Johann Evangelist Holzer - The Virgin with Saints Dominic and Rose of Lima with Putti Spreading a Ribbon through the Stations of the Cross
Johann Evangelist Holzer
The Virgin with Saints Dominic and Rose of Lima with Putti Spreading a Ribbon through the Stations of the Cross
Black chalk. 52 x 25.2 cm.
In an 18th century Neoclassical frame.
The short-lived Johann Evangelist Holzer is regarded as one of the most important 18th-century artists active in Southern Germany and Austria. Born in South Tyrol, the son of a miller, Holzer was educated at Marienberg Abbey but soon developed his considerable pictorial skills. At age eighteen he painted an altarpiece for Marienberg. He continued his studies in Straubing under Joseph Anton Merz (1681-1750) and in Augsburg under Johann Georg Bergmüller (1688-1762). During this period Holzer specialized in painting large-scale frescos and altarpieces in the increasingly popular Rococo style, particularly flamboyant in Southern Germany. Just before his premature death Holzer had been commissioned by the Archbishop-Elector Clemens August of Bavaria to paint frescos for the Hofkirche in Clemenswerth.
The present drawing seems to be a design for one of these altarpieces, in which Holzer specialized, although a work in oils of this particular design is not currently known. The subject depicted here is a rare one in the history of art. Indeed, it only seems to have been depicted by Holzer, both in this drawing and in an oil painting currently in the Zisterzienserstift Stams, Austria, dating to 1734. It is possible that both the drawing and the painting were preparatory studies for a larger work, which seems not to have been executed. The careful drawing style seen in this sheet is typical for Holzer.