Collecting Central Europe  
  The History of Collecting of Central and Eastern Europe  

Paris Bordone: A Pair of Lovers, ca. 1550-60. The National Gallery London, inv. NG637, detail:

Programme 2021


20 July 2021

Orsolya Bubryák (Institute of Art History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest)Hans Steininger (1552–1634) and his ‘studio famosissimo’ in Augsburg

Lecture of ca. 40 minutes followed by discussion

The lecture will be dedicated to the Kunstkammer of Hans Steininger (1552–1634), a wealthy textile merchant of Augsburg. Although less well-known today, the collection was one of the most prestigious collections of its times in Augsburg and mainly comprised paintings and antique statues. Hans Steininger built his collection in the 1610s and 1620s, but it was sold off by his son not long after Steininger’s death, in the 1640s. The high quality of the collection is proven by the fact that pieces from it were purchased by the greatest collectors of the day including Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I, Duke of Bavaria, Christina, Queen of Sweden, Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici Among the prospective buyers also was Cardinal Jules Mazarin.

The only item of Steininger’s Kunstkammer known so far was a painting cycle on a mythological theme by Paris Bordone which has long been traced back to the Fugger family and which was believed to be acquired by Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria. Some of these paintings have even been identified in the imperial collections of Vienna and Prague. The lecture will argue that Hans Steininger neither owned the paintings associated with him by researchers nor that he acquired them from the Fugger. Neither were the works of Paris Bordone sold by his heir in Vienna nor were they purchased by Archduke Leopold Wilhelm. Rather, the presentation will show how Steininger's painting cycle by Paris Bordone can be reconstructed, which of his works of art were acquired by the imperial family and which painting can actually be traced back to the Fugger family.

Orsolya Bubryák, PhD, is an art historian, senior research fellow at the Institute of Art History, Research Center for the Humanities (former Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Budapest, Hungary. She received her doctorate in art history from the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest in 2010. Between 2011 and 2013 she was chief curator of the Art Collection of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Since 2016 she has been editor-in-chief of the Ars Hungarica, scholarly journal published by the Institute of Art History. She is the author of two books: Family History and its Visual Representation. Collections of the Erdődy Castle in Galgóc (2013) [in Hungarian] and Collecting Clues. In Search of an Art Collector in Seventeenth-Century Vienna (2018) [in English].


19 October 2021

Franciszek Skibinski (Gdańsk National Museum)

The National Museum in Gdańsk: Collection, War Losses, Research

Guided tour National Museum in Gdańsk


Recorded guided tour of the museum followed by live q & a session

The National Museum in Gdańsk was established by the merger of two institutions: the City Museum (est. 1870) and the Museum of Applied Arts (est. 1881). The core collection of Jacob Kabrun (1759–1814) comprises several thousand paintings, drawings and prints by European masters from the end of the fifteenth to the beginning of the nineteenth centuries. In the first half of the twentieth century the museum further enriched its collection by acquiring works by modern German artists. Since a large part of the original collection was lost in 1945, the National Museum is now rebuilding and developing its collection, while actively researching its history before and after 1945.

The tour will focus on the museum’s history, war losses and acquisitions as well as current research by the curatorial team. It will be hosted by Franciszek Skibiński, PhD, Vice Director of the Museum and Magdalena Mielnik, PhD, head of the Pre-1945 Fine and Applied Arts Department.

Franciszek Skibiński holds a PhD from Utrecht University. He is assistant professor at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland, where he held a position of Vice-dean responsible for scholarly matters and international exchange. Currently, he is  Vice Director for scholarly matters at the National Museum in Gdańsk. In his research he explores the phenomenon of artistic exchange in Early Modern Europe, in particular in relation to sculpture and architecture.
Recently, he published a book Willem van den Blocke. A Sculptor from the Low Countries in the Baltic Region (Brepols, 2020). His other publications include "Early Modern Netherlandish Sculptors in Danzig and East-Central Europe. A study in dissemination through interrelation and workshop practice." Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 63 (2013), and "Between Paris, the Low Countries and the Baltic: an episode in the history of artistic exchange in sixteenth-century Europe." In Arts et artistes du Nord a la cour de Francois Ier, eds. Laure Fagnart and Isabelle Lecocq, Paris 2017.

 23 November 2021

University Collections Workshop: 

Urszula Bończuk-Dawidziuk (Wrocław), Fabienne Huguenin (Tübingen), Sofia Talas (Padua)

Three ten-minute presentations followed by discussion


 14 December 2021

Julia Rössel (KONDA, Foto Marburg)
Spaces of Collecting: From Physical Matter to Digital Object

Lecture of ca. 40 minutes followed by discussion

Prints were always made to circulate through time and space. When they would join a collection they were extracted from the art marked and, so it seems, they would stop their circulation for a while to stay there. They would be glued in albums or fixed within a mount. Within the collection the physical object is relatively fixed in space within the topological structure of a spacial and virtual classification system. What happens next?

By cataloguing objects in museum databases, by reproducing it via digital photography and by publishing text and image information of the object on the museums website or aggregating databases like Europeana the print is also circulating as a digital object.

The lecture asks which paths a print being part of a Museum’s collection took before and takes within the Museums space. I like to describe this journey as a sequence of transformations and translations that changes the object itself in certain ways.

As example, I will follow the path of a print from the prints and drawings collection of the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum in Brunswick.

Julia Rössel completed her studies in art history and book studies the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz by the with a master's thesis on almanacs from Paris publishers during the reign of Louis XIV. Since 2014, she has been working on her doctorate under Salvatore Pisani at Gutenberg-University Mainz on the topic "Change of Media Systems - Graphic Collections and their Digital Translation". In addition to various study visits to the Statens Museum in Copenhagen, the Kunstistorisches Institut in Florence and the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel, she worked as an art mediator at the Städelmuseum Frankfurt and the Museum Wiesbaden. She has been working as research assistant in the project Kupferstichkabinett Online of the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel. Currently she is project coordinator for an interdisciplinary project in the field of digital humanities at Philipps University Marburg.