Current Exhibits

A selection of our current exhibits

  • Cast copper cake

    It is thanks to a fortunate coincidence that the Mining and Gothic Museum is in possession of a cast bronze cake. This is the name for a by-product of primeval copper processing. The valuable raw material was primarily intended for further processing at the coppersmiths but was also used as payment during the Bronze Age.

    In 2018 a German family salvaged this example after a mountain tour in late summer from a waterhole of the Schwarzleo stream in the vicinity of the Bronze Age mine discovered in 2004.

    Mining activity during the Bronze Age took the form of an open-cast mine; this was proven by excavations by Robert Krauss and Martin Seiwald.

    The family found fragments of large storage vessels made of clay mixed with slag, fine ceramics in the form of a small bowl and almost completely preserved spruce wood shingles, which probably once formed the roof of a living or workspace. Secondary minerals in the form of malachite and azurite can be found throughout the entire early mining site.

    The discovery of the cast copper cake means that the smelting of ores in the mining district of Schwarzleo, while not yet proven, can now at least be assumed.

    The cast copper cake, found in the summer of 2018 in the Schwarzleo stream, weighs 651 g, is oval-shaped and, with a thickness of 1 cm, relatively flat compared to other finds.

    The material is solid and free of slag and charcoal. However, whether it is pure copper or copper alloy in the form of bronze will only be revealed through ongoing investigations.

    Pure copper would secure Leogang as the place of origin, whereas bronze would have been delivered as for the production of mining tools.

    The cast copper cake has signs that it has been at the bottom of the stream for a long time. Sanding sediments have round the edges and in some areas removed the rich green malachite patina down to the metal.

    Thanks to the finders’ great understanding the cast copper cake was donated to the Mining and Gothic Museum and represents an important find for research into Leogang mining.

  • Cobalt and cobalt blue glass

    From the beginning of the 16th century until the end of the 18th century, Leogang was famous throughout Europe for its abundance of cobalt and nickel ores.

    From the mid-16th century, cobalt ores were of particular importance. In blue colouring works’, safflorite was first produced by heating cobalt ore. This served as the raw material for the production of smalt, a powdery blue glass pigment. Since both safflorite and smalt are fireproof, they were used for colouring glass, porcelain, ceramics and oil paints.

    Coloured Venetian glass was seen as a special luxury in the German-speaking countries of Europe from the mid-15th century. German merchants such as the Welser and Fugger families had already founded the Fondaco dei Tedeschi (‘the Germans’ warehouse’) in Venice in 1225. Situated on the Canale Grande right next to the famous Rialto Bridge, the building became the trading centre for luxury export goods from Venice to the German-speaking countries.

    As the use of safflorite and smalt for colouring glass increased, cobalt from Salzburg became an indispensable raw material for the production of luxury Venetian glass from the mid-16th century.

    Its extraction and use in glassware is mentioned in Georg Agricola’s De re metallica Libri XII from 1556, a masterpiece of mining literature which can also be admired at the Leogang Mining and Gothic Museum.

    There was an unprecedented increase in the use of blue in painting too. From as early as the 12th century, what was at first a dark and lacklustre colour was redefined as the symbol of Heaven and the virginity of the Blessed Mother. Glassmakers and illuminators strove to reconcile this new kind of blue with church architects’ altered perception of light adopted from theologians. The radiance of cobalt blue oil paint opened up a completely new set of possibilities in the visual arts.

    Today, smalt, or cobalt blue glass powder, is mostly used for restoring old masterpieces.

  • Painting of Grundbach

    Very close to where mining administrator, tourism pioneer and painter Michael Hofer worked lies the Grundbach estate.

    This oil-on-cardboard painting by Hofer shows a classic Pinzgau farm with a brickwork lower and timbered upper storey. The larch shingles used for roofing at that time are easy to make out, as are the stones placed on the finished roof to secure it.

    Once again, Michael Hofer proves he has a good eye for the beauties of nature and developing architecture of the Pinzgau farms.

    The picture is the property of the Leogang Mining and Gothic Museum and signed ‘M. Hofer’ on the bottom left.

Weitere Exponate

Our Museum Audio Guide

Interested in our exhibits?

Our free media guide provides fascinating information.

Have a look:  Audio-Guide