Andreas Vogelhundt (after 1703, active in Brno – 1771 Brno)
Monstrance of the Golden Sun of Moravia
Brno, 1748–1750, enamel plate with the emblem of the chapter: Ferdinand Kunath (?), Vienna, around 1650; modifications: Břetislav Rubringer, Olomouc, 1931
gold, beaten, enchased, engraved, enamel, silver, emeralds, diamond-cut glass; height 71.8 cm, diameter of the foot 20.5×28 cm, width of the crown 36 cm, weight 3,596.7 g; etui: linden wood, red tinted calf leather, black silk velvet
Roman Catholic parish of St. Wenceslas Cathedral in Olomouc
loaned for permanent exhibition in the Olomouc Archdiocesan Museum
This gold monstrance, richly decorated with diamonds and emeralds, is one of the most valuable items in the treasury of St. Wenceslas Cathedral in Olomouc. The jewels and another gold monstrance that were used for this monstrance were bequeathed by Olomouc Bishop and Cardinal Wolfgang Hannibal von Schrattenbach (Bishop between 1711 and 1738), although it was commissioned ten years after his death by the cathedral chapter represented by Dean Kašpar Florentin of Glandorf (Dean between 1748 and 1751). From the receipts that have been preserved, it is obvious that other prelates added their own bequests to that of the Cardinal, among them were Jiří Jindřich Mayer of Mayerswald (Dean between 1741 and 1747) and Schrattenbachs successor to the Olomouc Episcopal throne, Jakob Ernst von Lichtenstein-Castelcorno (Bishop between 1738 and 1745). The model for the monstrance was created by Olomouc sculptor Jan Antonín Richter. Surprisingly, the goldsmiths work was was carried out by Andreas Volgehundt, a master from Brno.
The monstrance is a typical Late Baroque sun-shaped ostensory. Its embellishments are a combination of scrolls and acanthi, scallops and rocailles studded with diamonds and emeralds. The biggest and most valuable stones are placed around the case for the Blessed Sacrament in the centre of a gloriole of beams. The monstrance is topped by a cross. There are no stones on the reverse side; the centre of the wrought foot was prepared for the insertion of an older gold plate in the shape of a tear, with the enamelled crest of the chapter. Another enamel with the crest of Cardinal Schrattenbach is placed on the back side of the nodus. The crest covers a precisely damascened scallop ornament, which means that it is likely to have been added later. The composition of the crown below the case includes the symbols of the Eucharist – golden sheaves of corn and vines with an enamel, covered with leaves.
While the goldsmith work is excellent, the impression of the monstrance is mainly based on the optical effect provided by the extraordinary precious stones – diamonds and emeralds. The enamel plate with the crest of the chapter is also unique goldsmith work. It was originally placed on an unknown object. The scene depicts St. Wenceslas in a suit of armour bearing the rulers insignia and he is sitting on a Gothic throne with three shields at his feet (the crests of Emperor Ferdinand II and Austria). It is the emblem of the chapter to which Emperor Ferdinand II awarded the honourable title “loyal” at the behest of Olomouc Bishop, Cardinal Franz von Dietrichstein (in office between 1599 and 1636), on 18 August 1623. Judging by the winemakers knives added to the throne of St. Wenceslas, which are part of the Dietrichstein family crest, it can be concluded that the enamel was originally part of an unknown item commissioned by the Cardinal. The plate is created by a combination of several enamel techniques. The foundation is decorated with engraving and stamping (in French émail translucide sur basse taille). Dana Stehlíková attributes authorship to the Viennese Court goldsmith and enamel artist Ferdinand Kunath (Cat. Caltanissetta/Syracusa 2004, p. 132, cat. no. 95), however, only a few of his works have been preserved.