A recently restored masterpiece from the Belvedere’s medieval collection is in the focus of the spring exhibition held at the Royal Stables: the three carved figures of Saints Blaise, Rupert, and Maximilian by Andreas Lackner. They once formed a group adorning a shrine of the high altar, completed in 1518, in the parish church at Abtenau in Salzburg.
The three bishops strike us because of their realistic expressions and the superbly curved drapery of their gilded and elaborately decorated gowns. Relying on the early work of the great Bavarian master Hans Leinberger in terms of style, the bishops’ figures from Abtenau number among the most outstanding sculptural works of the so-called ‘Danube School’ in Austria.
Their appearance was considerably affected by heavy soiling, earlier problematic interventions, and flaking paint in layers applied at later periods. After the figures’ meticulous cleaning and the conservation of the original paint coat, the delicate details and precious gilding once again make a magnificent impression.
Hardly anything is known about Andreas Lackner “from Hallein”. The Abtenau Altar is his only documented work and was created in collaboration with the painter Ulrich Bocksberger from Mondsee.
The structural parts of this retable have been lost and all that has survived are the three shrine figures in the Belvedere’s collection, the two guardians at St. Blaise in Abtenau, four reliefs at St. Peter’s in Salzburg and a fragmented relief in Salzburg Museum. By combining these dispersed parts, some idea of the altarpiece’s scale is conveyed and its pictorial programme partially reconstructed.
This study exhibition and its accompanying scholarly publication examine the altar in its historical and art-historical context and provide a detailed documentation of the recent restoration work.
In collaboration with the Austrian Federal Agency Historic Preservation.