Schenck, Christoph Daniel, attr.

Saint Sebastian
Constanze, 1680, fruitwood relief with polychromy, 15.5 x 11.3 cm
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Virgil and the Aeneis

Entangled epic

Danger coming from the sea

In this artwork, we are referring to Laocoön: In his myth, the Aeneid (1st century BC), Virgil reports how Laocoön, a priest of Apollo, warned the Trojans about pulling the Greek’s wooden horse into their beleaguered city. He was the only one to suspect that the supposed Christmas present from the Greeks could conceal Greek warriors. Hera and Athena, who had sided with the Greeks, sent two serpents from the sea to strangle Laocoön and his two sons. The Trojans took this to be a punishment from the gods for the sacrilege of their present and dragged the wooden horse into the city, thus sealing their own fate.

Counter-reformation

Catholics and Protestants

Ignatius of Loyola

The response of the Catholic Church to the end of the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther is referred to as the Counter-Reformation. After the Council of Trent in 1545, Rome attempted to repress Protestantism by force with the support of the Catholic Habsburg emperors. The Jesuit order, founded in 1534 by Ignatius of Loyola, was at the vanguard of the Counter-Reformation. The threat of Protestantism, however, did have its positive side: the Catholic Church examined its greatest shortcomings, reformed the training of priests and regulated the benefices and indulgences that had been grossly misappropriated.

Konstanz 1633

Prince Willibald

A lucky marriage

In 1633, the year Christoph Daniel Schenck was born, Swedish troops still held on to the city of Konstanz, then in its second year, under the leadership of Field Marshal Gustav Horn. Thanks, however, to the strong defence under the command of Maximilian Willibald prince of Waldburg-Wolfegg, the enemy forces ultimately suffered considerable losses and retreated in October that year. Maximilian Willibald was an educated aesthete with wide-ranging interests. He survived the Thirty Years’ War and entered his second marriage in 1648, this time to the Flemish Duchess Clara Isabella from the House of Arenberg, who had a strong love of art.