Janez Gregor Dolničar

Elias Bäck1700

National Museum of Slovenia

National Museum of Slovenia
Ljubljana, Slovenia

Janez Gregor Dolničar (1655-1719), doctor of civil and ecclesiastical law, son of Janez Krstnik Dolničar and nephew of Janez Ludvik Schönleben, made an important contributor to the artistic and cultural development of Ljubljana at the turn of the eighteenth century, and also to its Baroque transformation. He was a co-founder of the first learned society in Ljubljana, Academia operosorum (Academy of the Industrious), whose members were the cream of the then intelligentsia in Carniola. They linked Ljubljana with other European cultural and artistic centres, mainly in Italy, and encouraged its cultural and scientific renaissance. Dolničar is shown in the portrait aged forty-five, as a member of the Society of St Dismus, the main purpose of which was to ensure a happy death. Contemplating the transitory nature of all life encouraged members, who came from nobility, the church and prominent middle class circles, to do good deeds and nurture virtue, since they believed that it is the ‘only way to achieve immortality and for posterity to know how someone traversed this world’. Dolničar became a member of the Society of St Dismus in 1689. On admission, he adopted the motto Condit in Aeuum (He creates for eternity), which is written on the inscriptive ribbon above the emblem in the upper right corner of the portrait, and the pseudonym Providus (Long-sighted), which is inscribed on the lower part of the ribbon. Between the ribbons is the motif of a crumbling pillar, around which swarm bees, some of which are feeding on the attractive flowers. (Bees were chosen as the symbol of the members of Academia operosorum, which was first officially presented to the public only a year after this print was made, because they intended to choose the subjects of their discussions and planning from the flowers of various writers).


  • Title: Janez Gregor Dolničar
  • Creator: Elias Bäck
  • Date: 1700
  • Date Created: 1700
  • Location Created: Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Physical Dimensions: 176 x 126 mm (impression), 208 x 154 mm (sheet)
  • Provenance: Unknown
  • Type: Copper engraving
  • Rights: Narodni muzej Slovenije
  • Medium: Paper sheet with cut edges

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