Current Exhibits

A selection of our current exhibits

  • ibex horn bowl

    The horn of the alpine ibex was processed from the second half of the 17th century on. The material was said to have healing properties. Local craftsmen not only created objects for daily use, such as the ibex bowl at the Mining and Gothic Museum, but, among other items, rings for people suffering from gout.

    However, the mass processing of horn led to the drastic decline of the eastern alpine ibex at the beginning of the 18th century. In the Zillertal valley for instance, the last mention of ibexes in a written document was in 1706.

    It was not until the mid-18th century that the number of ibexes in Salzburg’s mountains started to rise again. In documents from same time we find evidence of horn carvers, such as Lorentz Härmler - the “ibex horn carver of the meadows” - or the sculptors Leopold Ehegasser and Joseph Glarer, being based in Salzburg.

  • St. Anne from Upper Austria

    The second sculpture of St. Anne with the Virgin and Child was made by an unknown master craftsman and come from Upper Austria.

    The group of figures in lime wood dates back to 1500. The back is flat and unworked, which indicates that this version of St. Anne with the Virgin and Child originally stood in the centre niche of the predella or perhaps even in the shrine of a small altarpiece, in any case with its back against a wall.

    The points on Mary’s crown are missing, as are parts of the hem of the mantle on the base. The left thumb of the Infant Jesus has been repaired.

    The narrow, oval faces and wavy mantle hems of this group, in which Mary appears as a young woman, bear a strong similarity to an enthroned figure of the Mother of God in the parish church of Gaflenz bei Steyr in Upper Austria. They are probably from the same workshop. The gentle folds and rear binding of St. Anne’s veil suggest that this work is from a later date.

  • 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.

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