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The Graphic Cabinets

In the 18th century, it was very fashionable to furnish rooms in castles, the walls of which were covered with regularly arranged pictures. These rooms were called graphic cabinets. Check out our Bratislava one!

The graphic cabinets — conveniently named “secular” and “biblical” according to the prevailing theme of the graphic sheets — have been preserved as interior wall decoration in two rooms of the representative floor of the Mirbach Palace, likely commissioned by one of the original owners of the building. They contain 290 engravings, etchings, and mezzotints from the second half of the 17th and 18th centuries, secondarily colored by unknown authors.

The secular cabinet houses 84 graphic sheets of French, Italian, and English origin, displayed in individual panels in a four-tiered decorative installation. The collection comprises pastoral, allegorical, historical, mythological, genre, and two biblical themes.

The most extensive group of works is based on paintings by the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens. Other interesting graphics include engraved interpretations of works by François Boucher, Charles Joseph Dominiqua Eisen, Jean-Baptiste Le Prince, Pierre Mignard, Louis de Boullogne, Pietro da Cortona, Angelika Kauffman, and others.

In the biblical cabinet, there are 206 graphic sheets of various sizes, exclusively featuring sacred motifs. Impressive works of Italian origin are placed in larger formats in the middle of three walls, while smaller graphics of Dutch, German, French, and Italian origin can be found on the edges and on the east wall. The most extensive series of graphics comes from the Dutch artists Caspar and Jan Luyken, as well as Francesco Antonio Meloni.

Graphic sheets based on models by Jacopo Amigoni, Giuseppe Zocchi, Giovanni Battista Pittoni, Pietro Longhi, Francesco Guardi, and others are also worth mentioning. Several works, for example, based on models by Franz Sigrist d. Ä., Gottfried Bernhard Göz, and the etchers Jakob Gottlieb Thelott, and probably Georg Philipp II Rugendas, were published by the German publishing house of Johann Georg Hertel.

More information can be found here