Revue Pamiatky a múzeá - Summary 2/2017
Main altar of Master Paul in Spišská Sobota
This study focuses on the significant work of Master Paul of Levoča that celebrated half a millennium of its existence last year. This representative altar of St. George, dated to 1516 on the division section on the right-hand side, was ordered by the townsmen of the rich but small privileged town of Spišská Sobota in the Spiš region, with the aim to decorate the sacral interior of the local Church of St. George. The church dominates the lens-shaped square of Spišská Sobota, with the silhouette of the High Tatras mountains in the horizon, and manifests the unique woodcarving work of the late-gothic era in the Spiš region.
The retable of St. George represents a real Gesamtkunstwerk, meaning a related and stylish comprehensive artwork, which capped the first and started the second phase of Paul’s work. His latter artworks, in the course of the first third of the 15th century, fundamentally influenced the interior sacral architectures in the Spiš as well as the surrounding regions. The author of the article particularly focuses on the exceptional quality of the wing retable’s figural carving, the altar’s traditional three-part structure and its renaissance decoration, which was new at the time. He analysis the spiritual significance of the work’s iconography, which seems conventional at first glance, but after a detailed inspection shows a hint in the carver’s hesitation about the validity of the medieval positive-negative understanding of good fighting evil.
Master Paul broke this traditional black and white conception with an inconspicuous gesture of the depicted dragon, which clenches one of its hind legs into a fist with a thumb sticking out between two toes. By using this mocking “fig sign”, Paul encrypted the message of ever-present evil amongst the people on Earth. It remains unclear, though, whether the benefactors of the altar extension approved of this secret intention, or whether they even knew about it.
Zuzana Krempaská – Miroslav Števík
Gallery of representatives of the Province of XVI Spiš Towns
The community of Spiš Saxons, which stretches its beginnings to the 13th century, formed the basis for the Province of XXIV Spiš Towns. This split into two parts in 1412. Part of the Spiš region was offered as an assurance to Polish kings and these towns created the Province of XIII Spiš Towns in 1416. Along with these assured towns, three others ended up in the hands of the Polish kings: Podolínec, Stará Ľubovňa and Hniezdne. Altogether 16 Spiš towns shared their fate throughout the course of 360 years. The Hungarian Kingdom regained full administrative control over them in 1772.
The national cultural monument Provincial House is the architectural gem in the town centre of Spišská Nová Ves. It is one of the most significant non-religious historical buildings in the Spiš region. Originally a town hall, it was named Provincial House in 1775, when it became the administrative centre of the Province of XVI Spiš Towns (1774 – 1876). Since the 7th of May 1951, for 66 years, it has worked as the Spiš Museum.
The recently reconstructed rooms of the Provincial House display the History of Spiš through narrating the building and historic development in the region and in the town of Spišská Nová Ves, as well as the history of the Province of XVI Spiš Towns. The most precious set of artwork in the museum are the portraits of the functionaries of the Province of XVI Spiš Towns from 1775 and 1778. This unique collection of 24 images (later added by two more) represents the late baroque portrait art in Spiš region. Eight paintings have been reconstructed and some presented to the public after almost 150 years.
The portraits of functionaries and administrators of the Province of XVI Spiš Towns, as well as reeves of individual towns in this union, could be divided into two groups: the first includes reeves of 16 Spiš towns (16 images with texts) and the second functionaries and administrators of the province (5 images with text, 3 no text). The paintings with text are dated to 1775, however images of three reeves do not match archival sources. The artist (artists?) of the paintings remains unknown.
Hunting lodge of Count Forgách
After Count Stephan XI Forgách built his charming hunting lodge in the Slánske Vrchy mountain range (eastern Slovakia) at the end of the 19th century, it became his favourite residence. The house dominated the locality of Okrúhly vrch (Round Hill) and the count gradually kept spending more time there than in his manor house in Slanec. Until his death in 1916, the hunting lodge was the place, where aristocracy from all around the Hungarian Kingdom would meet for great hunts. In 2016, on the occasion of Stephan Forgách’s 100th anniversary of his death, the lodge was declared the Significant Forestry Place of the Slovak Republic and added to the list of 46 other such localities. The Forestry and Wood Processing Museum in Zvolen acted as the monument’s expert guarantee and the Eastern Slovak Museum (VSM) in Košice also participated on the occasion with its property collections of the Forgách family.
The author of the article focuses on two family albums of the Forgáchs, now kept in VSM, which came from the property of Francis Charles Forgách-Waldbott (1921 – 1945), son of Baron Kelemen Waldbott and his wife Elisabeth Forgách. The first album is preserved in quite a good condition, with 48 pages and photographs of the Slanec castle ruin, Slanec manor house, nature of the Slánske Vrchy mountain range and four photos of the hunting lodge at Okrúhly vrch. Apart from the mentioned images, there are also 18 photos capturing the family holiday on the Greek island of Corfu. The second album is in worse condition, with individual pages falling out. It has 45 photos in total, mostly from the holiday at the Adriatic coast in today’s Croatia, where we can identify the locality of Dubrovnik and Split. Few photos are of Slanec castle ruin (6) and hunting lodge (2).
The albums entered the museum after the end of the Second World War, when the hunting lodge was abandoned and started to deteriorate. In 1985 it was demolished. With the albums, the museum also acquired portraits of the Forgách family members, part of Stephan Forgách’s library and some rare furniture. Many items from the 18th and 19th century, however got irretrievably lost in private ownerships and their fate is unknown.
Košice health care buildings in the first half of the 20th century
The first public hospital in Košice opened in 1831 in the town centre. In 1907, Košice architects and developers Arpád and Géza Jakab built the Institute for Educating Midwives and at that time a modern maternity hospital, which was designed by famous Budapest architect Sándor Baumgarten (1864 – 1928). Košice acquired the site for building a new State Hospital in 1909 and commissioned Budapest architect György Kopeczek with the project. Because of the First World War, the building works did not start until 1916. Košice State Hospital, administered by the Ministry of Public Health and Physical Exercise in Prague, was ceremonially opened on 24th of June 1924. Only 7 out of a total of 14 planned pavilions were opened, with 600 beds. In 1937 the hospital had 15 pavilions and 947 beds. It was the largest and most modern hospital in Slovakia, and its main pride were the four surgical wards.
A complete change in the hospital’s departments and personnel came after the Viennese arbitration (1939 – 1945. Among those who also had to leave were the Czech architects and builders, who helped with the building development in Košice between the wars. One of them was Rudolf Brebta (1885 – 1953), who designed the so-called Masaryk’s social house in the area of the State Hospital (1928, 1930 – 1932). It had the cultivated features of the 1920s Prague School and was built by the Košice branch of Czech developer Alois Novák. In cooperation with another Czech architect Václav Bartoš, the company also built the modern building of the Czechoslovak Red Cross at Comenius Street, in the northern part of the city.
The author of the article also mentions two cases of public health care, in which the church assisted the state during the interwar period. The anti-tuberculosis outpatient service of the Czechoslovak State Railways in Košice was built following the decree from 9th October 1924, which capped the building of the local health and social care network. Czech architect Julius Zigmund (1881 – 1934) designed the building and the Novák’s company built it. The modern two-storied outpatient building was completed on the 30th of November 1929. In 1942 and 1943, when the Health Insurance Company of the Hungarian State Railways owned the building, the architecture was amended with an extension designed by Ferenc Kopváry from Budapest, which was realised by the significant local architect Lajos Őry (Oelschläger).
The Nursing School of the Daughters of Christian Love of St. Vincent de Paul was built in Košice near the State Hospital in 1932. It followed the same principle as the first Nursing School at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, established by F. Nightingale in 1870. It was built by Košice architect Július Wirth (1881 – 1945) and served its purpose until 1938, when Košice was usurped by Hungary. After 1948, the state began to abolish all religious schools in Czechoslovakia. The sisters from the State Nursing School in Košice were deported at the end of the school year of 1949/50. The next year the school was renamed Higher School of Social Healthcare – Nursing. Later, the Council Office of Košice-Juh moved in there. The religious sisters came back to this former nursing school after 1989.
Coburg family from Svätý Anton with their connections to Brazil
The owners of the manor house in Svätý Anton (Antol), the Coburg family made their first connection with Brazil 150 years ago, when two Coburg princes married Brasilian princesses in different historical periods. In 1836, Mária da Glória (1819 – 1853), the daughter of the Brazilian Emperor Pedro I became wife of Ferdinand August Franz Anton of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Mária da Glória became the queen of Portugal in 1834 and her husband received the king tile, after their heir was born. Quarter a cenntury later, the nephew of the Portugese king, Ludwig August of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha visted Brazil and found himself a bride there too.
The Coburg princes also liked to explore Brazil as a travelling and natural destination. Ludwig August’s brothers, Philipp and Ferdinand (future Bulgarian tsar) visited Brazil in 1879. The renowned explorer and traveller Doctor Jindřich Vávra accompanied them. Since it was a natural research expedition, they brought various kinds of exotic birds and plants back to Europe. The Coburg princes also climbed the Itatiaia Mountain and proved to be good climbers. The Bulgarian tsar Ferdinand Coburg visited Brazil again in 1927 – 1928 and was mainly interested in exotic birds and plants, especially bromeliads.
The exhibition Secret Graphic Prints, which took place at Bratislava Castle at the end of last year (November 23 to December 31, 2016) presented rare collections of the Svätý Anton Museum. It was divided into three parts – one explained the relatinship of the Coburg family with Brazil, the second presented the history of Sv. Anton’s mansion and the third displayed 30 copies of large-scale graphic prints, vedutas of European towns from the 18th century that were collected by the mansion’s former owners.
Ján Batka (1845 – 1917)
Johann Nepomuk Anton Batka Jr, personality of Bratislava cultural life, was born in Bratislava on the 4th of October 1845. He graduated from the Hungarian Royal Catholic Main Grammar School on the 16th of July 1864. Originally, he wanted to study music, but he listened to his father and in 1864 enrolled to study Law Academy, from which he graduated on the 24th of July 1868. Three years later he married the daughter of a Bratislava businessman, Maria Walent (1846 – 1915). In the 1860s he started working for the city council as practitioner in law (Rechtspraktikant). After 5 years, he became the typist at the city’s main league (Stadthauptmannsamt), where he got promoted to the deputy city captain after one year. In 1879 Batka was appointed the city’s keeper of archives. He remained in this post for 38 years until his death.
Ján Batka played a key role at organising the cultural life in the city. He was a recognised music and art authority in Bratislava. Through his personal contacts, he promoted music of the new romantic period, mainly F. Liszt, R. Wagner and H. Berlioz. He spread the word about the Russian composers of the 19th century across the Slovak territory and admired the Bratislava native, composer and pianist Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778 – 1837). As a secretary of the Clerical Music Society (Kirchenmusikverein zu Sankt Martin), he participated at organising the regular November celebrations of the St. Cecilia festival (Cäcilienfeste).
From 1878, he was a member of the city theatre and from 1882 a member of the board of directors (Directions Mitglied) of Pressburger Singverein singing club. Batka was also active as a publicist. He mainly wrote for Bratislava, but also Vienna and Budapest periodicals. He worked with the local Pressburger Zeitung newspaper for almost 50 years. He wrote entries about the musicians of the Hungarian Kingdom for the Fétis’s encyclopaedia Biographie universelle des musiciens et bibliographie générale de la musique (Paris, 1880). He edited the literary works of the music historian and tutor August Wilhelm Ambros (1816 – 1876). Batka was also interested in fine art. He was one of the founding members of the Bratislava Art Society (Pressburger Kunstverein) in 1885. Together with art historian Alfred Ilgo (1847 – 1896), he wrote a monograph on sculptor F. X. Messerschmidt, which was published in 1885.
Ján Batka died on the 2nd of December 1917. His personal belongings are now kept in the Bratislava City Archives, City Library, Bratislava City Gallery and Bratislava City Museum.
Juraj Červenka – Veronika Szeghy-Gayer
War pilot Albert Bujanovics and his mausoleum in Uzovce
There is very little known about the participation of Austro-Hungarian air forces on the fronts of various parts of Europe during World War One. People from all around the Habsburg Empire, including the territory of today’s Slovakia, were in the service of the imperial and royal air corps (Kaiserliche und königliche Luftfahrtruppen). One of those pilots was the native of Uzovce in the Šariš region, First Lieutenant in reserve Albert Bujanovics.
He was born in 1895 in Uzovce (today’s district of Sabinov). He was a Roman Catholic and graduated from a grammar school. One of the army documents states that he spoke Hungarian, German, French and Slovak. He entered the 5th Honved Hussar regiment in Košice in 1913 and began to attend air force school on the 1st of November 1916. In April and May 1917, Lieutenant Bujanovics was the member of Flik 40 air force (Fliegerkompagnie) and took part in 11 operational flights. From June 1917, he served at the Soča front (Soča River), which ran through today’s Italian-Slovenian borders. Then came the fatal accident. He crashed his Hansa-Brandenburg C.I from some 20 metres, while practicing a flight over San Giustina airport on the 19th of March 1918, and died on the spot. He was 22 years old.
After this tragedy, the Bujanovics family, who came from today’s Croatia and was raised in the aristocracy in 1780, built a mausoleum in Uzovce, which is a unique national cultural monument. There is no other sepulchral monument in Slovakia that would be built for a hero of the First World War, especially as an organic feature of a large English garden at a manor house estate. The exact date of the mausoleum’s construction as well as the name of the architect or builder is unknown. It is possible that it was built following Albert’s death in March 1918 and after his remains were transported to Uzovce. The plans of neither the mausoleum nor the Uzovce manor house reconstruction have been preserved. All that exists is one period photograph of the mausoleum. Soviet soldiers plundered the mausoleum at the end of the Second World War and vandals continued to devastate it after the family was moved to Hungary.
The mausoleum was declared a national cultural monument in 2015, which is the first step for starting a renovation. The municipality plans to revitalise the historic park, which would be dominated by the Bujanovics family mausoleum and a monument of the First World War.
14th century wall paintings in Plešivec church
The research of the medieval wall painting in the Gemer region, which took place in 2012, revealed new findings from the 13th – 15th century. The most significant is the series of frescos in the presbytery of the reformed Christians church in Plešivec. The author of the article offers its iconographical as well as art-historical analysis as a starting point for further study.
Plešivec is situated 15km southwest of Rožňava and used to be a significant medieval town. In its centre is the Church of St. George, which dates to the beginning of the 14th century. It was originally built as a Roman-Catholic church for the Bebek family, in the location of an older building. A chapel, which stands out amongst the late-gothic buildings of the former Hungarian kingdom, was added to this gothic church with a single nave and polygonally finished presbytery in the 15th century.
The presbytery and also part of the nave received a quality decoration painted in the second half of the 14th century. The attack of the Ottoman army in 1558 destroyed the gothic vaults, the entire western wall and the majority of the nave’s walls. In 1617 the reformed church started to repair the building. The interior received a flat ceiling, medieval paintings were covered with lime coats and only one of Seneca’s quotes from the original inscriptions was fragmentally preserved. The windows in the presbytery were restored using original stone and new windows were added to the nave. By building over the portal they separated the northern chapel. The southern entrance was extended with a vestibule with a square ground plan. A wooden western gallery was added in 1627. With its richly carved and painted forehead it is a quality example of Gemer’s renaissance art.
The first frescos in the church were uncovered during the renovation in 1895. Since then, the figures of two saint kings have been presented on the exterior wall and the figure of an apostle in the interior. In 1977 they unveiled and reconstructed two scenes of the Christological cycle – The Last Supper and Crucifixion on the southern wall of the presbytery. Since 2012 they have kept visible the unique 14-century fresco decoration in presbytery. The team of restorers led by Peter Koreň managed to uncover fragments of the medieval paintings inside the nave as well as outside the church. The fresco technology, advanced figural modelling and compositional proximity evidently relates to the works of Italian Trecento, suggesting an Italian master working in Plešivec.
Ladislav Vincze – Henrieta Žažová
Romanesque church in Levice-Kalinčiakovo
The Reformed Church in Kalinčiakovo, the town part of Levice, is one of the oldest buildings in Slovakia. It was possibly built in the middle of the 12th century, on a gentle hill on the right bank of the Sikenica River. Preparations for its reconstruction are on the way, which meant an archival research was carried out prior to that. Its results brought new knowledge on the building’s historical look, as well as unpublished photographs.
The municipality of Kalinčiakovo is first mentioned as Wosyan in the document published around 1290. It had been in the heritage property of the Simoniov family, the descendants of Count Hont, until the 18th century. The builders of this originally Roman-Catholic church in the Romanesque style were most probably local aristocrats, however, there is no written evidence preserved. Medieval documents do not contain a single mention about the Kalinčiakovo church. The modern documents of the Roman Catholic clergy record three references about this Church dedicated to St. Anna. The Simoniov family built it and Calvinists violently took over it in 1655.
The authors of the article studied visitation reports of the church from 1682, 1731, 1761, 1779 and 19th century. They illustrate the constructional development, reconstructions and renovations of the church’s individual parts, mainly the truss and roof. In 1864 they re-painted the church interior, covering rare wall paintings. The first to point out this fact were the builder and conservationist Imre Henszlmann, who visited the church in 1878, and the author of the monograph on Tekov’s seniority of the Calvinist clergy K. Kiss (1879). More detailed information about the paintings was documented in 1907, as part of the church renovation.
The church condition rapidly worsened between 1910 and 1913. The Hungarian monuments commission decided to fund the renovation, but the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 destroyed the plans. The church was finally reconstructed in 1932, under the supervision of architect Václav Mencl. It was then seriously damaged during the Second World War and the general renovation did not take place until 1958 – 1959. The latest reconstruction works were carried out in 2003 – 2004, after the building was struck by lightning.
Tulle Bobbin Lace of the Myjava Highlands in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Slovakia
The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Slovakia registered the tulle bobbin lace that is still being made and used in the Myjava Highlands in 2016. The list currently chronicles 13 cultural traditions of Slovakia. Out of the 18 local and regional traditional bobbin laces that were recorded in Slovakia in the middle of the 20th century, the tulle bobbin lace of the Myjava Highlands is the finest and most difficult to make. It originated in the eastern Czech town of Vamberk, from where two sisters, lace makers moved to the municipality of Krajné in the 1880s. From there, the lace making spread to other villages and in the 1940s it was mainly made in the areas of Myjava, Brezová pod Bradlom and Krajné. After the Second World War, people gradually stopped wearing traditional folk costumes, which meant less lace making.
The change came in the second half of the 1990s, when a lace making activity group was founded in 1997 in Brezová pod Bradlom, today’s Club of Brezovská Lace Making. The members not only made the laces but also collected and documented them. The organisation of courses, as well as the documentation and promotion of the tulle lace making in the region is administered by the Centre of Traditional Culture in Myjava. The lace is still being made in Kostolné, Košariská, Prašník, Priepasné, Turá Lúka and Vrbové.
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