Despite its indisputable quality and scope (almost 20,000 prints), the graphics collection of the Olomouc Archbishopric, unlike the collection of paintings and drawings, is not well known to the public. Originally, it was part of the Kroměříž Chateau library. Karl Liechtenstein-Kastelkorn (1664–1695) purchased and amassed a vast collection of books. However, in todays graphics collection, we can only relate his name with any certainty to three incomplete copies of Vischer and Nypoorts representative albums containing views of the Floral Garden from 1691. The collection was further enhanced by Bishop Jakob Ernst von Lichtenstein-Kastelkorn (1739–1745), as evidenced by albums with his personal ex libris, and by Archbishop Rudolf Johannes von Habsburk (1819–1831). The Archbishop added his whole personal library, numbering over 6,000 volumes, to the collection, including unspecified drawings and graphics. Around the middle of the 19th century, the majority of albums and files in the graphics collection were re-bound in a unified form. In 1915, Archbishop Franziskus von Sales Bauer (1904–1915) entrusted Antonín Breitenbacher (1874–1937) with the custody of the archiepiscopal library. From the beginning Breitenbacher understood that it was necessary to inventory the graphics collection and process it in a scientific way, which he achieved in the 1930s. He made an inventory, which unfortunately was not preserved, and he also prepared a catalogue of authors and an iconographic summary.
The graphics collection offers a wide and varied range of works of art, from the point of view of provenance, authors and techniques, and from the origin and temporal classification of individual pieces. From an iconographic point of view, religious themes, mythological and allegorical topics prevail. There are also landscapes and vedutas, topographic works and replicas of architectural designs. A large part of the collection consists of portraits of significant figures, mainly from the 19th century, and of graphics with military themes.
Kroměříž collections of art, in particular the graphics and book collections, played a prestigious and representative role in the spirit of the period in relation to the conventions of arts sponsorship. In their composition and orientation we can detect the personal tastes of Olomouc bishops and archbishops, and in a broader context we can also see the fashion tendencies and trends of the time. The collections can also serve as study materials and sources of inspiration for numerous employees of the building office and the administration of the archbishops farms and forests.
Jana Macháčková MA
Curator of Drawings by Old Masters | Curator of Graphics 16th to 18th century | Chief Curator of the exhibition KAM
tel.: +420 573 331 765 M: +420 778 485 287
MgA. Jiří Miláček
administrator of the depository of AMK
tel.: 573 334 327
L´arco gotico (A Gothic Arch), Sheet XIV from Carceri (Gaols) cycle; 2nd edition, (1749– 1761)
Giuseppe Galli Bibiena (1696 Parma – 1757 Berlin)
Pilate Surrendering Christ, (1740)