Exhibition Ars Moriendi
The exhibition Ars Moriendi takes us to the middle of the 17th century, to a skilful artist who worked in the Loreto Crypt at Hradčany in Prague. The artist’s hands created unique wall paintings reminding us of the inescapable transience of human existence, but also of the hope of eternal life.
Art of Good Death
People of that era were not as much afraid of death itself as they were about the possibility of not being prepared for it. Metaphorical scenes such as the frescoes in the Loreto crypt existed to help them and there were also practical guides about “the art of good death” (Latin: Ars Moriendi)
Death was considered to be good when a person prepared him or herself for it with good life, reconciliation with God and people, or even with the settlement of his estate.
The discovery of fresco paintings
Baroque wall paintings were discovered in the crypt beneath the Church of the Nativity in 2011. They show motifs of death and resurrection, the allegory of time, symbols of fragility and transience of human life.
Their author, perhaps Capuchin Order painter, created them in 1664 with the al fresco technique (on moist plaster) in “chiaroscuro” – essentially a drawing method employing exclusively shades of black and grey. His work was derived from Flemish and Dutch prints and was commissioned by the then patroness of Loreto, Countess Elisabeth Apollonia of Kolowrat.
From the history of the Capuchin Burial
The exhibition Ars Moriendi – Loreto crypt. From the history of burials in Capuchin convents took place in 2012 in Prague Loreto at Hradčany. It was prepared by art historians Markéta Baštová and Petr Bašta in cooperation with many other experts.
Now you can see the part of the exhibition presenting the recently discovered frescoes here in Brno. The whole story of the Loreto crypt, including insights into the burial practices in Capuchin convents, can be found in the exhibition catalogue, which you can purchase at the ticket office.