Basic information
Original title:
Umetnost v času zatona plemstva: transformacije, translokacije in reinterpretacije
Researchers involved:
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1 July 2019–30 June 2022

This project focuses on the role of the nobility in art after the mid-18th century and the reception of aristocratic art heritage in the territory of Slovenia. Its main objective is to explore how social and political circumstances that contributed to and accompanied the nobility's decline influenced their art commissions and changes in art. The further objective is to identify the main patrons and artists and their artistic endeavors. Finally, we wish to explore the varying reception of aristocratic heritage and the circumstances affecting its uses. The project fundamentally progresses beyond the state of the art; it complements and methodological upgrades the hitherto studies into art and aristocratic patronage in Slovenia and beyond.

The starting point is the conviction that a comprehensive understanding of the social circumstances and the actual state of artistic heritage in the period leading to the dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy and thereafter is fundamental for the efficient and objective contextualization of its state during WW2 and the post-war times. The turning points in history providing a contextual basis to the project are the Enlightenment and its administrative reforms, the French Revolution, Napoleon's rule, the 1848 revolution, the Dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy in 1918, the nobility's reception in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and in the post-war socialist Yugoslavia.

The project comprises two segments: transformation and adaptation of aristocratic architecture and furnishings, their artists and artworks in the second half of the 18th and 19th centuries, and reinterpretations and translocations of aristocratic heritage in the long 19th century and the years after the dissolution of the Monarchy. For the first time in Slovenia, the renovation and rebuilding of aristocratic residences will be analyzed. The role of the nobility in the use of new building types and architectural styles, the prominent artists as well as the transformation of interior design and furnishings will be researched. Comparative analyses of collecting habits and case studies of individual aristocratic collections will shed light on collecting in this period. Furthermore, the history of aristocratic heritage will be studied by analyzing translocations and confiscations of artworks and their role in the new environment, as well as new uses of castles and manors.

While the project methodologically partly relates to current international research into patronage, representation, reception of heritage and its history, its content is innovative. It is conceived as a unique combination of currently topical fields, such as research into patronage and collecting, architectural history and provenance research, and tackles a number of research problems for the first time in the wider region beyond Slovenia. The combined approach will thus be based on existing sources and surviving material typical of the region, thereby emphasizing the importance of archival research.

The project team comprises researchers at various career stages from three partner institutions (ZRC SAZU, Faculty of Arts of the University of Maribor, and Faculty of Civil Engineering, Transport Engineering and Architecture, University of Maribor), all with the project-related international references. The project results will be presented at conferences, published as scientific articles, and as a book co-authored by the team. They will be disseminated by lectures, guided tours, an exhibition and doors-open day. A database of uses of castles will be created to connect the results in terms of digital humanities and as a platform for further research.

PROJECT LEAFLET: art_and_the_nobility_in_times_of_decline.pdf


Project steps

Project steps


  • Kick-off meeting of the project team (carried out)
  • Launching project's webpage and leaflet (carried out)
  • Conceptualizing structure and parameters of database on uses of castles (in progress since July 2019)
  • Library work and research, museum documentation research (in progress since July 2019)
  • Field work and mapping monuments, collections and artworks, joint field visits of selected locations (in progress since July 2019)
  • Archival work in Slovenia and abroad, analyses of archival sources (in progress since July 2019)
  • First presentations of research findings, attending conferences, launching a series of lectures and guided tours of team members and invited speakers (in progress)
  • Spring 2020: First project team workshop


  • Archival work in Slovenia and abroad, analyses of archival sources
  • Collecting data and material and uploading data to the digital database
  • Field work and mapping monuments, collections and artworks
  • Library work and research, museum documentation research
  • Implementation of project-related contents in the university study programs of art history and architecture (selective seminar course, field work and field visits with students)
  • Presentations of research findings at conferences, the second round of the series of lectures and guided tours by the team and invited speakers
  • Writing and publishing project results in form of studies
  • Second interim project team workshop with invited guests


  • Synthesis of research results
  • Exhibition on the transformations of furnishings of castles and manors (1848–1945)
  • Upgrading and loading data and sources to the digital database on uses of castles
  • Attending conferences and workshops, lectures
  • Writing and editing papers for the final project team monograph; writing and publishing articles in scholarly journals
  • International conference
  • Final project team’s monograph
  • The final doors-open day with dissemination of project results

Renata KOMIĆ MARN, Zbirateljstvo in umetnostni trg v Ljubljani med obema vojnama na primeru razprodaje Strahlove zbirke, Kronika. Časopis za slovensko krajevno zgodovino, 68/1, 2020, str. 69–88.  [COBISS.SI-ID 46041133].

KOŠAK, Tina. Janez Ernest II. grof Herberstein in naročila oltarne opreme za župnijsko cerkev v Lenartu, Umetnostna kronika, 64, 2019, str. 31–32. ISSN 1581-7512. [COBISS.SI-ID 45235245]

KOMIĆ MARN, Renata, KOŠAK, Tina. Razprodaje plemiških zbirk med obema vojnama in slovenski umetnostni zgodovinarji. V: KLEMENČIČ, Matej (ur.), TURK, Sara (ur.). Umetnostna zgodovina v Srednji Evropi leta 1918 – prelom ali kontinuiteta?  Zbornik povzetkov posveta ob stoletnici umetnostne zgodovine na ljubljanski univerzi, Ljubljana, 23.–24. januar 2020,  Ljubljana 2019, str. 14. [COBISS.SI-ID 45872941].

SAPAČ, Igor, Grad Orehek in njegov pomen. Lecture at Kulturni dom Orehek in Prestranek, 24th October 2019. [COBISS.SI-ID 22989078].

KAČ, Maja (oseba, ki intervjuva), KOMIĆ MARN, Renata (intervjuvanec), KOŠAK, Tina (intervjuvanec). Kako se je odrinjeno plemstvo reševalo z razprodajami umetnin. O razprodajah plemiških zbirk z dr. Renato Komić Marn in doc. dr. Tino Košak. MMC RTV SLO: prvi multimedijski portal, ISSN 1581-372X, 3. febr. 2020 ob 09:19, ilustr. [COBISS.SI-ID 45979693]

MEKE, Katra, KOMIĆ MARN, Renata, KOŠAK, Tina. Slike iz razprodanih plemiških zbirk v Narodni galeriji: guided tour at the conference "Umetnostna zgodovina v Srednji Evropi leta 1918 – prelom ali kontinuiteta?, Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts and National Gallery, 23th–24th January 2020. [COBISS.SI-ID 45873453]

Lead partner

Funded by

The fundamental research project Art and the Nobility in Times of Decline: Transformations