Franz Caucig

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Franz Caucig, ca. 1807

Franz Caucig, Franco Caucig or Francesco Caucig,[1] also known in Slovene as Franc Kavčič or Frančišek Caucig (4 December 1755, Gorizia – 17 November, 1828, Vienna)[2] was a Neoclassical painter and drawer of Slovene origin.[1] He is one of the best representatives of the Central European Neoclassicism.[3] He attained the highest positions and recognitions of all the artists of Slovene descent.[4]


Caucig was born in Gorizia, at the time the capital of the Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca. The count Guido von Cobenzl, who spent the last years of his life in Gorizia, recognised the talent in the young boy, so when he was 20, he sent him to his son Philipp, who was very influential at the Austrian court, and who then greatly contributed to Caucig's education and further career.[1] Caucig studied the first principles of art at Vienna, and went, aided by a grant, in 1779, to Bologna and to Rome, where he remained until 1787.[5] From 1787 till 1791, he lived in Vienna, and in 1791, he was enabled in the same way to visit Mantua, where he particularly copied Giulio Romano and reliefs on ancient sarcophagi.[5] From 1791 to 1797, he resided at Venice, where he was in 1796 named a member of the committee of the Accademia di Belle Arti.[5] He returned to Vienna in 1797, and in 1799 became the professor of drawing at the Vienna Academy.[1] In 1810, Caucig's nestor Cobenzl, who was the protector at the Academy, died and was replaced by Prince von Metternich.[1] In 1815, Caucig was offered the post of the director of the Painting and Sculpture Class, but refused it, and accepted it only in 1820.[1] He held the office until his death.[4] He died due to a pneumonia four days after the death of his wife and was buried in Gloggnitz, a town in the mountains of Lower Austria. They had no children.[1][6]


Caucig's best-known painting Judgment of Solomon, based on the Biblical story. Oil on canvas, ca. 1817.

Caucig was acquainted with the French Neoclassicism (for example, he saw the Oath of the Horatii in 1784), but was most influenced by Raphael and by the School of Bologna, and also by the Baroque in the sense of dramatic diagonals.[3] He was clever as a draughtsman, and created over 2000 drawings, the themes being the Italian and Austrian vedute, antique works of art and the works of arts of the Old Masters.[7] He mainly depicted themes from the Antiquity,[3] the Bible, and lives of the Christian saints, and some of his images were classified as belonging to the Egyptian Revival.[1][8] His works illustrate secular moralistic beliefs, according to the wishes of his purchasers, such as in contrast to the Christian moralistic depictions of earlier periods.[3] However, he also created altar paintings and portraits.[9] He created over 30 oils.[2] In accordance with the ideals of his era, lines are sharp, the composition is transparent and balanced, and the ratios of figures and objects are proportionate, the space is defined with architectural elements, whereas colours are cold and of secondary importance.[2] Specimens of Caucig's works are kept in Ljubljana, in Vienna, in Hungary, in Italy, in Czech Republic, in Serbia and in the United States.[10]

External links[edit]

  • Retrovizor: Franc Caucig (in Slovene). Television production. The video presents the recordings of Caucig's works and the interviews with the director of the National Gallery of Slovenia and the curator of the exhibition of Caucig's works in 2007. Start time: 6:20. Authors: Doblehar, Andrej. Kočevar, Marko. Papič, Milivoj. Website: MMC RTV Slovenia. Published by: Televizija Slovenija. Date: 2 November 2007. Accessed on: 18 February 2012. (Rich content - may be viewed with Windows Media Player or RealPlayer).
  • Od risbe do oljne slike on YouTube (in Slovene) [From a Drawing to an Oil Painting]. Video presentation of Caucig's works, with titles in Slovene. Created for the exhibition in 2007. Author: Hribar, Luka. Music: Schubert, Franz, Impromptu No. 3, Op. 90. Website: YouTube. Publisher: National Gallery of Slovenia. First published in November 2007. Uploaded to YouTube on 24 January 2012. Accessed on 18 February 2012.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Kamin Kajfež, Vesna (2010). "Franc Kavčič (Caucig) in egiptomanija" [Franc Kavčič (Caucig) and Egyptomania] (PDF). Annales, Series Historia et Sociologia (in Slovenian, English, and Italian). Scientific and Research Institute of Koper, University of Primorska. 20 (2): 363–372. ISSN 1408-5348.
  2. ^ a b c "CAUCIG (KAVCIC) Franc (Xaverius, Antonius, Nicolaus)". Primorski slovenski biografski leksikon [The Littoral Slovene Biographical Lexicon (in Slovenian). 3. Goriška Mohorjeva družba Hermagoras Society of Gorizia. 1976. pp. 171–172. COBISS 53576.
  3. ^ a b c d Menaše, Lev (27 December 2010). "Al' prav se piše Kavčič ali Caucig". (in Slovenian). ISSN 1854-6544.
  4. ^ a b Rozman, Ksenija (October 2007). "Franc Kavčič/Caucig: Paintings for the Palais Auersperg in Vienna". National Gallery of Slovenia. Archived from the original on 28 December 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  5. ^ a b c "Franc Kačič (Caucig)". 19th and 20th century painters. National Gallery of Slovenia. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  6. ^ Širok, Štefan (15 June 1872). "Slavni slovenski slikar: France Kavčič" [The Famous Slovene Painter: Franz Caucig]. Zora: časopis za zabavo, znanost in umetnost [The Dawn: A Newspaper for Fun, Science and Art] (in Slovenian) (12). Janko M. Pajk. pp. 177–179. ISSN 1854-1607.
  7. ^ Rozman, Ksenija (November 2010). "Franc Kavčič/Caucig: Themes from Antiquity". National Gallery of Slovenia.
  8. ^ Steska, Viktor (1925). "Caucig Frančišek". In Vide Ogrin, Petra (electronic ed.). Cankar, Izidor et al. (printed ed.). Slovenski biografski leksikon (in Slovenian). ISBN 978-961-268-001-5.
  9. ^ ZB NOB Vrhnika (2009-10-26). "Obisk pobratenega mesta Gonars" [A Visit of the Sister Town Gonars]. Naš časopis [Our Newspaper]. 63 (365). Municipality of Lukovica. p. 6.
  10. ^ "V objemu nežne antične bukolike" [In the Embrace of the Gentle Antique Bucolic]. MMC RTV Slovenija (in Slovenian). 23 October 2007.