Holy Cards. Prague Devotional Prints of the 18th and 19th Centuries
Jiří Lukas, Petr Píša, Michal Wögerbauer
The City of Prague Museum, 2017
A book published for the exhibition of the same title.
Small devotional prints represent a specific source of knowledge of the religious life in Bohemia not only during the re-Catholisation after the mid-17th and 18th century but also during the period following Joseph II’s church reforms and the Napoleonic wars in the first half of the 19th century, a period that introduced a new lifestyle and philosophy. This publication does not seek to cover and describe all the circumstances related to holy cards during the pursued period but at least to capture the basics and some important milestones in the development of this specific graphic production. The initial study titled The Miraculous Pilgrimage through Baroque Prague will introduce folk religious items – miraculous statues and paintings venerated in Prague churches and pilgrimage chapels as well as their history and presentation in devotional prints. The second study, which briefly covers the production and printing of holy cards in Prague after the decay and revival of religious life during the first half of the 19th century, is supplemented with the traceable biographic dates of Jan Pachmayer (1775–1832), one of the most prominent printers in Prague at that time, and a list and description of 153 specimens of holy cards from his workshop in the collection of the City of Prague Museum. The third study titled The Censorship of Holy Cards in the First Half of the 19th Century describes in detail the complex approval process of the artistic and textual content of holy cards by state and church offices from the end of the 18th century to the abolishment of preliminary censorship at the beginning of the revolution in March 1848. The anthology is concluded with a list of Prague copperplate and steel engravers, printers of copperplate engravings, lithographers, book printers, booksellers, and publishers from the late 18th to the second half of the 19th century whose activities affected the production or trading of holy cards.