It is a rare case in Poland, so often devastated and plundered, to find a work of art surviving in its original shape, and coupled with a contract commissioning an artist to produce it. This is the case of a classicistic monstrance, funded by Hugo Kollataj, a Cracow canon and an outstanding philosopher, writer and politician of the Enlightenment Age, for the church in Krzyzanowice near Pinczów, where it survived until today. The recently-found contract not only indicates the date (1787) and the maker (Tobias Hoffstaedter), but also reveals that the monstrance was to be ready in one and a half months, and a delay was to induce a contractual fine. Its cost (together with a protective case) was 890 Polish zloties (excluding the value of precious stones supplied by the customer). The contract was supplemented with a drawing that showed its size and shape and the material was clearly specified as 'copper, generously gilded on all sides'. Hoffstaedter fulfilled all the conditions of the contract and executed the commission excellently. The information on the craftsman is scarce. His home town was Graz in Austria. Since 1777 he was a citizen of Warsaw. He was a brass-smith, not a goldsmith, as his profession was named in the contract, and he was one of the founders of the Warsaw guild of brass-smiths. By accepting the commission from Kollataj, Hoffstaedter exceeded his authorisation, as such contracts were reserved for goldsmiths. The unquestionable identification of Tobias Hoffstaedter as the maker of the monstrance from Krzyzanowice has helped to pinpoint some of his other works. In Krzyzanowice there is a magnificent ciborium, produced by the same craftsman. Another radial monstrance by Hoffstaedter has survived in Sieciechów. In Zaborów there is an almost exact copy of the monstrance from Krzyzanowice, probably commissioned in 1791 by Karolina and Placyd Izbinski. The above-mentioned examples are probably not all the surviving works of Tobias Hoffstaedter. Further research will certainly extend his oeuvre, especially that copper or brass artefacts, less valuable than golden and silver ones, had more chance of escaping confiscation or theft. (12 figures)
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