Časopis ARS 34 (2001) 1


Michal Räsner verzus Dionýz Staneti
[Michael Räsner versus Dionysius Staneti]


The representative exhibition of the Baroque Art in Slovakia in the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava presented some of names of famous painters and sculptors who have a dominant place in the Slovak Baroque Art. In the area of Mining Towns in the Middle Slovakia it was the name of the sculptor Dionysius Staneti (1710 - 1767) who was living there and to his life and the art was devoted a lot of articles and studies.

On the base of the new study in the archive documents I try to inform about another sculptor of Mining Towns in the Middle Slovakia who was working in Kremnica before and who was making the same project like Dionysius Staneti - the main altar of the former Parish Church in Kremnica - Tyrolean sculptor Michael Rasner.

Previously published literature laid greater emphasis on the Late Baroque reconstruction of the former Parish Church in Kremnica in the middle of the 18th Century. Art historians gave only a marginal attention to the reconstruction thirty years earlier and Rasner´s work connected with this first Baroque renovation in the years 1729 - 1738 under the conduction of the site manager Martin Groszmann. Michael Rasner was invited by the town major Caspar Melichar Balthasar Magyar in the 1732 to Kremnica to make new statues for two new building towers of the Parish Church. Finally these two statues - St. Peter and St. Paul - made another sculptor in Kremnica Christian Anton Bukoway.

27th of October 1735 Michael Rasner had got from the magistracy in Kremnica the bigger work - the main altar of the Parish Church and he organised a work of many craftsmen. This altar is described in a detail in the Canonical Visit from 1754, the record of which especially mentions gilded, larger-than-life-size statues of the four Church Fathers standing between the columns, statues of the most Holy Virgins between two angels, a sculpture of Holy Trinity placed under the dome and a pair of gilded larger- than-life-size angels at the sides of the main altar. It's truth that this is the main altar which made a sculptor Michael Rasner in the years 1735 - 1737 because there is no notes or knowledge about another sculptor between 1737 - 1754 in archive materials.

Michael Rasner is relative an unknown sculptor under Slovak conditions. Till the present there was an unknown connection between Slovak sculptor Michael Rosner who was working in Banska Bystrica in 1743 for Jesuit Church and Tyrolean sculptor Michael Rasner who was working in the first third part of the 18th Century in Tyrol. On the base of the research in Slovak archive materials it's the same person in both cases. Michael Rasner came to Slovakia in 1729 from Tyrol for an invitation of the Baron Joseph Andrew Wenzl von Sternbach who was the current head of the Supreme Chamber Office in Banska Stiavnica. Than in 1739 Michael Rasner definitely moved from Banska Stiavnica to Kremnica and he bought a new house there. He was living in Kremnica till 1746 when he died in the age 77 years.

It's important to tell something about the Michael Rasner's life and art before his arrival to Slovakia. He belonged to the artist family which is known in Tyrol like Rasner, Räsner, Rasler, Rässer or Rastner. His father Franz Rasner the older was also the sculptor. Michael Rasner was born probably in 1669 and he was married in 1694 with Maria Tallerin in Brixen. Between 1696 and 1706 they had five children. There are not many massages about his studies and his jobber's journey. Probably he worked in the famous Tyrolean workshop of Brothers Benedetti or in the workshop of the Dutch sculptor Joseph Anton Lippari who came to Tyrol in 1697.

Rasner's first work was the curving of 46 roses in Maria Heim in Gries-Bozen in 1693. After five years his name appeared in archive materials in the Augustinian Monastery Neustift in the connection with the renovation the Parish Church in Elvas where he made two side altars and six life-size statues which are now in the Diozesanmuseum in Brixen. Between 1705 and 1710 he made a big main altar in the Parish Church in Bruneck but all interior decoration was later destroyed by fire. For the Chapel in the Bishop Palace in Brixen he curved in 1711 columns of the balustrade and 16 lions like a decoration of the pews. In 1712 he made the main altar and two side altars for the Parish Church in Niederolang. Now is possible still to see there his work except two statues of the main altar which are from 1839. In 1712 he made also the main altar in the Parish Church in Enneberg with two statues - St. Peter and St. Paul on the both side of the altar. For the Damenstift in Hall and also the Sternbach's Castle in Bruneck he curved columns of Maria Immaculata from the stone in 1716. In 1712 he signed the contract for one of the side altars in Niederdorf and also in Meransen but today it's not possible to say if these altars sometime existed. In 1721 he participated in the making new main altar in the Parish Church in Klausen together with his son Franz Anton Rasner. Between 1697 and 1723 his name appeared in the archive materials with some small works for the Parish Church in Vahrn and 1723 is the last year when is possible to find Michael Rasner in Tyrol. In the private courtesy of the family Grodner are nine designs of small and also bigger altars which are surely works of Michael Rasner but also it's not possible to say if some of them anytime existed.

Now is very hard to say why the sculptor with so many realisations in Tyrol came to Slovakia in so high age (60 years old) and also how was his relation to another sculptor in Kremnica Dionysius Staneti. Dionysius Staneti was married in Kremnica 1745 but he came there more soon probably from 1741 when he started to work in the Piarist Church in Prievidza. The more interesting question is if it's possible that Dionysius Staneti took Rasner's workshop in Kremnica and some of his unfinished works or statues. On the base of the citation of canonical visit from 1754 it's very clear that Dionysius Staneti couldn't be an author of very famous statues of St. Hieronymus, St. Augustinus, St. Ambrosius and St. George the Great which were staying on the main altar in the Parish Church in Kremnica in 1754 because the work of Dionysius Staneti is known on this project only from 1760. Actually they have to be a work of Michael Rasner and his workshop in Kremnica between 1735 - 1737.

But the definitely answer on this question could give only the further science research in Tyrolean and also in Slovak Baroque Art of the 18th Century. It's necessary also to make a very deep formal analysis of the work of both sculptors. Normally a new archive research could helps art historians to make a lot of problems more clear and easy. In this case paradoxically new archive materials show that nothing is so easy like it seems to be in the Slovak Art History and that is possible still to put new questions and to look for new answers in the many fields of our interest.