Two Devotional Images

Johann Veit Kauperz (1741–1815)

Johann Veit Kauperz (1741–1815)


Saint Sebastian and Saint Roch

Congregation note from Fohnsdorf (Styria)


Bottom left: J. V. Kauperz sc.Græcii


Inv. no. AG.K. 3597



Saint Sebastian


Etching and stipple engraving

Inv. no. AG.K. 3742

In formal terms, art experts assign these two small-format works to the genre of private devotional images – meaning they consist of religious depictions solely intended for private prayer. Such images could be found in prayer and hymn books, but also on walls or on the insides of cabinet doors and inside book covers.


Johann Veit Kauperz (1741-1815), the most famous of the 18th-century copper engravers in Graz, created numerous works of this kind. They were of extremely high-quality. Empress Maria Theresia was an enthusiastic supporter of such images and would gladly offer them as gifts to her relatives and friends. This underlines the propaganda capacity of these small works – by disseminating these prints, the House of Habsburg was sending out the message that it supported the Catholic Church.


In times of epidemics, the focus tended to be placed on portrayals of the plague saints. Consequently, such depictions were mainly of Saint Sebastian and Saint Roch.

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