Beauty as an external characteristic, but also as a bearer of theological meanings, stood at the inception of the concept of “The Beautiful Style”. The term captures the specific appearance of artworks dating from c. 1400. The visual renderings of two Marian themes – the Madonna and the Pietà – are especially compelling. Whereas in Prague and Bohemia, sculptors and clients preferred the extraordinarily fine limestone that was extracted in the environs of Prague, in Salzburg – due to the lack of suitable natural stone – an artificial substitute was made of local ground limestone. Sculptures of Beautiful Madonnas, Pietàs and saints were then produced in great numbers from this artificial cast stone in Salzburg. Their creators often drew on the Prague types and models, and fashioned what is today a widely dispersed group of high-quality works.
The exhibition displays sometwenty major artworks in the Beautiful style of Salzburg type some of which were discovered only in the recent years. Some are presented for the first time, others are shown side by side with the works most closely related with them. Their charm and beauty, but also iconographic differences, seeming naturalness and stylization of these sculptures offer a rare aesthetic experience.
The project is a product of cooperation of the Mining and Gothic Museum (Bergbau und Gotikmuseum) in Leogang, the National Gallery Prague, the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, the Chancellery of Austria in Vienna and other museums, religious institutions and private collectors.