KRACKER, Johann Lucas
(b. 1719, Wien, d. 1779, Eger)

The Dispute between St Catherine of Alexandria and the Philosophers

Oil on canvas, 76,5 x 40,5 cm
Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, Budapest

Johann Lucas Kracker was born to a Viennese family of sculptors. He studied at the Academy, and was a follower of the influential painter Paul Troger. In the 1740s he moved to Moravia, and through the Premonstrensian Order he regularly worked on Hungarian commissions. In 1764, after completing the frescoes and the altar paintings of the Abbey of Jászó, he offered his services to the Bishop of Eger, Károly Esterházy, and shortly after that he moved to the lovely Hungarian town. His most important work from this period is the fresco of the library, showing the Council of Trent, which he finished in 1778.

He painted a large number of altar paintings, the most important being the St. Catherine High Altar of the parish church of Egerbakta. He painted a colour study for this painting in 1775, which was later purchased by the Hungarian National Gallery. The composition of the picture, which is entitled The Dispute between St. Catherine of Alexandria and the Philosophers, closely follows that of Troger's work entitled Jesus at the Age of Twelve, with the glorious and radiating female figure at the centre. The use of warm colours, the vibrant brush-work, and the types of Eastern figures suggest a Venetian influence. The story of Catherine converting fifty philosophers and the Empress in the course of a religious dispute propagates the tenets of the Catholic Church.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.