DOCUMENTATION | Exhibitions: 1648 - War and Peace in Europe
|Essay Volumes > Tome II: Art and culture||
"What could be better now than the struggle for freedom and faith."
Confessionalization and the Estates' Quest for Liberation as Reflected in the Silesian Arts of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
During the one hundred years preceding the onset of the Thirty Years' War Silesia which belonged to the Kingdom of Bohemia since the fourteenth century was spared by the great European conflicts of those times.  When Ferdinand I of the Habsburg dynasty assumed power following the death of the younger King Ludwig II Jagiello at Mohács in 1526, the Reformation spread here, too. Later on during the reign of Maximilian II the guaranties given by the Peace of Augsburg were in fact extended to Silesia, albeit without legal grounds, which led to the foundation of the "legal religious opposition" congregating around Prince Georg II of Brieg and Karl II of Münster-Oels who's aim it was to protect the privileges of the Estates of the realm from Habsburg's centralism. 
Both Georg II and Karl II were aware that their sovereignty was limited by feudal allegiance, so their ambitions concentrated more on domestic policy such as economic development, modernising of the administration, and educational reforms. Splendid ducal residences where built in Brieg and Oels where numerous poets, musicians, builders, sculptors and painters came together.  The construction of the new Palace of Brieg (1544 - 1562) manifested the durability and splendour of the most important of the Silesian dynasties, the House of Piast. The fully plastic sculptures adorning the portal house and showing Georg II and his spouse Barbara von Brandenburg, as well as the busts of the ducal ancestors used to be complemented by an unusual piece of heraldry: The Coat-of-Arms of the polish King Sigismund II August standing above the Coat-of-Arms of the House of Habsburg and that of Burgundy which was considered exemplary of an independent principality.  This extolling of the Coat-of-Arms of the House of Jagiello was not meant to suggest an annexation of the Oder territories to Poland; rather, it demonstrated the type of government favoured by the Duke and all of the Silesian Estates who felt threatened by "Habsburg despotism": the Polish-Lithuanian Gentry Republic.
Under the reign and with the personal participation of Duke Georg II (Heidersdorfer Formula Concordiae of 1574) the Lutheran Confession was introduced in the Silesian feudal principalities and in the city of Breslau. Since the King of Bohemia, being the supreme sovereignty, was himself catholic no established Protestant Church was founded.  The process of Lutheran confessionalization is not as easily noticeable in the hereditary principalities of the Bohemian Crown and Upper Silesia in particular, as the churches there were customarily used in common by the followers of the old and new confession alike.  The castle-church of Brieg which was reconstructed from 1567 to 1573 under the direction of the Saxon sculptor Michael Kramer and imitated in many sacral foundations of the Silesian aristocracy served as a model for Protestant churches.  It combined the "ceremonial Trias? characteristic of the Reformation period - altar, pulpit and baptismal font - with elaborate mural sepulchres of Georg II and his son Joachim Friedrich. A visible token of confessionalization was the iconography of Lutheran altars and epitaphs which were donated freely and in large number by the aristocracy and bourgeoisie during this period.  It followed the allegories as they were known from Saxony, referring to the Reformation as the "Christian deed", the reformatory doctrine of justification through faith alone, and reformatory piety "de cruce". The Coat-of-Arms of Emperor Rudolf II  which to this day adorns the foot of the pulpit built in 1591 in the parish church of Hirschberg bears witness of the deeply rooted faith of Silesian Protestantism which looks to the Evangelism as guideline while pledging allegiance to the Emperor at the same time. The royal charter given in 1609 which granted the Silesian population the freedoms of the Confession of Augsburg  was largely taken as confirmation of the legalistic and loyal policy of the local Estates in line with this decision.
The guaranties of the royal charter had not been extended to the Reformed Church which was increasingly gaining importance in Silesia (as Crypto-Calvinism at first).  Amongst their sponsors were representatives of the patriciate elite of Breslau, the influential family Schönaich, and finally, during the second decade of the 17 [th] century, the grandsons of Georg II, Johann Christian von Brieg and Georg Rudolf von Liegnitz, as well as Count Johann Georg von Brandenburg-Ansbach, Duke of the Upper-Silesian Jägerndorf.  Disregarding the failure of compulsory calvinization in Berlin the latter attempted in 1616 to force the strict, icon-free form of the reformed service upon the citizens of his principality.  His iconoclastic decrees led to strong mass protests by the local Lutherans who attached great importance to their altars, baptismal fonts, pictures and crucifixes. The anticalvinism which to this day dominates the inner architecture of some Silesian churches  appears to stem from the Jägerndorf events and the actual iconoclasm which was carried out in the Veit Cathedral of Prague with permission of the " Winterking". The paintings on the gallery inside the village church of Gross Bresa near Breslau dating back to the year 1620 were intended to testify by the mere fact of their creation that the Congregation, according to the dedication inscribed, wished to renounce "Calvinistic iconoclasm". The prefiguration of the Eucharist taken from the Old Testament and showing the Angel carrying the prophet Habakuk by his hair which was placed at the base of the pulpit inside the parish church of St.Anna of Frankenstein (fig. 2) was a seemly and intellectually subtle symbol of the distance to the teachings of the Geneva reformer. In particular it was directed against Calvin's purely spiritual concept of the Eucharist.
The royal charter was also viewed unfavourably by some circles of Silesia's Catholic clergy which tended to support Cardinal Franz von Dietrichstein, Bishop of Olmütz and the preeminent protagonist of the counter-reformation in the Bohemian realm. The latter had become known for the forcible reconversion to Catholicism of the town of Troppau.  The majority of the clergy, however, could not help but acknowledge that from the second half of the 16 [th] century Catholicism held a minority status which could only be maintained due to the old privileges and donations. Not until around 1600 did the Silesian Churces' post-Tridentine identity show first signs of the effects of the Council of Trent which became apparent under the Bishops Andreas Jerin and Johannes von Sitsch: The first illustrated writings of didactical catechetical content were published by printing presses in Breslau and Neisse, and magnificent new altars donated by the Bishop were erected in the country's two most important Catholic Places of Worship, the Breslau Cathedral and St.Jacob's church in Neisse.  The stone altar of Neisse dating from 1612 and showing the Holy Virgin as well as St. Catherine and St. Hedwig in its center depicts the canonized Emperor Heinrich on its second level. A clearer manifestation of the ties which existed between the Bishop's Chair and monarchy since the beginning of the Habsburg rule is hardly conceivable. These ties, or more specifically the episcopate's unconditional subordination to the interests of imperial policy eventually led to the events which preceded the Silesian Estates joining the Bohemian uprising in 1618.
The Royal Charter for Silesia of August 20, 1609 was followed by an annex which suspended the customary practice existing since 1536 according to which the governing Bishops of Breslau also occupied the position of the supreme governmental authority. This change was brought about under the pressure of the Estates who were quite worried about the appointment of the archduke Karl von Habsburg as Bishop,  and rightly so, as subsequent events would show. In spite of the reservations which Emperor Matthias had, the office of the head of governmental authority was held by Johann Christian von Brieg since 1617.  As a consequence of the strict counter-reformatory course of the new Bishop and the simultaneously growing importance of the radical calvinistic fraction within Protestantism, Silesia participated in the main political events of the Bohemian uprising: The dethronement of Ferdinand II of the Habsburg dynasty and the election of Prince Elector Friedrich V of the Palatinate as new king.  The latter came to Breslau in 1620 where not only the Protestant Estates under Duke Johann Christian but also the representatives of the Chapter led by the Canon Nikolaus von Troilo took their feudal oath regardless of the Bishop's disapproval.  Discontent began to spread among the Lutherans when the "Winterking" extended the religious freedoms to the Reformed Confession and the great hall of Breslau castle was opened for calvinistic worship. After the defeat of the rebellious troops at Weissen Berg no-one in Silesia was prepared to support Friedrich any longer. Since the polish King Sigismund III was hostile towards the Silesian Estates , the reconciliation with Emperor Ferdinand II which became possible through the intermediation of the Saxon Prince Elector Johann Georg I in February 1621 (the so-called Accord of Dresden) seemed to be the only solution. The rebels were given magnanimous pardon for having breached their oath of allegiance, and the royal charters' guaranties of faith remained in effect.
The Emperor's policy and that of his confidant, the lord chamberlain Karl Hannibal Count of Dohna, aimed at the country's gradual return to Catholicism. Efforts were made to increase the ratio of catholic dukes and peers in the princely Curia and to occupy all positions in the hereditary principalities and the townships in their territory with Catholics. These measures were intensified noticeably after the Protestant army under Ernst von Mansfeld had marched through Silesia in 1626. Even though they soon left the country, the relatively friendly welcome their troops had received in upper Silesia was taken as a pretext for a violent settlement of accounts with the local gentry and the bourgeois elite of the area. Shortly afterwards the repressive measures were extended to the Protestant population of towns in the lower Silesian hereditary principalities of Glogau, Sagan, Schweidnitz-Jauer and Münsterberg as well. Thousands of Silesian artisans were forced to flee to Poland following the confiscation of property, annoying quarterings and billeting, mandatory participation in catholic Masses, and finally the well-known "dragonades". In his poem of praise to King Ladislaus IV the famous Silesian poet Martin Opitz later wrote: "Those who come to you as strangers / do not leave as strangers: they are well received / securely settled / in peace and such a state / that they may think your Empire is their home". [22 ]The Protestant refugees from Silesia were granted the freedoms of the Confession of Augsburg, self-government, and many economic privileges by the polish gentry of the border regions; existing towns such as Lezno (Lissa) and Wschowa (Fraustadt) were enlarged for them, and new ones were founded: Rawicz in 1638, Bojanowo in1638, and Szlichtyngowa in 1644. 
The large influx of refugees did not stop when the united Swedish, Saxonian and Brandenburg troops marched into Silesia in 1632. The troops soon became ill-reputed after having ransacked and set fire to the Sand Island of Breslau with the cathedral. When news of the approaching Protestant army and the fleeing imperial troops reached Breslau the town declared its neutrality. Nevertheless it, and the Protestant dukes with it, came under the pressure of Swedish diplomacy. As a consequence the dukes Johann Christian von Brieg, Georg Rudolf von Liegnitz, Karl Friedrich von Münsterberg-Oels and the city of Breslau entered an alliance with Sweden, Saxonia and Brandenburg known as the Conjunction on August 9, 1633. It cannot entirely be ruled out that this decision which in fact meant a new breach with Habsburg was attributable to secret negotiations between the Swedes and Generalissimo Ferdinand Albrecht von Wallenstein. When Johann Christians' brother-in-law Hans Ulrich Freiherr von Schaffgotsch had defeated the Swedish troops on October 11, 1633 it was the first hard blow to the Conjunction which had been reared on political dreams. To this came the Imperial troops' victory at Nördlingen on September 6, 1634, and finally the separate peace treaty between the Emperor and Saxonia which suspended the Saxonian guaranties for Silesia mentioned in the 'Accord of Dresden'.
Johann Christian was sojourning in neighbouring Wohlau when the news of the Swedish defeat at Steinau reached him. Like thousands of other Silesian Protestants he went to Poland and via Lissa to the city of Thorn. The assassination of Wallenstein and the disintegration of his army motivated the duke to return to Silesia in March 1634 and form an alliance against the Emperor in July 1634 which he himself headed. The support he had hoped for by Ladislaus IV with whom the Silesian Estates maintained vivid relations did not materialize. The new situation led the Polish King to seek dynastic advantages in Silesia. To this end an alliance with the victorious Emperor appeared more desirable than with Johann Christian and the Estates.  The King did receive the Duke of Brieg in Thorn even though the latter had refused the personal oath of allegiance to Ferdinand II after the Peace of Prague, and on July 16, 1636 promised him a decent burial site in the catacombs of his aunt Anna von Wasa.  But when the alliance with the House of Habsburg had been sealed by the marriage with the imperial daughter there was no longer question of regal asylum for the "faithless" Johann Christian. The Duke by then had moved to Osterode in Prussia where he endured all the sufferings of exile and died on the first day of Christmas in 1639. His remains were brought to Brieg in May 1940 and laid to rest in the castle-church on December 12.
The growing dynamics of confessionalization on the eve of the Thirty Years' War exerted a strong influence on the contents and ideological functions of Silesian art. The Lutheran art foundations which predominated during the first decade of the 17 [th] century aimed to distance themselves from Calvinism which was evolving with might, as well as emphasise the continuity of the apostolical heritage which had been purged from all "earthly add-ons" by the Confession of Augsburg.  The demand for Lutheran ecclesiastical art receded after the Bohemian uprising had been put down, but a new and rare motive was introduced: The steadfastness in faith as duty of any true Christian (fig. 3).  Catholic art donations gained importance during this period. They were often intended for modernising the entire inner architecture as in the case of the Cistercian monasteries of Grüssau and Leubus.  New altars with decidedly Catholic motives were erected in those places of worship which were being used by Catholics and Lutherans in common. They propagated the worship of All Saints as in the case of the retabel donated by the Abbot Paul Weiner in the Augustine church of Sagan (around 1623) , or the worship of the Holy Virgin of Tschenstochau as shown on the retabel in the village church of Lossen donated in 1623 by Andreas Gewalt, Abbot of the Beslau Premonstratensians (fig. 4).  Another emphasis was now laid on the portrayal of impressing "testimonies of faith" given by Catholic communities and individual followers. A picture in the All Saints-church in Gleiwitz dated after 1629 may serve as an example for this; it is supposed to show the miracle of the rescue of this strictly Catholic town from the siege by Mansfelds' troops (fig. 5).  According to recent research the painting by Bartholomäus Strobel the Younger called "The Stoning of St. Stephan" (post- 1620) could also be taken as an example.  It was presumably created in honour of the "wonder child", the young Canon Stanislaw Ostoróg of Krakau who died in Breslau in 1616 and was laid to rest in St.Dorothee's Church. The Order of St. Francis who had returned to Silesia's capital shortly before the war tried to spread his worship.
The symbolism of Silesian art between 1520 and 1650 was marked by a homogeneity which transcended the confessions. The architecture evolved out of the edifices of the "family" Parr which were influenced by Italian style, later taking the forms of Dutch late renaissance like the castle of Oels and the manieristic post-gothic of the residential palace of the family Schönaich in Carolath, and arriving at near-baroque late manierism like the church of Altkemnitz  donated by Count Hans Ulrich von Schaffgotsch. Sculptural art, too, was dominated by Italian forms at first. From about 1560 it gradually gave way to the Dutch and Saxonian manierism of Dresden, and from about 1610 onwards late manieristic styles following the examples of Freiberg and Pirna prevailed.  Painting continued to be influenced by the workshop of Lucas Cranach, but with time it, too, absorbed many Dutch impulses which were brought to Silesia through the graphical arts.  The comprehensive reception of Rudolphian art was aided by the high quality of late-humanistic Silesian culture as well as the numerous ties of the Silesian elites, and those of Breslau in particular, with the imperial court in Prague.  At the beginning of the 17 [th] century the works of the sculptor Adrian de Vries (fig. 6) and the painter Bartholomäus Spranger (fig. 7) who were the best-known representatives of this art embellished important altars and epitaphs which were erected by Catholic and Protestant donators alike.  The patterns devised at the Court of Prague made their way to the workshops of the painters and goldsmiths of the Breslau guilds. One of them, Bartholomäus Strobel the Elder, even possessed a genuine "Spranger's tablet of St. John preaching in the desert" which he bequeathed to his son in 1612 who was a painter just like his father. Judging by his later development this artefact must have had must have held a high symbolic value for the young Strobel; today he is regarded as one of the most important followers of Rudolphian style. 
Almost from the very beginning Bartholomäus Strobel the Younger's career was connected with influential patrons.  Among these patrons were the Bishop of Breslau, Archduke Karl von Habsburg, the Saxonian Prince Elector Johann Georg I, the Polish King Sigismund III, and last not least the two emperors Matthias and Ferdinand II. The latter renewed the privileges accorded by the last emperor to the pictorial arts in the Kingdom of Bohemia in April 1624,  possibly induced by Strobels portrait of the emperor. As "privileged painter and portraitist" Strobel mainly carried out commissioned works for notables of laity and the clergy. One of the patrons was the Canon Philipp Jakob von Jerin for whom he created the principal work of his time in Breslau: the mysterious, most "Rudolphian" painting "King David and Batsheba" (1630) which today is kept in the castle of Münchengrätz (Mnichovo Hradišta).  At least from 1627 onwards Martin Opitz who lived in Breslau at that time counted among the friends of the painter.  Ravished by the talent of the artist Opitz wrote in the poem titled "On the Art Book of the Famous Painter Squire Bartolomäus Strobel":
"Thus thou givest to all, to Antorff its Rubens;
Both artists were united in their concern about the principle humanistic values, the future of science and arts, and Christian virtues and customs which they saw threatened by war. The painter's allegorical drawing "The fate of the arts in Schweidnitz during the war" from 1626  reflects the same mood as the poet's famous "Poems of Solace amidst the repulsiveness of war":
Prague may praise Spranger / and Holland its Veen /
Welshland [France] has Urbin; my Breslau, weaner of the arts /
has you to show". 
"Thus fear of God has mostly vanished /Similar sentiments are expressed in some later drawings of Strobel, especially the "Allegory of the Fate of the Free Arts in Times of War" created in Danzig in 1636 which can be found in the album of Heinrich Böhme of Namslau (fig. 8).  This drawing depicts Bellona and King Midas with an angelic figure in the middle, and they are bent over an illustration of the doctrine of Thales. The figures symbolise the antinomy between the world of politics and power on one hand, and natural law on the other hand which is as objective and universal as geometry.
And the Religion gaoled and fettered /
All Rights lay oppressed / and virtue restrained /
The Arts are swamped with muck and filth". 
During the years 1634 to 1635 both Opitz and Strobel were forced to follow Duke Johann Christian and emigrate to Poland.  Namely Opitz belonged to the instigators of the "Conjunction" and the alliance directed against Habsburg while the other simply shared the lot of many Silesian Protestants who were unable to find a place for themselves in a country ravaged by war and at the complete mercy of imperial despotism. The refugees found their principal sponsor in the person of Count Gerhard von Dönhoff, the trustworthy councillor of Ladislaus IV who later became steward in Marienburg, castellan in Danzig and Pomeranian Voyvod.  The marriage to the Duke of Brieg's daughter Sibylle Margaretha familiarised him with Silesian affairs to which he had already been introduced earlier by his army chaplain Bartholomäus Nigrinus from Brieg. Thanks to Count Gerhard von Dönhoff Opitz was introduced to the Polish King. At his recommendation he was given the post of royal historiographer and was soon afterwards appointed to the trusted position of secretary and even to that of an agent. Out of gratitude for this support Opitz dedicated the translation of "Antigone" published in Danzig in 1636  to him, and to his wife, "to my gracious Princess and Lady" he dedicated the "Geistliche(n) Poemata" in 1638.  Strobel probably also benefited from the patronage of the influential steward from Marienburg. The miniature painting "Daniel and King Kyros before the Idol Baal" (1636-1637)  which is kept in the National Museum of Warsaw and is pro-calvinistic in content and unambiguously directed against idolatry might be an indication for this since Gerhard von Dönhoff was a professed Calvinist. For four years (1634 to 1638) he employed his influence with the King in order to achieve equality of rights for the Reformated of Danzig with regard to the Lutherans.  It may be assumed that he commissioned the painter to carry out this work in order to use it as an argument in this context. The commissions which Strobel had received from the beginning of his stay in Poland most likely didn't come about either without Dönhoff's patronage, and it was probably at his recommendation that on November 16, 1639 Ladislaus IV granted the painter a charter which renewed the previous imperial privileges. 
Martin Opitz, Bartholomäus Strobel the Younger, Bartholomäus Nigrinus (then already Chaplain of the parish church St. Peter and Paul in Danzig), as well as Christian Hoffman von Hoffmannswaldau and Andreas Gryphius  who both attended the Academic Gymnasium in Danzig all stood in intensive contact with one another. The portrait of Martin Opitz in Danzig (fig. 9)  painted by Strobel during the late thirties, and the "Allegory of the artist's eternal glory" of 1638  drawn on the last page of Hoffmannswaldau's album "in good reminiscence... in Danzig" both bear witness to this. Although Strobel lead an active life commuting between Danzig, Thorn and Elbing he undoubtedly also found opportunities to meet with his countrymen. The artist was definitely familiar with their literary works published in Poland such as the second epic of Herod written by the young Gryphius in 1635 which was dedicated to the town elders of Danzig.  Thanks to the reports from his home country he knew about the situation in Silesia and joined in with the appeals to the international public to liberate the country from the "tyranny" unacceptable to any conscientious person. Strobel's huge allegorical painting "The Banquet of Herod and the Decapitation of John the Baptist" on display in the Museo del Prado in Madrid (fig. 10)  is just such an appeal to the Christian world to save the doomed home country. All demands made by the Silesian patriots, secular and clerical, Protestant and Catholic, exiles and residents alike have been artistically expressed in this painting. The work was probably created in Elbing under the patronage of Gerhard and Margaretha von Dönhoff in the period from 1640 to 1642.
This large-scale painting (280 x 952 cm) depicts a night-time scene enacted by a large number of figures. Following a trait of the Elizabethan theatre the scene is divided into three main plots, with an additional secondary scene complementing the far right side of the painting and showing the decapitation of John the Baptist. The allegorical and moralising content of the main scene in the painting depicting the ceremonious banquet with many high-ranking contemporary political personalities is already announced in the background scene which is dominated by the idea of vanity: On the right is a lavishly set table with precious chinaware, and to the left is a group of musicians playing for the festivity guests. The foreground which is designed in the way of a proscenium is dominated by the Dutch Admiral Tromp who had defeated the Spanish Armada in the battle of Downs in 1639, sitting by a small table. The French King Henry IV spreads out before him the fruits of victory. The group of figures on the left side of the centre ground consists of the imperial Generalissimo Wallenstein and his brothers-in arms Count Wilhelm von Kinsky, Christian Freiherr von Ilow and Count Adam Erdmann von Trèka as well as one of their assassins, the dragoon captain Walter Butler. At the banquet table in the middle are seated among others the Saxonian Prince Elector Johann Georg I, King Charles I Stuart of England together with the Spanish Infante Maria Anna whom he had matched for marriage with Emperor Ferdinand III, Maria de Medici Queen of France and her lover George Villiers, the Prince of Buckingham, the French marshal Concino Concini Marquis d'Ancre, and even Princess Maria de Rohan of Chevreuse, the foremost intrigue plotter of the 17 [th] century. Their gestures and distract glances across the table insinuate that each of them is totally preoccupied with himself. The only one in this circle who notices the head of John the Baptist being brought into the room on a large saucer is Herod, dressed with the garment of the Turkish Sultan. The right part of the 'scene' is completed by the group of women surrounding Salome. It has been possible to identify some of the female figures: Elizabeth Stuart, widow of Friedrich V von der Pfalz; Eleonora von Brandenburg, widow of the Swedish King Gustav Adolf, along with her daughter Princess Christina and her sister Katharina, widow of the Transylvanian Prince Bethlen Gabor. Finishing the group is an orientally clad Herodias pointing with a gesture of her hand to the boy carrying a torch. This is possibly Karl Ludwig, the son of Friedrich V von der Pfalz, whom many believed to be the aspirant to the Bohemian crown. The woman standing next to Herodias is most probably Amalie von Solms, consort of the governor of the Netherlands Friedrich Heinrich von Oranien who granted the family of the "Winterking" asylum.
The key to the interpretation of the painting's programmatic message is the head of John the Baptist laying on the large saucer and remaining unnoticed by the celebrating mighty of the world. It can be taken as an allegory of Silesia: As the head of the only recently deceased Duke Johann Christian, and on the other hand the traditional emblem of the town of Breslau which can be seen on many public and private buildings.  Here, the historical worship of John the Baptist, patron of Silesia and the diocese of Breslau, which was acknowledged by the post-reformatory ecclesiastical order and deeply rooted in Protestant piety,  merged with a totally new and profane adoration of the "Hero of Brieg" who's courage and unwavering stance was widely respected. Many saw in him the ideal of the "Protagonist of Christ" whom Martin Opitz had described in the "Poems of Solace amidst the repulsiveness of war" as follows:
"When the Religion is hostilly defiled /
Then time there is no more that one may rest and repose.
Far better to fight back like Christians with the fist /
Than that itself should be perverted by cunning and constraint". 
Although the Duke hadn't fallen on the battlefield like the "hero" of that time King Gustav Adolf, many Silesians raised him to the position of a "Martyr of Faith". The parallels to the ancient Christian concept of "unbloody martyrdom" which was one of the principal motives in the literary work of Andreas Gryphius  are clearly visible here.
The thesis that the hero of the painting in Madrid is identical to the Duke of Brieg is corroborated by the far-reaching congruency with the biblical name-giver: Johann (John) Christian was not only a "martyr" but a "prophet" as well. In 1646 the first printed copy of "Das Briegische Bedencken"  [The Brieg Memorandum] was published in Amsterdam. It contained Johann Christian's "The Princely Brieg Admonishment to the Clergy of the Principality" published in 1627 and "The Princely Patent, or: Public Notices". Both documents which were revised and appended in exile in 1637 served as a perfect example of 'fraternal admonition' that any true Christian ruler should give his subjects. Until 1735 at least ten issues of the "Brieg Memorandum" were printed, usually without indication of where it was published. The writing was held in high esteem by the "Father of Pietism" Philipp Jakob Spener as he saw in it an example worth following of a profound religious revival originating from a profane authority. 
The European elite which is gathered around the banquet table reacts with arrogant disdain to the head of the martyr and prophet being brought in, by which their feigned Christianity is denounced. Their lack of concern is discredited even more by the fact that "Sultan" Herod looks at the head with great interest. This refers to the belief going back to Martin Luther according to which the world of Islam distinguishes itself by a more profound religiousness than Christianity.  The unmasking of this fake Christianity points out in all its cruelty the worst consequence of the lingering war: The loss of values. A similar sentiment is expressed in the last verses of the famous song of Andreas Gryphius, "Tears of the Fatherland, Anno 1636":
"Yet I speak not of that which is worse by far than death,
Should the sacrifice brought by Johann Christian and by all of Silesia through him have been in vain, in view of Europe's lost "Christian soul"? Strobel had to leave the beholder one hope: His motto "God rewards hope" is perceivable in some of his drawings. Between the torch-bearing heir of the "Winterking" and the victorious admiral Tromp stands a small leonine dog which can be taken as an allusion to the lion in the Coat-of-Arms of the Netherlands and the Palatinate. This points to the only possible constellation capable of reversing the fate looming over Christianity. The Netherlands alone, being the bulwark of freedom and virtue, could restore the lost Bohemian crown to the Palatinate and at the same time bring back peace and freedom of religion to its nations and to all of Europe.
More gruesome yet than plague and scorch and famine:
That so many have been bereaved of the treasure of their souls". 
The idea of Silesia being prepared to sacrifice itself for the sake of salvation of Christianity as it was conceived on Polish soil in the regal town of Elbing had no relation to the options available to Polish politics at the time. The work of Strobel expresses no "illustrated message of King Ladislaus IV to the House of Orange" , neither does it refer to the activity of Jerzy Ossoliñski.  Rather, it is an homage to the anti-Habsburg elite of Silesia living in Polish and Dutch exile, and to the three heroes of the struggle for the country's political and religious freedom who died during the years 1639 and 1640: The "adamant duke" Johann Christian, Martin Opitz who had stood in defence of the Silesian issue before the world's strong and mighty, and Canon Nikolaus von Troilo  who stood up for subjecting the Catholic church to Silesian rather than imperial national political interests. Strobel had to make use of Opitz' political connections in order to get the etchings with the portraits of the main personalities of European politics. The painting gave him an opportunity to at least partially realise his dream of a grand "book of art". A gallery of the types, attitudes and affects which he had created here would indeed fill several traditional "art books" intended as a collection of templates. It is the only work of Silesian pictorial arts before the mid-17 [th] century which attains the high level of the contemporary Silesian literature. Although it has traits of a belated Rudolphian manierism its profound message and living dramatic enactment presages the later great "political tragic dramas" by Andreas Gryphius: "Leo Armenius, or The Assassination of a Prince"" (1646-1647), "Catharina von Georgien, or Trusted Persistance" (1647), "Murdered Majesty, or Carolus Stuardus" (1649-1650), and finally "The Magnanimous Jurist, or The dying Aemilius Paulus Papinianus" (1659). 
The diplomatic endeavour in the forum of European politics for the "Silesian issue" did not end with Opitz' death. The Silesians who had lived in the Netherlands for a longer time felt obliged to continue the mission of the great poet. It must have been there that the idea to stylise Johann Christian as a "prophet and martyr" was born, and this was to be accomplished by the great allegorical painting as well as through the publication of his writings. The joint efforts of the Protestant emigrants and those political powers which, like Duke Georg Rudolph and the City Council of Breslau, had maintained a certain freedom of action were successful in the sense that the harsh restrictions imposed in 1635 were loosened in the peace negotiations of Osnabrück and Münster. The powerful status which the Emperor held in the hereditary realms of Habsburg and which had been confirmed by the Peace of Westphalia was somewhat reduced in the case of Silesia. Not only were the freedoms of the Confession of Augsburg granted in the principalities of Liegnitz, Brieg, Oels and in the city of Breslau, but permission was given to build new Protestant churches in the three capitals of the hereditary principalities of the Bohemian Crown: In Glogau, Jauer and Schweidnitz. Soon these places of worship were called churches of peace. All along the borders of Saxony, Brandenburg and Poland as well as in some places of the principalities of Liegnitz, Brieg and Oels, all of which were located in the borderlands of the hereditary principalities, existing churches were converted to so-called 'churches of refuge', and new churches named 'border churches' were built.  Feast-days in Silesia were now conducted in such a manner that thousands of Protestant town- and village dwellers in the hereditary principalities pilgrimaged to the opened churches nearby. The deeper meaning of these pilgrimages is illustrated by a representation on the vestry door of the border church in Kriegheide, "The pilgrimage of Christ and his disciples to Emmaus" (1654) where the half-timbered buildings of the local church, incumbency and school can be perceived in the background. 
The peace churches of Jauer (1654-1655)  and Schweidnitz (1656-1657)  which, as required by the fixed rules, were built outside the town walls from short-lasting materials and without belfries (fig. 11) are considered important works of Protestant church construction in Europe. These buildings designed by the architect and fortress builder Albrecht von Säbisch from Breslau show no influence of the Italian baroque but are rather a continuation of the northern European architecture from the late renaissance and manierism respectively. They imitate the style characteristic of the gallery churches, with lavish paintings in the spirit of the "Layman's Bible" as illustrated by the exemplary manner in which it was carried out in the church of Jauer (fig. 12).
In face of the people holding on to the Confession of Augsburg the Catholic church which according to the regulations of the imperial 'Reduction Committee' had taken over 656 Protestant places of worship was unable to furbish the interior of these churches with its sumptuous ceremonial and rich decor. Precedence was given to those areas which had already been reclaimed for Catholicism before 1618. The episcopal principality of Neisse where the funeral chapel of St. Barbara was erected next to St. Jacob's church after the war  may serve an example. The chapel was soon fitted with an altar (1651) which illustrates in a very vivid and visual manner how the souls suffering in purgatory are redeemed through the strength of the Catholic Mass (fig. 13).  In "missionary towns" such as Schweidnitz the Jesuits played an important role in art donations, as is testified by the main altar of the local parish church (1690-1694), also called "Solomon's Throne" and "Abode of Wisdom".  With its wealth of biblical references it may well be compared to the Protestant peace churches. Of particular importance were those works of art which were widely acclaimed due to their high level of artistic perfection. The chapel of St. Elizabeth of the Breslau cathedral (1680-1686) deserves special mentioning in this context (fig. 14).  It was donated by Cardinal Friedrich Landgraf von Hessen-Darmstadt, a proselyte who was raised to the rank of a bishop at the recommendation of the Emperor. This edifice built by Giacomo Scianzi, Ercole Ferrata and Domenico Guidi is considered to be the only "complete work of art" of pure Italian baroque style north of the Alps.
The Protestants, though remaining faithful to their past and to the traditional values and forms, couldn't help noticing the gradual transition of Catholic churches to baroque style. Wonderful liturgical rites and the magnificent interior decor of the churches even caused some to switch confessions. Such a decision, however, did not imply that one accepted the state interests and policy of the Habsburg monarchy. Even the mighty Cistercian monasteries such as Leubus distanced themselves from the "Imperial Catholicism" and maintained good relations with the Protestant Dukes of Liegnitz, Brieg and Wohlau. After the dynasty of Piast had ceased to exist as protector of Silesian independence in 1675 their spiritual heritage was in fact resumed by the Cistercians.  Up until the mid-18 [th] century they preserved the well-known "Silesian uniqueness"  which had crytallized under the late humanistic elites from the circles around the Dukes Johann Christian and Georg Rudolf.
1. Grünhagen 1886 p. 1-142; Maleczyñski 1961 p. 309-327; Maleczyñski 1963 p. 303-321; Conrads 1994 p. 213-257; cp. also Bahlcke, 1994.
2. Harasimowicz 1984; Harasimowicz 1986c.
3. Rudkowski 1972.
4. Zlat 1962; Zlat 1988.
5. Cp. Schimmelpfennig 1877; Konrad 1917; Engelbert 1965; Sabisch 1975.
6. Karzel 1979; Harasimowicz 1993 p. 13.
7. This chapel's interior was almost totally destroyed towards the end of the 18 [th] century. For a description of the original state cp. Luvae 1689 pp. 1371 f.; Chrzanowski 1974 pp. 38-49, 121; Zlat 1979 p. 125-131.
8. Harasimowicz 1979; Harasimowicz 1986; Harasimowicz 1992; Harasimowicz 1994; Harasimowicz 1996 p. 97-125.
9. Cp. Oszczanowski 1993 p. 27-63.
10. Konrad 1909.
11. Cp. Lucae 1689 p.486-545; Gillet 1860; Siegmund-Schultze 1960.
12. Bretholz 1928; Jaeckel 1973/74.
13. Karzel 1979 pp. 275 f.
14. Harasimowicz 1990 p. 41-44; Harasimowicz 1990a p. 128-132; cp. also Harasimowicz 1996 p. 25-39.
15. Loesche 1915, I.
16. Cp. Harasimowicz 1979 p. 22 f.; Harasimowicz 1986a p. 570-573, 576; Harasimowicz 1990 p. 66-71, 79-85; Harasimowicz 1990a pp. 134 ff.
17. Köhler 1973 p. 267-278; Köhler 1974.
18. Cp. Krebs 1881; Kisza 1981; Jaeckel 1982 II p. 24-74.
19. Eickels 1994. For a description of the course of the Bohemian uprising and the complete Thirty Year's War in Silesia vide: Grünhagen 1886 p. 143-302; Maleczyñski 1963 p. 321-370; Conrads 1994 p. 269-279.
20. Bruchmann 1909.
21. Szelagowski 1904.
22. Opitz 1636 p. 8. The issue was simultaneously printed in Danzig and Lissa.
23. Kulejewska-Topolska 1964; Wróblewska 1965.
24. Szelagowski 1907; Wisner 1995 p. 80-110.
25. Saar-Kozlowska 1995 p. 71-98.
26. Harasimowicz 1986 p. 164-173.
27. Harasimowicz 1990 p. 89-94; Harasimowicz 1990a p. 137 ff.
28. Dziurla 1964 p. 25-28; Kalinowski 1970 p. 17 f., 45 f.
29. Harasimowicz 1979 p. 14, 23; Harasimowicz 1990 p. 85 fig. 87.
30. Jaroszewska 1994.
31. Drabina 1995 p. 98 f., 179 f.
32. Oszczanowski [at the press].
33. Zlat 1955; Starzewska 1963 p. 39-81; Marchelek 1971; Harasimowicz 1983; Zlat 1986; Harasimowicz 1994 p. 128-132.
34. Bimler 1934; Keblowski 1967; Chrzanowski 1974; Zlat 1978; Harasimowicz 1980; Harasimowicz 1986b; Harasimowicz 1992 p. 78-98.
35. Müller/Nickel 1935; Steinborn 1967; Steinborn 1992/93; Oszczanowski/Gromadzki 1995.
36. Cp. Lubos 1957; Koøán 1976; Fleischer 1984.
37. Larsson 1967 p. 46 f., 57 f., ? 8 p. 37; DaCosta Kaufmann 1988 p. 274, ? 20.76.
38. Wernicke 1888 p. 48 f.
39. DaCosta Kaufmann 1988 p. 109.
40. Cp. Batowski 1916; Scheyer 1932/33; Iwanoyko 1957; Neumann 1970; Ossowski 1989; Benesz 1991; Szczepiñska-Tramer 1991; Tylicki 1991 p. 249-261; Szczepiñska-Tramer 1992; Tylicki/Meyer 1993; Tylicki 1994; Tylicki 1994a; Oszczanowski/Gromadzki 1995 p. 89-92, 119 f.; Tylicki 1995.
41. For the text of the charter vide Tylicki 1995 II p. 309 ff.
42. Neumann 1970 p. 161 ff. fig. 12, 14, 16; DaCosta Kaufmann 1988 p. 109 fig. 68; Benesz 1991 p. 62 ff. fig. 5, 7; Szczepiñska-Tramer 1991 p. 6 fig. 13; Tylicki 1995 I p. 193-211, II p. 67-73, ? I.1.16.
43. Cp. among others Szyrocki 1956 p. 77-99; Garber 1984 p. 128 ff., ibid. earlier relevant references.
44. Opitz 1629 p. 379 ff., p. 380.
45. Formerly in the Silesian Museum for Art-crafts and Antiquities in Breslau, of unknown whereabouts since 1945. Batowski 1916 p. 10 f. fig. 1; Scheyer 1932/33 p. 529 f.; Iwanoyko 1957 p. 104 f., 107 f., 119 f. ? 1 fig. 33; Oszczanowski/Gromadzki 1995 p. 90 ? 301; Tylicki 1995 I p. 175-179 II p. 184 ff. ? II.2.3.
46. Opitz 1633 p. 23.
47. Nowadays in the manuscripts section of the Biblioteka Kórnicka PAN Kórnik. Batowski 1916 p. 12 f.; Scheyer 1932/33 p. 532 f.; Iwanoyko 1957 p. 105 f., 120 ? 3; Oszczanowski/Gromadzki 1995 p. 90 ? 303; Tylicki 1995 I p. 371-375 II, p. 176-179 ? II.1.3.
48. Cp. Alewyn 1926; Scheyer 1932/33 p. 526-537; Cieśla 1952; Szyrocki 1956 p. 109-133; Iwanoyko 1957 p. 24-32; Garber 1984 p. 131 ff.; Tylicki 1995 II p. 332-368.
49. Sommerfeld 1901.
50. Opitz 1636.
51. Trunz 1975.
52. Benesz 1991; Szczepiñska-Tramer 1992; Tylicki 1995 I p. 400-407, II p. 108-114, ? I.1.27. None of the authors mentioned draws any reference to the contemporary confessional state in Danzig in his interpretation of the picture, cp. Cieślak 1990.
53. Sommerfeld 1901 p. 250 ff.
54. The text of the new charter is found in Tylicki 1995 II p. 319 f.
55. Szyrocki 1956 p. 71-83; Szyrocki 1964 p. 20-24.
56. Batowski 1916 p. 9, 23; Scheyer 1932/33 p. 530 f., 534; Iwanoyko 1957 p. 91-94 ? 4;Tylicki 1995 I p. 662-665, II p. 16-20, ? I.1.7.
57. Nowadays in the Biblioteka Uniwersytecka in Wroc?aw, manuscripts section. Batowski 1916 p. 10, 13 fig. 1; Scheyer 1932/33 p. 530, 533 f.; Iwanoyko 1957 p. 107 f., 120 ? 4 fig. 36; Oszczanowski/Gromadzki 1995 p. 90 f., ? 304; Tylicki 1995 I p. 375-379, II p. 175 f., ? II.1.2.
58. Gryphius 1635. Cp. Wentzlaff-Eggebert 1936 p. 27-34; Szyrocki 1959 p. 43-70.
59. Only in 1970 the picture was convincingly attributed to the painter by Jaromír Neumann, cp. Neumann 1970. Other attempts at an interpretation of its difficult content worth mentioning are: Seghers 1961; Szczepiñska-Tramer 1991; Tylicki/Meyer 1993; Tylicki 1995 I p. 442-460, II p. 42-64, ? I.1.14.
60. Cp. Jurkowlaniec 1992; Jurkowlaniec 1995.
61. Cp. Harasimowicz 1986 p. 38, 40 ff.,59, 70-71; Harasimowicz 1992 p. 127 ff., 133-143.
62. Opitz 1633 p. 68.
63. Cp. Schings 1966 p. 166-181.
64. Bruckner 1971 ? 136.
65. Cp. Wallmann/Sträter/Matthias 1992 I p. 412-416, 443-452.
66. Cp. Fauth 1997.
67. Gryphius 1663 p. 677. Cp. Szyrocki 1959 p. 102-105; Trunz 1992 p. 92-97.
68. Tylicki/Meyer 1993; Tylicki 1995 I p. 442-460, II p. 42-64.
69. Szczepiñska-Tramer 1991.
70. The only Coat-of-Arms present in the picture belongs to the Breslau prelate. Oszczanowski/Gromadzki 1995 p. 119 believe him to be the donator of the picture.
71. Cp. Szyrocki 1964 p. 78-102; Wiedemann 1984 p. 457-468; Habersetzer 1985.
72. Eberlein 1901; Wiesenhütter 1926 p. 13-21; Grundmann 1970 p. 18-27; Banaś 1971 p. 35-89; Harasimowicz 1994 p. 139-142.
73. Banaś 1969.
74. Heuber 1906; Banaś 1971 p. 53-61; Hutter 1983.
75. Worthmann 1902; Worthmann 1929; Bunzel 1958; Banaś 1971 p. 61-64; Hanulanka 1973 p. 116-137; Seidel 1995.
76. Kalinowski 1974 p. 50 f.
77. For additional reference on this subject cp. Göttler 1996 p. 23-126.
78. Gumiñski 1972 p. 243-260.
79. Patzak 1922; Kalinowski 1969; Kalinowski 1977 p. 108 ff.; Kalinowski 1986 p. 121-124.
80. Harasimowicz 1995.
81. Schöffler 1956 p. 68 f.
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