In autumn this year, the Belvedere will honour the Late Baroque sculptor Johann Georg Pinsel with an exhibition at Prince Eugene of Savoy’s Winterpalais. The artist continues to baffle scholars to this day: little is known about his life, origins, and training. His first and middle names were only identified several years ago, and his date and place of birth are buried in obscurity. He was active as a sculptor in the region of Lemberg (Lviv), which is now part of Ukraine and in the artist’s lifetime still belonged to Poland.
The sculptor’s oeuvre, on the other hand, is comparatively well known. Working alongside the architect Bernard Meretyn, he decorated primarily churches between Lviv and Buchach with his imposing sculptures in wood and stone. With his expressive works, which are known to have been created within the short period of a little more than a decade, he had a crucial impact on the region’s development in sculpture in the second half of the eighteenth century.
The powerful expressivity of his figures not only derives from their facial expressions and gestures, but also and above all from the opulence of their garments. Because of his dramatic language of form, the artist became a central figure in Lemberg’s Baroque sculpture, which between 1740 and 1790 reached an extremely high artistic level and an amazing homogeneity in terms of style.
Under Soviet rule, many of Pinsel’s works were destroyed or removed from sacred buildings. While some were abandoned and fell into ruins, others could be rescued and entered the collections of museums.
This exhibition, which will showcase some twenty exhibits by Pinsel and his studio, is the first to present this important sculptor in Austria. Juxtaposed with works from the Belvedere’s holdings by such Austrian painters of the Late Baroque as Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Paul Troger, they will unfold a Baroque spectacle of expressive painting and carving in the rooms of the Winterpalais.
Curated by Maike Hohn and Georg Lechner