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  • Author or Editor: Mirjana Repanić-Braun x
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Abstract

There are registrations of baptism in Eszék (Osijek, Croatia) in 1735 and 1740 including the name of Paulus Antonius Senser. He first appeared in Pécs in 1742 where he cleaned the Saint Emeric altar picture of the cathedral. After the death of his first wife and the christening of his children born to his second wife (1744, 1745), his name was included in the city's tax register and in 1747 he was admitted among the town-dwellers with citizen's rights together with two fellow painters (Ioannes Erdely and Franciscus Antonius Witz). Instead of paying the 30 florins required, he painted a Iustitia picture for the municipal council – which may be identical with the Solomon's judgment picture in the Janus Pannonius Museum. He painted the still extant Miracle of the loaves for the refectory of the seminary in 1746 or 1747. In 1756 he created the Supper at Emmaus for the Franciscans in Vukovár (Vukovar, Serbia) for a fee of 90 florins. This picture has disappeared together with two altar pictures in recent years. The only signed work of his, Feast at Portiuncula, a gift by the vicar of ðakovo in 1753, survives in Visoko in Bosnia-Hercegovina. A collation of some long-known and mostly recently explored archival data with the extant works of Master Paulus permits the assumption that the Eszék and Pécs masters were one and the same painter who died in Pécs in his 41st year on 8 January 1758. His pictures contain distinctly idiosyncratic features on the basis of which further paintings commissioned mainly by Franciscans and Capuchins in Máriagyűd, Pécs, Slavonski Brod, Siklós and Eszék can be attributed to him. In rendering pictures of saints he adopted some clear-cut stereotypes: rose-cheeked Madonnas with a charming smile (e.g. Maria Victoria around 1753, Kraljeva Suteska), characteristic male saints with suffering faces and drooping mouths (Sts Francis, Antony, Didak, Bonventura, Sebastian, Rock – Eszék, Slavonski Brod, ðakovo). In the background of an altar picture of a saint, the virtuosic rendering of a tiny scene of the respective legend in an architectural setting can usually be seen. The fourteen helping saints (Máriagyűd, Siklós), the Miracle of the loaves and the Stoning of St Stephen (Pécs), the Supper at Emmaus (Vukovár) are crammed with excited, often caricaturistic figures with vigorous gestures. These characteristics and the historical data appear to substantiate the attribution of two paintings on the theme of Solomon's judgment (Eszék, Municipal Gallery and Janus Pannonius Museum, Pécs), both probably ordered by the municipalities. Senser worked with assistants, conducting a workshop: the hand of his pupils can be discerned in several baroque altar pictures of former Southern Hungary. On account of its influence, his extensive and far from complete oeuvre has a salient place in both Hungarian and Croatian art history.

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Abstract

Croatia is a country which had throughout the centuries experienced turbulent political life. It is situated at the crossroads of different cultural and artistic influences and, moreover, the point at which the Mediterranean meets Central Europe and closest to the places were East penetrates furthest into the West. As far as the stylistic influences and the reception of style are concerned, the 18th century art in Northern Croatia in most of its aspects corresponds to the features of Central European late Baroque art. This is mostly due to the fact that at that time Croatia was a part of the Habsburg Monarchy, which by its widely extended borders provided a vast frame for the various artists who traveled around, or carried out various commissions of artworks throughout that extensive empire.

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