Wooden Gilded Tabernacle, Early 20th Century, Stuflesser Workshop

MIHANOVIC posterAuthor: Dora Mihanović
Mentors: Zvjezdana Jembrih, Associate Professor, MA; Ana Božičević, Assistant Lecturer, mag.

Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb (Croatia)
Study programme: Integrated undergraduate and graduate study of Conservation and Restoration
Specialization: Sculpture (4th year of study)


In the Roman Catholic Church, a tabernacle is a cabinet in which the Holy Eucharist is stored. The Gröden Valley, with their wood carving workshops in St. Ulrich and St. Christina has given perhaps the greatest contribution to the development of artistic craftsmanship and sculpting in the Tyrol area. The doors of Tabernacle crafted by Stuflesser usually display motives of the Passion of the Christ and grape vines (as perscribed by the Council of Trent), while the top arches of the niches are painted with plane depictions of a starry sky. This tabernacle originates from the sanctuary of the Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, located in the former "Betanija" sanatorium run by the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross in Veli Lošinj. The tabernacle was found covered in a layer of dirt and soot, and were spotted dry drops paraffin wax. It was in stable condition, although with numerous areas of minor damage in the wood, preparation, and gilded layers, especially in marginal sections of the profilation. There was also spotted a partial overpaint (bronze powder in oil binder) which had at one time been applied over the damaged areas, but also covered some of the preserved gilded sections and metal parts (the key, door handles and candelabra). Parts of the restoration work still in progress include carving the missing parts of the capital profilation (balsa wood), filling in the shallower damaged areas of the damaged wood (grilith kit), chalk-glue preparation ( planatol kit toned with red bole), reconstruct the missing parts of the gilding, both matte and polished and retouching using gold leaves and gold powder. Finally, the entire object will be covered in a new layer of protective varnish. After completion of the restoration work, the tabernacle will be returned to the sanctuary of the restored Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Veli Lošinj and returned into liturgical use.

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Short biography

DORA MIHANOVIĆ was born on April 22nd, 1992 in Zagreb, Croatia. She attended private elementary school "Kreativan razvoj" in Zagreb and private Zagreb Art Gymnasium between 2007 and 2011. She enrolled into the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 2012, Department of Conservation of Works of Art, sculpture. At this moment, she is on her 4th year of studies and the head of the project in conservation and restauration treatments of historic wooden gilded tabernacle from chapel of the Sacred Heart in Veli Lošinj, under supervision of assoc. professor Zvjezdana Jembrih, MA, assist. lecturer Ana Božičević, mag.