Revue Pamiatky a múzeá - Summary 2/2005
Sebastian Majsch, the Painter of Marksmen's
The written documents of Sebastian Majsch's (1807-1859) contacts with the significant Bratislava Marksmen's Association come from 1838. The first targets we can ascribe to him without any doubt come from 1841. His artistic career culminated in the 50s thanks to several commissions to paint church interiors. Minimum three of his targets have been prserved in the collections of the Bratislava City Museum. The first is the target painted on the occasion of the celebration of Emperor Franz Joseph I' arrival to Bratislava on August 13th, 1852. A section of the vista of Bratislava from the Patržalka side with pontoon bridge is painted on the dark background on the asymmetrical cartouche from leaves and rocailles. The vista is almost identical with the large votive picture, Majsch painted for the basilica in Mariazell on the occasion of a jubilee pilgrimage, which took place in that year. The target framed by the asymmetrical cartouche, reflecting the residue of Baroque philosophy of painting, looks a bit archaic, but at the same time owing to its painting standard, ranks among the best targets we know, made by the master.
The target with the Emperor's portrait in Austrian officer uniform comes from 1854. The Emperor is painted on the bank of the Patržalka side of the Danube: part of the town vista with the castle is painted on the right in the background. According to the text on the ribbon with inscription which hems the target, the Association donated it to its patron, General Major and Commander of the Military District Anton von Ruckstuhl on the occasion of the Emperor's birthday on August 18th, 1854. Also the decorative target of May 29th, 1855 with a crowned two-headed eagle, where in the medallion there is a view into the interior with marksmen's targets and the Emperor's portrait in a large gilded frame could have been made by Majsch. Two years before his death Majsch painted another target with the Emperor's portrait - on the occasion of his visit to Bratislava on August 24th, 1857, when the Sovereign in person opened the "Imperial Shooting" for the Bratislava Marksmen's Association and won the first prize. As we can see in the inscription on the target's perimetre (Geschossen von Seiner K.K. Apostolischen Majestät Franz Joseph I am 24-ten August 1857 zu Pressburg) it was the so called opening target of the Imperial Shooting. A small black target with a concentric circle was the place hit by the Emperor. In the bottom part of the target, in the oval cartouche a three quarter portrait of the Emperor in hussar jacket with general's rank and the order of the Golden Fleece and a star to the great cross is painted. The richly framed medallion with vista-like turned acanthus leaves is in sharp contrast with the austere official portrait. Both portraits of Franz Joseph painted on marksmen's targets together with the altar picture of Lord's Transformation on Mount Tabor in the church of the Holiest Saviour in Bratislava (1854-1859) rank among the earliest Majsch's famous works.
Only a torso has been preserved from originally numerous S.Majsch's works. In the light of our present day knowledge it is just the marksmen's targets which represent the essential part of the known works of the artist labelled as painter of sacred pictures in literature. On the basis of the research in the marksmen's target collection in the City Museum, we can ascribe him at least a share in the authorship of ten or eleven targets. The research proved that he worked for the Marksmen's Association for over twenty years, actually till the end of his days. He reminds us permanently of various significant events not only in the Asssociation's life but in Bratislava as well as in the period before and right after the mid 19th century.
Short Recording of the World in Slovak
Textbook of 1760
In the mid 18th century (in 1784)"The Latin Introduction into Contemporary World Geography" (Introductio in orbis hodierni Geographiam...) by Johann Tomka Sásky, a prominent Slovak geographer, with the introduction by Matthew Bel and a little dictionary of Slovak geographic terms in considerably bohemized form was published in Bratislava. The first geography textbook for basic schools written in comprehensible language, slovakized Czech, was the textbook by Ladislas Bartolomeides "Geography or Description of the World with Six Maps Engraved by His Own Hands", published as late as 1798 in Banská Bystrica.
The book which has not been published but is one of the sources of the Historical Dictionary of Slovak Language, published by the Ľudovit Štúr Institute of Linguistics of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Veda since 1991 has more striking Slovak features. It is a hand written geography textbook "Short Recording of the World, Which is a Small List of Countries, Towns, Waters and also Diverse Nations," A.D.1759, completed in 1760 (the work can be found in the Széchényi Library in Budapest, sign. Quart. Slav. 37). This is a relatively free and topicalized translation published all over Europe, even in Trnava (in 1745 and 1755) and Košice, of the Latin geography textbook "Geographica globi terraquei Synopsis", compiled from the works of the German geographer and pedagogue Johann Hübner (1668 –1731). The Slovak text was based also on the older Trnava publication of 1745. The Enlightenment and popular didactic character and the mission of the work is explained in "The Introduction to the Reader", where the work is presented as a useful pastime, which teaches by words and pictures about the world. The work presents the basics of mathematic geography, information about the poles, about the climatic zones, meridians and parallels, about the equator, Zodiac, about the movement of the Earth and other planets. Its objectiveness is to be stressed also by the pictures of the Earth's hemispheres, continents and countries. The Slovak text, though it originated in the environment of university in Trnava, was not written as a textbook, by no means as a university one, but as a popular, educational book, a handbook on one's own country, on Europe and the world. The author, (or the translator) however, knew also Copernicus' heliocentric views. The forms of geographic names testify to the author's effort to "slovakize" the text. Most probably he did not know the Czech forms of the names. The author (or translator) drew altogether 28 maps to the text. He came from western or central Slovakia and used cultured west Slovakian dialect, which was one of the recommended forms of Slovak language. We know that we should look for the author in the environment of the university in Trnava and that he probably came from the former Trenčín Comitat. However, we shall have to wait for the name of the author of the first Slovak geography textbook.
18th Century Cartographer's Technical
The 18th century maps were worked out in quite different civilization conditions and by absolutely different technical equipment (instruments) which can be hardly compared with the geodetic and cartographic technology used today. It was just in the 18th century when we could record general development of science and technology. Improvement and development of new technical aids and apparatuses, whose practical aim was to present more exactly the geo-relief of the country was the result of the overall trend in the area of cartography in the Age of Enlightenment. In this connection we should stress that particularly astronomic measurings with the definition of geographic coordinates, meridians and parallels contributed definitely to greater accuracy of the maps of that period. Improved and more precisely made instruments, mainly compasses and quadrants, enabled more precise measuring of angles, distances and constant points. General definition of the basic meridian was one of the key problems of the 18th century cartography. Researchers were not unified as far as its geographic position in the terrain was concerned, which reflected in the fact that each more significant country in Europe used in its maps other basic meridian. Also the most significant Slovak 18th century cartograher Samuel Mikovíni (1686, 1700? – 1750) contributed to this chaos too. He defined the basic, zero meridian, also called the Bratislava meridian (meridiano Posoniensi) which ran through the north eastern tower of the Bratislava Castle. However, this meridian, as well as many others, till then and even later used ones (Ferrara, Paris, Nuremberg, Bologna, Berlin, Vienna, Gusterber, Buda and the like) was not finally accepted. Mikovíni had also merits in triangulation of the country by processing the trigonometric net of triangles in the 30s of the 18th century. He based his measuring network in Bratislava (castle, north eastern tower), Svätý Jur (church), in Nitra (Zobor), at the mountains Vojšín and Sitno and in Banská Bystrica. He joined them into the network of triangles with exactly measured top angles. He placed the basic points of trigonometric network in the territory of Slovakia, though he carried out measurings also in other parts of the monarchy. Even by this, Samuel Mikovíni was ahead of his period. The triangulation of the whole Hungary began to be defined much later, as late as 1806 during the second military mapping.
Theodolites in which the original counting precision of defining degrees and semi-degrees improved to 5 – 2 minutes, began to be more frequently used for measuring degrees with large area triangulation in the second half of the 18th century. Technical equipment of the 18th century cartographers did not meet the mapping demands in solving the grandiose task of mapping the whole of the Austrian Monarchy in the period of the first military mapping (1769 – 1785). From the aspect of mapping proportion 1 : 28 800 it was the most detailed mapping in Europe in those days, but was not grounded by good quality geodetic basis. The greatest drawback of this mapping consisted in the fact that there did not exist a unified triangulation network of the monarchy. That led to simplified approach to defining the coordinate system in the field, which in turn negatively influenced the quality of the maps with all the necessary consequences.
Sword – the Most Efficient Weapon of Antiquity
The first specialized weapons originated as late as the Bronze Age, which started about four thousand years ago in Slovakia. However, the production of new weapons was very demanding: they were made by casting into the so called lost mould. The first swords appeared in Europe in the Middle Bronze Age. The swords from Jur near Bratislava and from Zalaba can be considered to be the oldest finds in our territory. Particularly the military élite of the militant and expansive grave mound people cultures was armed by such weapons in our region. According to our knowledge in the New Bronze Age also our territory became one of the sword production centres. Concretely northern Slovakia had a good raw material basis and owing to that local development of metallurgy was recorded there. The members of the Kalenderber culture, who came here from the Upper Danubian region brought to Slovakia the knowledge how to process iron. We can speak of mass spreading of swords only in connection with the Celtic expansion. The Celtic arsenals were a sort of overture to the arrival of the Romans in Central Europe.
Slavs began to use swords probably as late as the 7th century under the influence of the Avar armies. The Avars, brought to the Carpathian basin eastern nomadic types of swords and sabres, but gradually took over also the armament from the arsenal of their western neighbours - the Francs. This concerns mainly the special swords which got into the Avar environment just owing to Germanic tribes. We can find in their armament also the heavy swords from west European workshops. From the aspect of the used weapons an interesting development took place at the end of the 8th century in the territory north of the Avar "caganate" i.e. in present day Slovakia. The proces in which the Slavonic power élite developed took place there. The so far known archaeological finds indicate the connections with Franconian environment probably as a counterbalance to the Avar pressure. The ostentatious sword, found in Turčianska Blatnica, made in one of the top west European arms producing workshops is an unambiguous evidence of the mentioned development. We can duly label it as one of the most valuable artefacts of this kind in Europe of the day.
Neither in the period of the Great Moravian Empire swords became the standard military equipment. This was not caused only by the possibilities of the ruling families, but above all by the lack of swords on the market. Slovak smiths obviously were not able to make swords of demanded standard and their import was limited. Franconian and northern arm makers protected their production secrets. This concerned particularly the production of the cutting edge by the so called technology of "damascing". Franconian rulers repeatedly issued orders prohibiting merchants to export arms into the countries of Slavs and Avars.
However, men armed with swords did not disappear from the battlefields after the disintegration of the Great Moravian Empire and its successor states. Sword production was simplified, their production increased hand in hand with the strength of the units fighting with these weapons. Their fame lasted till the invention of firearms.
Monastery of the Augustinians in Veľký
ELENA MIROŠŠAYOVÁ – ANTON KARABINOŠ
The Augustinians – monks of the order of St. Augustin settled in close proximity to the road to Poland running right through the town of Veľký Šariš in 1274. The site is now a sports area, known as the Castle Terrace, named after the no longer existing Rákoczy family residence.
We have serious historical documents about the monastery's existence, only its localisation has remaind problematic. During the archaeological research in the area of the Castle Terrace, carried out by the Institute of Archaeology VPS Košice in cooperation with the County Museum in Prešov, fragments of a stone wall 120-140 cm wide and twenty four meters long were unearthed. Homogenous layer of building debris above the wall in the whole northern profile indicated that the building of the discovered wall was systematically liquidated and the terrain was levelled. The corner, supporting wall, or the foundation built from massive sandstone was unearthed too. When cleaning the bottom in the inner side a considerably damaged brick paving was discovered. Massive remains of the walls indicated the existence of a church or a large fortification building. Both buildings, the church and the castle are, however, reliably identified, so there is the only alternative to define the discovered tract preliminarily as a part of the Augustinian monastry complex.
The first, and the oldest building phase, coming from the period before the arrival of the Augustinians was the most striking - four quadratic pedestals made of stone were unearthed. In the other probe the oldest building phase was represented by peripheral walls, walled bases of the pedestals and a sepulchre marked by tombstones. The general picture of the peripheral walls of the building was completed by the excavation by the probe No.III which found its north western corner. It is probable that the building continued further eastwards, where the research, as it was a private property, could not continue.
The exact date of the monastery's disintegration is not known. According to some indications this happened sometime between the 70s and 90s in the 16th cenury. The Augustinians later left for the abbey in Brno (the only Augustinian one). Their departure was planned and organised. Minimum of finds from the period of their existence found during the archaeological research testifies to this fact. The situation of the finds in the mentioned site testifies that building material from the abandoned buildings was used up and the area was levelled and an alley of linden trees belonging to the castle was planted there. At the end of the 16th century the Rákoczys settled in the palace below the castle. From the castle, where in 1700 Francis II Rákoczy was arrested for the prepared conspiration against the Habsburgs, only one outbuilding (a granary?) and a stone with the gold silhouette of the castle situated outside the place where the building stood, have been preserved. Still less have been preserved from the Augustinian monastery.
Wooden Churches Built Following the Letter
of Tolerance in Slovakia
Though at the turn of the 16th and the 17th centuries most inhabitants of Upper Hungary adhered to Protestantism, the life of the Evangelical worshippers was concentrated in a few church corporations. Owing to the defeat of the last significant Antihabsburg uprising of Francis Rákoczy II the dominant position of Catholic Church was intensified. Charles III by two decrees in 1731 and 1734 repeatedly limited the rights of Protestants in the country, apart from other things also by the fact that public services were permitted only in spiecial places and only special congregations could have their preachers. Following the Letter of Tolerance, however, the life of the Protestant worshippers began to develop quickly in the country.
The churches built following the Letter of Tolerance are generally the buildings built between the years 1782 - 1800 and partly those, whose construction was carried out in the first third of the 19th century. Till 1791 as many as 85 new walled Evangelical churches were built in the territory of present day Slovakia and till the end of the 18th century there were 131 of them approximately in 150 newly established church congregations. Only exceptionally wood was the building material of those churches. In that period wooden churches were built probably according to the financial conditions of individual church congregations and also because in some places wood was the most accessible and cheapest building material. Those churches were architecturally based on the older ones built in the first third of the 18th century with characteristic crosss articulation. In some cases they were partly modified into the buildings with simple oblong groundplans. The foundations were mostly made as block log-cabin construction without any architectural and artistic details in the exterior. The building was dominated by a relatively huge hip roof with wooden shingle covering. In the interior, similarly as in the wallled buildings, the difference between the aisle and sanctuary was lost and in such a way stressed the Protestant principle of priestly character of all worshippers. Also the space solution of the interior church furnishing was adapted to this idea. Unfortunately, not even one wooden church serving still liturgical purpose built at that time has been preserved. The only so far in situ existing wooden church is in the small village of Dužava not far from Rimavská Sobota, originally from Selce, where it was built in 1786. When the congregation was able to afford building a new, larger church, they decided to sell the old one for 450 gold coins. In 1807 the building was taken to pieces and transferred. Only incomplete and brief information exists about the great number of other wooden oratories and churches built by the worshippers following the establishment of church congregations and the Letter of Tolerance.
It is interesting that the churches built in Upper Hungary served as models for the new churches built mainly in Moravia. After the issuing of the Letter of Tolerance the Moravian Protestants did not have enough educated preachers. They began to invite the Evangelics of Augsburg denomination and Calvinists from Hungary, who brought with them the already known models of the existing sacred buildings with concrete functional and space solutions. We can suppose that to a certain extent some churches of this type in Upper Hungary became free models of similar wooden churches in Moravia, mainly in the region of Valašsko.
Manors in Krasňany. History of the Value of
ZUZANA ŠEVČÍKOVÁ – VIERA OBUCHOVÁ
Two autonomous Late Renaissance two storey palaces, built side by side almost at the same time, can be still found on the List of Sights in Slovakia of 1968. The older building was situated eastwards and was built in 1678, the younger at the end of the 17th century. The present day complex is the result of building connection of the two palaces. On the basis of archive-historical research we know that the history of the building complex dates from the first half of the 16th century, as in the Deed of 1561 the Pongrácz family declared as their residence an old fort in Krasňany, which they reconstructed into a new fortified castle. The older building ranks to the group of block architectures with towers. Similarly as other examples (Brodzany, Hájniky, Necpaly, Diviaky and others) it had painted tectonic parts, loopholes on the ground floor and in the attic as traces of its defensive function. We can say that the transformation of the fort into a family residence took place in the last third of the 16th century. The second, younger palace was built probably in the first half of the 17th century, in spite of the old opinion, that it was built after the fire in 1654. The grandiose reconstruction changes the old concept: the original palace of block character with protruding prism-shaped towers was extended by a three wing building with three circular corner towers, which fulfilled rather ostentatious than defence function. Typologically the building originated at the turn of the period when ostentatious aristocratic buildings of new type with U-shaped groundplans, central yard and defensive forrtress began to be built. On the ground floor there are loopholes and whitewahsed broad line in the plaster. However, the windows on the first floor are framed with stone and have windowsills. The new building with the U-shaped groundplan, joined to the old palace, has staircase loggias which make accessible the upper floor of both buildings.
Both buildings are typical of the territory of Slovakia in the 16th ad the 17th centuries. The design of their renovation ensues from the preserved condition after the reconstruction in the 20th century, as no older plasters and paintigs have been preserved. Two alternatives were suggested for the renovation of the exterios: to preserve the present condition or to renew the original fortress character of the building. The reconstruction of the decorations from the 20th century is the starting point for the future renovation. The younger palace could be reconstructed in such a way as to make it look as it was about the year 1700 including its colour.
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