paintings from the series to Ptuj. By splitting up the group he interfered with the meaning of this interesting collection.