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Syrmian Martyrs Celestin Medović

Artist

Celestin Medović Kuna na Pelješcu, 1857 – Sarajevo, 1920

Culture Croatian
Date 1895-1896
Object type painting
Medium, technique oil on canvas
Dimensions

300 x 215 cm

Inventory number 441.B
Collection Department of Art after 1800
On view This artwork is not on display

Celestin Medović was born in Dalmatia in 1851. He was a Franciscan monk and was sent to Rome for a few years by the monastery of the order in Ragusa. He then went to Munich and studied painting from Sándor Wagner, among others. From 1895 he lived in Zagreb, where he ran a private school.
His large-scale paintings depict important events in Croatian history. In the early period of his art he focused mostly on ascetic and scholarly monks, but later he also painted still lifes and landscapes.
The Syrmian martyrs in this scene were Pannonian stone carvers, whose tale of suffering is known as the Four Crowned Martyrs. According to the story, the sculptors refused to offer sacrifices on the altar of pagan gods, so they were locked in iron cages and thrown into the Sava river. The town on the banks of the Sava where the scene takes place was then called Sirmium (Sremska Mitrovica) and was the seat of the emperor.
The work is a typical example of Munich history painting and bears the influence of the Piloty school, with realistic detail and a faithful rendering of period costumes and setting. On the far right of the picture, the magistrate wearing a garland of flowers holds the fate of the martyrs in his hands. On the left we can see the judges, while the crowd is on the right, frenzied with emotion, demanding the heads of the sculptors. The boy on the steps is clearly hoping for their salvation. Elements of a classically styled city can be seen in the background.

Bianka Boda

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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