Revue Pamiatky a múzeá - Summary 1/2007
Dzeravá skala – cave settlement in late Stone Age
The Dzeravá skala cave is located in the cadastre of the Plavecký Mikuláš municipality (the Malacky district). At around 22-metres deep, the rock cavern is a known archaeological site. Between 1912 and 1913, J. Hillebrand found traces of a settlement there from early Palaeolithic times. In 1923, F. Horálek, who co-worked with the doyen of Slovak archaeology Professor J. Eisner, discovered remains of a fireplace, five stone hatchets and pieces of ceramics from the Lengyel culture and in the main from the late Stone Age. It was F. Proško from the Archeological institute ČSAV in Prague, who in 1950 picked up on J. Hillebrand’s exploration. The largely disturbed Holocene layer produced findings from the modern, medieval and younger bronze periods, mainly from the Ludanic culture. However, only a fraction of these rich findings has been preserved– the Slovak Museum of Nature Protection and Speleology houses three partly reconstructed bowls, ceramic fragments, a clay spike, bone bodkins and a veritable split stone industry. The grave of a child up to one year old and laid down in a squat position was one of the discoveries of significance.
An inspection of the archaeological research directed to the late Stone Age was carried out in the cave in 2002 and 2003. Nine fragments of copper items were found, which were originally parts of jewellery or decorations. To prevent further destruction of the Holocene cultural layers, caused by uninvited public and terrain adjustments for filming adventure movies, the Slovak National Museum – Archaeological Museum in Bratislava, in cooperation with the Town Museum in Pezinok, underwent another rescue research in 2005, during which three separate probes were opened. Two of them were evidence of a large devastation of the cave sediments, reaching as far as the rocky bottom. The vital information led to the search of the C/05 site that spreads over almost 22 square metres and where a lot of splinter material and animal bones were discovered. The finding of 21 fractions of copper items, mainly decorations, items of jewellery or clothing accessories came as a surprise. Especially appealing are the remains of massive cast circle bracelets and part of a spiral wrist-decoration.
Biely Kameň Castle
The ruins of the Biely Kameň castle can be found in the Malé Karpaty mountain
range that overlooks the town of Svätý Jur. The name of Biely Kameň (White
Stone, or Weissenstein in German) first appears in the 15th century; a map from
the start of the 17th century calls it arx (castle, fortress, manor house).
There were two castles above Svätý Jur in the Middle Ages at consecutive times.
We do not know when they built the first one, whose primary function was to
guard. It stood to the north of today’s ruins of the Biely Kameň castle. The
archaeological research of Ľ. Kraskovská from the Slovak National Museum carried
out in 1957, 1958 and 1962 proved the existence of the pre-historic (Halstat)
settlement, as well as traces of material life in the 13th and 14th centuries.
It also proved the existence of (the castle’s) fortification from the 13th
century in a southern part of the locality. The current archaeological research
provided by the Malokarpatské musem in Pezinok since the summer of 2006 suggests
the existence of medieval sacral building.
Abraham I, the descendant of Sebes I from the Hunt-Poznan family, built the second Svätý Jur castle (Biely Kameň) before 1270. It served an old aristocracy of Slovak origin as an administrative, economic and military centre of their estate. It was part of the defensive castle system on the Hungarian Kingdom’s western border and at the same time controlled important business routes from Bratislava to Trnava, Stupava and Záhorie. The sophisticated equipment for a continuous supply of drinking water points to the castle’s intensive life up to the 16th century. The medieval water piping was carried through pipes made of baked clay, which ranged from 7.7 to 13 cm in diameter and 55 to 58 cm in length. It was distanced circa 3,000 metres from the spring in the woods and led to a tank cut into rock. The castle was probably built in two phases. The inner castle, with an early-gothic irregular rectangular (45 x 30 m) outlook and two towers, was built in the last third of the 13th century. The dungeon standing in the middle of a small courtyard dominated the castle’s centre. The second construction phase at the end of the 14th century gave rise to the lower, outer castle with its prismatic entrance tower and guardroom, and two other towers, from which the so-called water tower protected the mentioned water tank. Despite having developed a fortified system, the castle was conquered in the 15th century. The thick destruction layer containing ash also comprised fragments of ceramics and iron construction, as well as a variety of military equipment, such as iron and stone gun balls, reed spikes for crossbows, and many silver pfennigs of Friedrich III.
The Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Vyhne
The municipality of Vyhne, at a distance of 10 km from Banská Štiavnica,
became famous for mining silver, gold and later iron ores, having its own
brewery and ferriferous healing springs. The first written evidence about the
locality comes from 1326. The mining and processing of the precious metals is
documented from the 14th to 18th century. It was during this time, that the
local spa was also thriving, hosting many significant personalities from
political and cultural life. The roman-catholic baroque-classicist Church of St.
Michael the Archangel, built on a mound above the municipality’s centre,
dominates Vyhne. Regarding the architecture of the church built in 1776, the
most valued documents are the three original project designs of 1774, 1775
and 1776 by three people – Jozef Pircker (Pircher), Martin Sturian and Matej
Lechner. It was the design of mason master Jozef Pircker, originally from Tirol
and from 1765 a townsman of Banská Štiavnica, responsible for several
constructions and reconstructions in the town and its surroundings, which was
finally realised. According to other archives, Pircker also supervised the
The architecture of the Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Vyhne relates to the period of rococo and baroque classicism of the last quarter of the 18th century. It consists of a nave finished with presbytery and pre-built belfry on the western front. The front part is structurally divided with piedroits, corner rustic work and horizontal stripes in the tower’s central part. The tower is finished with a three-level cupola. Adjacent to the tower is a small round tower with spiral-staircase leading to the choir and organ loft. The stone portal of the church entrance is simple, classicistic in style and with a mining symbol and 1776 dating in the middle.
The main, late-baroque altar is devoted to St. Michael the archangel, the favourite patron of miners. The centre features a painting of St. Michael the archangel, victorious over the Devil. Wooden sculptures of the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, the altar top with sanctuary and a pair of kneeling angels are at the sides. Based on comparative research, we assume that the central painting is a copy from the altar image at the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Banská Štiavnica (aka “German”) with the same name. It is the work of Anton Schmidt from the first half of the 18th century. The plastic decoration of the main as well as side altar of St. Anton from Padova, the ambo and baptistery was made by an Austrian sculptor, probably Michael or Frantisek Rässner, Dionyz Ignac Stanetti or his co-worker Juraj Peter Götz. The most significant church relic is the side altar with the painting of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary by Viennese painter Vincenz Fischer. It looks as though it was a study for the main altar in the “German” church of Banská Štiavnica. Both altars were made between 1805 and 1809 and the same themes point to a related benefactor.
Gothic forms in early-baroque carving
The large sculpture of St. Martin with the Beggar,
an inseparable part of the permanent exposition of the Eastern-Slovak Museum in
Košice, is a well-known example of early baroque woodcarving in our territory.
As implied by the carving’s inscription, Simon Reiter made it in 1686. The work
used to be part of the unpreserved Martin’s altar at the St. Martin’s Cathedral
in Spišská Kapitula, from where it was removed along with other equipment during
the re-Gothicism process at the end of the 19th century. This is where the known
facts end. Any other efforts to better understand the work of Reiter have failed
so far. Nevertheless, the work is a great indication of early baroque trends in
woodcarving in this territory. Its style, for example, bears evidence of the
historicist tendencies prevailing in Spiš in the 17th century, especially, the
conscious return to the forms of late gothic style visible in the face types,
drapery patterns and figures’ isolation, as well as in the inclination to
naturalism. When looking at the horse rider cutting his coat, the link to late
medieval forms is so convincing that one might wonder, whether it was not an
older work that was re-worked and completed with the beggar’s figure.
The normative art history had long refused to return to the artistic forms of the previous periods, considering them to be expressions of lower quality provincial art. Interest in studying this topic in Central Europe only increased in recent decades. Slovak art history has also made the first steps towards interpreting gothic reminiscences. Along with traditions that are fading away in our territory, more interesting and more creative was the process of conscious revitalisation. The Spišská Kapitula’s St. Martin with the Beggar by Simon Reiter is a typical example of the gothic revival of the 17th century. Moreover, Spišská Kapitula was the main centre for the revival of Catholicism in northeastern Upper Hungary at that time. The work by Reiter, however, was not the first of this type in our territory. Significantly smaller, but similar in theme, was the early baroque carving of St. Martin on the side altar at the Žehra Church. To reliably prove the artist’s connection requires more research as well as a better understanding of the local work of the period.
Zuzana Francová – Želmíra Grajciarová – Marta Herucová
Women of the Bratislava Arts Association
Art cultivation spread from aristocratic echelons to ordinary society in the 19th century. Public exhibitions became exclusive social events – just as in the English and French environments, where art was first cultivated at the academies but after half a century also outside of them. The idea of “art saloons” dispersing inside Austro-Hungary spread likewise into the rather small area of Pressburg (today’s Bratislava). The aristocrats and high-ranking townsmen (not artists, one could assume) took the initiative of founding the arts association Pressburger Kunstverein- Pozsonyi Képzőművészeti Egyesület (1885 – 1945). It was one of almost 4,000 associations found in the territory of what was then Hungary, but first in Slovakia. Its main intention was to enrich the town’s cultural life with exhibitions, and sell the works of local, as well as Italian, Austrian and Hungarian artists. It also remembered to support other talent. The Bratislava Arts Association originated at a time when public appreciation was the domain of the men’s world. The women’s position was clearly defined: education and earning money was considered inept. Not everybody accepted those opinions; the real change though came only after the First World War. Of the 319 members invited to the first general meeting, which took place on May 17, 1885 at the town hall, 70 were women. Mainly countesses and baronesses, potential art admirers rendered the event the mark of grandiosity. Many of them would have been artists or painters, because knowing how to paint was considered part of a good upbringing. Many women exhibited with the association, but often we do not know whether they were members or not. In many cases we only know the women’s names, addresses and the titles of works they exhibited. The members of the Vienna association, the Genossenschaft der bildenden Künstler Wiens, were also present at the Bratislava exhibitions. Later, Budapest painters replaced them. The number of men massacred in the post-war period gave women a greater opportunity; it opened the gates to the world of education and public functions for them. The Viennese Academy of Fine Arts began to officially accept women and girls for the winter semester of 1920/1921. Professional women were also welcomed in the reorganised Bratislava Arts Association. Art historian, Dr Gizela Leweke, born Weyde, entered it in 1920. She was the only woman to hold several positions between 1926 and 1928: she was the association’s secretary, deputy chairwoman and finally honorary member.
Zuzana Zvarová – Peter Horanský
Old winery school in Modra
The town of Modra lies at the foot of the southern
side of the Malé Karpaty. The first written evidence from 1256 refers to it as a
village (villa Modur). Modra received subordinate town privileges in 1361 and
the toll rights in the middle of the 15th century. In 1607 it became an
independent royal town and between 1610 and 1646 it built the town
fortification. During the 17th and 18th century Modra was burned down several
times (1631, 1647, 1730). In the 19th century the town’s significance waned in
favour of nearby Pezinok.
The solitary edifice of the former winery school is situated within an area once called the Upper Suburb at 20 Horná Street. A conservation research was carried out there at the start of 2006, before planned reconstruction. It brought up some interesting findings. The inner courtyard of the four-wing building is designed as an irregular rectangle and is only accessible from the south, through a narrow vaulted passage. Three of the building’s wings are two-floored; the southeastern wing being one-floored. From the artistic-architectural viewpoint the most valuable is the northwestern wing. It is built as a one-tract on both floors; the stems dividing it into a row of additionally shelved rooms. In the middle of the courtyard façade is a portico formed by a brick pedestal with Tuscan columns on both floors. Where it reaches the second, aboveground floor, it becomes part of the balcony that gets supported with an iron renaissance construction with a metal railing. A hall with wainscot and a staircase dominates the wing’s interior. The southwestern wing has a corner renaissance bay window at the level of the second floor. The staircase in this wing leads into the garden. The baroque sculpture of the Pieta, embedded in the portico with angular columns and a roof, decorates the view from the front. The garden is divided into two, with a decorative park arrangement and free landscape. Small architectural works from the 18th and 19th century are dispersed throughout.
The oldest reference to the building, which was defined as a mill in the archive sources, dates to 1780. During the 18th and the first half of the 19th century, it often changed owners. In the end, Knight Arthur Polzer from Polcer, the chancellor of Emperor Charles I of Habsburg, purchased the building and the lands in 1912. The Czechoslovak state bought the building and lands in 1922 for the winery and fruit school, which that year moved from Bratislava to Modra. It stayed there until 1954.
Out of Bratislava radio buildings
The Košice branch of Radiojournal began its work on
April 17, 1927. It used to sit in an unsuitable part of the old post office
building and had only a radiotelegraphic transmitter at its disposal. In 1928,
when Košice received a phonic transmitter, the construction of a radio building
at Moyzes Street started. Broadcasting began on October 1, 1930. The Košice
radio started running at the same time as the Bratislava one, which housed the
oldest radio building in Europe after Munich’s Funkhaus. The new building in
Košice specifically served the needs of radio. There were two studios, a
technical lab and offices for the personnel that also covered the Hungarian and
Ruthenian (Rusyn), or Ukrainian, broadcasting.
In autumn of 1938 the Radiojournal had to leave Košice as a result of Viennese arbitrage. It moved to Prešov, where it first worked in a provisional setting (Hotel Savoy, local theatre, old college). In 1944, when the works on radio rooms in a new post-office complex had finished, the military authority told the branch to evacuate to Banská Bystrica. After the occupation ended, the radio returned to Košice. In 1948, the local building became the seat for the Eastern-Slovak Studio of Czechoslovak, and eventually Slovak radio in 1993. Prešov, as a radio site, was not in the running. Later, however, it accommodated Ukrainian broadcasting in the villa on Vajanský Street, which started working on August 20, 1948. A new building was erected in 1986, where the employees of the newly established national broadcast – the Roma and German, later Polish and Czech – moved after 1989. On August 31, 2003, Prešov radio was cancelled.
Banská Bystrica showed interest in becoming a radio seat in the1930s. A later administration activated the transmitter near Banská Bystrica in 1936. Its proximity was to prove decisive in the moving of the Prešov branch to Banská Bystrica in 1944. The participants of the Slovak National Uprising used the evacuated technical equipment installed at the Evangelical society for their broadcasting in August 1944. Along with the Warsaw uprising’s Blyskawica radio and Yugoslavian resistance broadcasters, Banská Bystrica radio also played a significant role in the European resistance during World War II. Czechoslovak radio established a provisional studio there in 1957. The real Banská Bystrica radio centre, which works up until the present, started its operation on August 29, 1962.
The unknown past of the Hodkovce manor house
The manor house in Hodkovce (part of the
Eastern-Slovak municipality of Žehra) is unknown to the public despite the fact
that there is a church with unique wall paintings in Žehra and that it is close
to the Spiš castle. The manor house is a one-floor, four-wing building,
constructed in the classicist style with late baroque arrangement. Two large
reconstructions gave it its basic form – one in the classicist-empire style and
the other in the neo-period. Count Emanuel Csáky was responsible for the first
one after 1780 and Count Koloman Csáky the second after 1860. In the eastern and
southern part of the manor house that faces the French park, the Csákys created
a private museum. In it, they arranged items collected by all generations of the
Spiš castle lords. Helena Csáky-Forbes was the last owner of the manor house,
yet before the Second World War broke out, she left for England.
The manor house was lucky, during as well as after, wartime. Compared to similar places, it was not harmed by armed conflicts or the consequences of post-war looting. The vigorous disagreement of Dr Vladimír Wagner from the conservation department at the Education Ministry and National Edification had saved it several times from having had the army accommodated in its rooms and from other incongruous interventions. Up to 1948 the manor house seemed to be outside of the interest of the new state’s administration. During the confiscation process that year, it was suggested that they build a state museum there. The Agriculture Ministry received the manor house into its sphere and on July 18, 1949 it moved under the auspices of the Agricultural Archive in Levoča. In the middle of 1950, the house’s family museum collections and stylish furniture were still open to the public. However, when the Commission for Work and Social Care took over the manor house in 1951, it threatened to cancel the museum. After urgent meetings, the Hodkovce manor house was pronounced as state cultural property on April 14, 1952. The national culture commission represented by Dr Oľga Wagnerová accepted it under her administration on June 22, 1951. The work of the commission, however, soon ended. Its agenda shifted to the Slovak Conservation Board and despite its effort, it failed to prevent the collapse of the museum rooms when in the early part of the 1950s came the urge to use the manor house in a “social” way, which came as a result of its now dreadful state and the low museum attendance. The Social Care Institute settled there in 1957. The relics that had been saved from the Csáky collection and the original furnishings of the manor house are dispersed in museum expositions right across eastern Slovakia.
Wooden churches – nomination to the World Cultural and Natural Heritage List UNESCO (WHL)
In July of 2006, the Slovak Republic submitted another nomination project for inscription to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. This time it was a collection of wooden churches of the Slovak part of the Carpathian mountain range. It was to be added to the already enlisted localities of Banská Štiavnica, Vlkolínec, Spiš and Bardejov. The wooden churches personify the spiritual culture of the folk creators using their natural feelings for the material and practical experience. It is the wood, as a construction material, which characterises the Carpathian region. The imaginary line dividing the political and religious influence of the western-Roman (Latin) and eastern-Roman (Byzantine) cultures, each with a different understanding of liturgy, leads right through the Central Carpathians. The area therefore features various rustic cult works. The contextual as well as formal differences in understanding Christianity became significantly reflected in the local architecture. Moreover, the region was a home to a heterogenic ethnicity with distinctive religious, cultural and social manners. This formed the basis for those who worked on the nomination project. They tried to select the most characteristic examples of the wooden sacral constructions in Slovakia that would display their diversity. The criteria included the authenticity of the basic historical construction, art-crafted and artistic decoration of its original interior, and also the authenticity of the adjacent surroundings. Logically, they also considered the current construction-technical status and the use of the material. Only the “in situ” constructions, those still serving the liturgical needs of the local Christian community, were taken into account. In the end, eight wooden churches and cathedrals from three Christian confessions – the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Hervatov and the Church of All Saints in Tvrdošín (the Roman-catholic church), articular churches in Kežmarok, Leštiny and Hronsek (the Evangelical church of the Augsburg confession) and the churches (cerkvi) of St. Nicholas in Bodružal, St. Michael the Archangel in Ladomírová and St. Nicholas the Bishop in Ruská Bystrá (the Greek-catholic church) – were nominated to the List.
Baroque painting of the Trinity monastery in Trnava
The Trinitarians – the Religion of the Holy Trinity,
originally built the Jesuit monastery that sits in the historical centre of
Trnava’s Conservation Zone, which was between 1710 and 1782. After the religion
was annulled in 1784, the monastery buildings fell into the hands of the royal
secondary grammar school. In 1807, the Benedictines took over the church and the
school. Later, in 1852 the buildings returned to the Jesuits. After abolishing
the monasteries in 1950, the place was administered by the State District
Archive of Trnava. Since 2002 it has been back in the hands of the Society of
The monastery, which is a national cultural monument, comprises of several wings forming a large block determined by the Štefánikova and Františkánska streets. The article in this magazine focuses on the wing facing Štefánikova street, which underwent a restoration research between December 2005 and February 2006. From the stereotypical findings, the larger room on the ground floor caught interest. Underneath a thick layer of coating, in the middle of the vault, appeared a colourful painting – a closer probe found the Holy Trinity in a round mirror. Other examinations proved that it is an original baroque painting in the secco style, preserved almost over the entire room – ie. in the vault and walls up to 1.5 metres from the floor. With regards to the exceptional nature of the discovery, the owner decided to completely reconstruct it, with the financial support of the town of Trnava.
The strongest part of the interior is of a variety of pastel colourfulness. The expressive areas serve as a basis for floral and figural motifs, and characteristic themes related to Trinitarianism – especially the Sacred Trinity, the religion’s founders and a variety of expressions concerning their own particular sorts of activities. It is the only room with such a profuse decoration within the monument itself. It probably served as a socially superior, but unknown function. There is no analogy in the region to this painting, dated to the first half of the 18th century. Nevertheless, it is obvious that it is a result of combining the period taste and the possibilities with a reference to the short duration of the religion of the Trinity in the town as well as inside the place itself.
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