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Revue Pamiatky a múzeá – Summary 1/2009

Jana Kalinayová-Bartová
instruments on a wall painting in Martinček

Rare medieval wall
paintings were revealed and restored in the Roman-Catholic Church of St. Martin
in Martinček (the Ružomberok district) a few years ago. This discovery was to
beg several questions concerning the paintings’ iconography, dating, origin and
inspiration sources. Historians, whose focus is on medieval music, have also
shown interest in the painting, as its oldest layer, situated in the church’s
presbytery, depicts figures with musical instruments which have hitherto never
been noticed in Slovakia . In his article the author looks at an organological
identification of the pictured musical instruments, their significance in the
painting’s iconographic programme and the problem of their relation to period
music practice.
Six figures with musical instruments decorate the upper
half of the horizontally divided wall-painting in the presbytery, while the
lower part is filled with figures of the twelve apostles. The apostles and the
musicians are similarly grouped in accordance with the architecture of the room
– they are painted in pairs on the northern, eastern and southern walls of the
presbytery. Windows divide the pair on the southern and eastern wall. A late
insensitive window adjustment on the southern wall has meant that only a
fragment now remains of the musician sitting to the left of the window, which
makes it extremely difficult to identify the musical instrument.
pictured instruments are representative of that group of string instruments
which in the Middle Ages expressed the humility of prayer, the celebration of
God, the harmony between man and God and served as a medium to healing. Apart
from the biblical zither, they were to include a whole range of newer
instruments – the lyre, along with its younger version the “rota”, and the
triangular instrument possibly known as the psalterium whose archaic image
copies the gothic harp. Other depicted string instruments are the cetula (or
citola, or cethera), the fidula, a medieval predecessor of the violin, and the
ala, or ala bohemica (a type of psalterium shaped like a bird’s wing).
it comes to music historiography and historical organology, the depictions of
the Martinček instruments ought not to be considered as proof of their having
been used in medieval music in our territory, particularly if they had used to
visualise religious theme. In Slovakia, only the fidula, psalterium and harp,
the instruments commonly used in Europe, are accompanied by additional
iconographic documents and reports from written sources.

The late gothic pulpit in Kežmarok
The four stone
embossments originally from the former pulpit in the Parish church of the Holy
Cross in the Spiš town Kežmarok (germ. Kesmark) have been almost forgotten over
the last few decades. Their absence in the art historical consciousness is a
result of their inaccessibility, since they have been deposited in the parish
house with limited public inspection. No surprise that this has had an impact on
their physical condition too.
The subject of the embossments is the four
church fathers and St Helene. They have been executed in course of the final
phase of the church’s building, together with two southern portals, which are
dated into both 1486 and 1498 respectively. Especially the younger one, with a
figurative program, shows such a similarity that the pulpit and the portal’s
architectural details (in fact, more than the sculptures) may be assumed as
being produced in an identical workshop. The most progressive parts of their
decorations include the so called “Astwerk” (germ.), a sort of vegetal
embellishment that is formed from branches rather than geometrical fials and/or
ribs. In the embossments, the branches growing from miniature diamond pedestals
develop into rich curling ornamented baldachins over the figures. If we assume
that the pulpit was created some time around 1500, the relief decoration would
be an example of rather early reception of the Southern German, or Saxon late
gothic in the medieval Hungarian Kingdom.
The way of mediation between those
regions and the Spiš County will be subject of further research. The town of
Kežmarok became in the last third of the 15th century property of the powerful
magnates family Zapolya represented even in one of the coat of arms in the
smaller portal of the church 1486. It remains questionable, if it was Stephen
Zapolya († 1499) or his widow Hedwig from Teschen († 1521) who commissioned the
decorations of the younger porch 1498 and the pulpit. Such assumption seems
plausible, though with no evidence in the known written sources

Radoslav Ragač
The festive days of Kremnica Franciscans

In spite of the alternating successes of the several wars that she
led, Maria Theresa’s forty year long reign proved to be the time when Hungary
was to effectively heal its wounds caused by the long-term battles against the
Turks and when this heretofore stagnant country was to start the process of
gradual modernisation. The central Slovak mining area had also begun to thrive
at this time. An even larger region was to be opened for various benefactor
activities and redevelopment. The influx of plenty of money in an established
town environment, along with a recatholicized spirit, fostered by the activities
of religious orders and a baroque form of spirituality, were together to provide
a breeding ground for the organisation of various sacral and secular
One of the sources for studying this phenomenon is the yet
unknown ornamented manuscript Historia domus of the Franciscan priory in
Kremnica, from 1759 – 1773, which is stored in the Slovak National Archives. The
Kremnica’s Franciscan friars belonged to begging orders and the priory formed
part of the stricter, Salvatorian province of the Hungarian Franciscans.
Nevertheless, they actively joined the religious and (in part at least) the
secular festivities. The history of the priory is a rich source of information
about the festive days not only of the Kremnica Franciscans but also of the town
of Kremnica. In 1759, the building of the Loretan Chapel was finished in the
priory and a described manuscript was launched on the occasion. We have selected
several samples of interesting events that happened in Kremnica at that time.
The diarist of the great part of the history of Kremnica, as well as a busy
observer of its life, was the representative of the town’s Franciscans, Cyril
Machacz. The provincial canonry named him as the priory historian
((Proto-Historicus) on May 20, 1759 in the Gyöngyös monastery. It is not yet
known who added the chronicle’s other records.
The visit of future emperors
Joseph II, his brother archduke Leopold II and prince Albert of Saxony, which
started on July 26, 1764, was undoubtedly the highlight of the secular
festivities in the studied period. Prior to that, cleaning and renovation works
took place throughout Kremnica, including the Franciscan priory – the
Franciscans, for instance, renovated the arch of triumph. The chronicler
describes in detail the arrival of the delegation and its welcome by uniformed
riders and foot soldiers, one half of which were the townsmen and the other the
representatives of the mining chamber. The Reeve, Anton Körmendy, dressed in
ceremonial Hungarian clothes, handed them the town keys. The Franciscans also
attended the welcome, standing on the square at the coin factory. Ceremonial
services as well as a procession were held at the parish church throughout the
following two days.

Tomáš Janura
The yeowomen of Liptov in
the 18th century

Information about the private lives of country
noblewomen in the 18th century can be gleaned through written sources of a
personal and official nature. A little used source of information so far has
been the court’s files on Hungarian counties, which have been split into several
independent groups, including inquisitions. An objection to abuses was delivered
at a general (or particular county’s) congregation on behalf of a concrete
nobleman, noblewoman or their representative, which got recorded. Then, the
county’s officers (serving and sworn associates) investigated the protest’s
justification. They then recorded down the interrogation with the witnesses of
the event that was the subject of the argument. These testimonies were the basis
for the law-suit which was subsequently held at the closest county court.

From the interrogations preserved in the Liptov county fund, 180 files refer
to yeowomen. These include in addition the legal conditions for the
administration activities of the yeowomen, which were determined by Hungarian
laws. Based on those, only aristocratic widows were freed from the power of
their husbands and fathers; marriage liberated them from their fathers’ power
and the husbands’ dominance over their wives stopped with their deaths. The
widows could thus freely decide on managing their own as well as their husbands’
property. The managing possibilities of widows were vast and fully comparable
with those of yeomen, who, based on their wealth, employed a certain number of
employers. Only children could restrict a widow’s management activities. If she
had none, or she only had daughters, she could remain the head of the property
till her death. If she had sons, before long, she would have to pass the
husband’s assets onto them. They in consequence were bound to take care of

Simona Jurčová
The Trnava Sharpshooters

The Trnava Sharpshooters Society is one of the oldest
societies in Trnava. Archive documents chronicle its existence and activities
from 1752 to 1891. Representative entrance papers from 1860 even record the year
of 1750 as the date of the society’s foundation. The society itself however
traces its origin back to the Middle Ages, and in 1838 celebrated 600 years
together with Trnava’s anniversary of becoming an independent royal town.
Unfortunately, archive documents have not supported these implications. The
Trnava sharpshooters brought together rich burghers and they were supported by
local aristocrats. They followed the guidelines approved by the monarch in 1838.
From their members they elected the society’s management committee who
administrated the correspondence, accounts and archive. They had their own
emblem, flag (white-green with a black target in the middle) and stamp. New
members received a commemorative document of the society’s membership (two have
been preserved from the 1830s and 1860s). All members regularly paid the annual
fee (Jahres Schilling). They kept documentation on the finances (account diary)
and shooting (shooting protocols). They helped with the preparation of the big
town’s events, and participated at official town and church festivities. Apart
from the public activities, the sharpshooters regularly practised their shooting
and entered competitions.
Preserved correspondence, documents, account
books, shooting protocols, shooters’ lists, uniform parts, information on gun
range from the period press and the painted targets that decorated the interior
of the society’s gun ranges, all speak volumes about the history of the Trnava
Sharpshooters Society in the Western-Slovak Museum.

Appel Family – the administration clerks of the Hungarian

The process of the modernisation of Hungarian
agriculture in the 19th century had been predominantly laid on the shoulders of
administration clerks, who used their expertise to manage feudal estates. It
would invariably prove futile to search for any information on these “engineers
of the future” in biographical and historical books, or other lexicons of
Slovakia. The family of Appels were significant pioneers in agricultural
modernisation in our territory in the first half of the 19th century. They used
to work at the estate of the aristocratic family of Hunyady from Mojmírovce near
The activity of Karl Appel (1773 – 1839),a native of Ludwigsburg in
Württembersk and graduate of the economy institute in Stuttgart, is directly
connected with his employer and friend, Count J. A. S. Hunyady (1773 – 1822).
The intensive interest of this educated Hungarian aristocrat in agriculture is
justified by his appointment as a full member of the Agricultural Society in
Vienna on May 7, 1808. Hunyady was the first Hungarian aristocrat who put into
practice the thoughts of the reformer Count Széchény on the breeding of horses
for sport and the organisation of horse races as per the English fashion.

In 1797, Count Hunyady appointed K. Appel as the administration director of
his estates. Since then, the fates of the Appels had been permanently attached
to Hungary. K. Appel rationalized and centralised the estate’s administration,
set up consistent accounting, reorganised the family’s archive, and established
a central office of the estate with a secretary at its head, along with an
accounting department. The Mojmírovce estate led by example. In vegetable
production, he cultivated agricultural land and changed boggy areas to fertile
soils. He was one of the pioneers in growing arable crops, mainly potatoes and
sugar beet. Clover and snail-clover were the first technical plants he
cultivated. He also proved to be a pioneer-constructor; improving a new type of
Appel’s priority was livestock production and breeding. He was
most successful in raising new breeds of sheep in Slovakia, the wool of which
was exported to foreign markets. He also had remarkable successes in horse
breeding; his name being connected with the founding of several excellent stud
farms in south-western Slovakia. When it comes to raising beef cattle, K. Appel
helped to expand the Alpine breed in Slovakia. He is also credited for
organising the first public horse race (May 22, 1814) in what was then Hungary.
For his efforts in developing Hungarian agriculture, the monarch Ferdinand I
granted K. Appel and his descendants an aristocratic title on May 9, 1823. His
three sons were among the first academic experts in agriculture in Slovakia, and
one of them, Gustav Adolf Josef (1804 – 1903), native of Mojmírovce, was his
full-value successor in the field.

Eva Križanová
The Church
of St. George in Likavka

The Roman-Catholic Church of St. George in
Likavka is one of those remarkable buildings, the origin of which dates to the
historical movements of the 19th century, which could well serve as a
manifestation of Slovak national architecture. They were built by architects,
who had been among the first to study at the newly founded national universities
since the 1850s, but whose works remain unrecognised in modern historiography.

Blažej Felix Bulla (1852 – 1919), an open-minded intellectual educated at
Prague’s Polytechnic School by Professor Josef Zítek, the designer of the
National Theatre, built the Church of St. George in Likavka (Ružomberok
district). He admired traditional folk art and Slavic ideas. He was also
influenced by his activity in the national association Detvan. After his return
to Slovakia, he worked for several years in Ružomberok, where he founded an
architectural studio. Between 1878 and 1883 he designed several secular as well
as sacral buildings there, which still exist in the Orava and Liptov regions. In
1880 he worked out the project of the new parish church in Likavka in the
Ružomberok studio.
A great inspiration for B. F. Bulla was the wooden
traditional architecture and its individual construction and artistic elements.
The European historic construction movements nevertheless remained the main
source. He was best familiar with the Renaissance, and in that spirit he carried
out probably his most famous work – the National House in Martin. When building
the Likavka church he used his good knowledge of early-gothic rural churches in
Liptov (Ludrová, Martinček) and by imitating the form as well as the medieval
construction techniques, he confused many historians of architecture who dated
the church’s origin down to the 13th century. During the church renovation,
shortly before its centenary anniversary in 1977, significant alterations, both
internal and external, were made from Bulla’s conception, which demonstrated an
unprofessional approach, despite (or maybe because of) the fact that the church
was not included on the state list of monuments. Its architecture was treated as
an uninteresting expression of Romanticism without any historical and artistic
value. It looks like we still owe a lot to our history.

Early medieval bells and other findings from Bojná

Only a very few monuments relating to the period of its peoples’
Christianisation in the 8th – 9th centuries are available to Slovakia. Apart
from a unique set of six gilded plaques from the mobile altar in Bojná (the
Topoľčany district in western Slovakia), there is an equally significant sacral
item – the Bojná bell. It is only the second preserved Christian bell of the
mentioned type from the 8th – 9th century; the oldest cast bronze bell in
continental Europe is stored in the Lateran collection of Vatican museums in
Rome. The exceptionality of its finding at the hill-fort Valy near Bojná is
highlighted all the more by the fact that three bronze bell fractions from two
other bells and an iron clapper from the fourth bell were also found there; bell
fragments from the mentioned period had only been found in two localities in
Germany – in Vreden (fractions from four bells) and Oldenburg (a bronze fragment
and an iron clapper from one bell).
The Christian bell from the 8th – 9th
century from Bojná is 21.5 cm tall and the clapper is 17 cm long. This rare,
lone bronze bell from this period in Central Europe was discovered in 1997; in
the inner part of the north-western wall of the Bojná I hill-fort. The bell is
uniquely preserved despite the 11 holes in its body, which were made during
casting. After cleaning, the colour is seen to be dark-green, almost grey, with
a light-green patina inside. The edges of the central eye and both arms of the
bell’s crown are treated only roughly. On the top of the body’s inner wall is a
sealed iron suspension eye. The wall of the 16-cm tall body is between 2 to 6 mm
thick, the result of imperfect casting. The bell weights 2.18 kg and the clapper
200 grams. The iron clapper is of a conical shape. Remains of a leather
suspension strap have been preserved on the clapper’s narrowed and bent end, as
well as on the inside of the suspension eye.
Parameters of the three
other Bojná bells: fragment 1 from bell No 2 measures 9 x 5,6 cm and is 5 –7 mm
thick; the bell’s assumed height is 23 –25 cm. Fragments 2 and 3 evidently come
from one bell (bell No 3); they measure 8,7 x 3,8 and 5,6 x 3,3 cm, and both are
3.5 mm thick. The bell’s assumed height is 19 – 21 cm. The bell’s clapper, which
is also of conical shape, like the one of the preserved bell, is 13.5 cm long;
this proves that it belongs to another bell (bell No 4), which is thought to be
12.5 cm tall without the crown and around 16 cm with the crown.

Lesák – Andrej Vrtel
Archaeological research in the Apponyi Palace in

The Palace situated on a narrow street at 1 Radničná in
Bratislava Old Town was built by the architect F. A. Hillebrandt for Count
Juraj Apponyi in 1761 – 1762. The project utilized an area created by two joined
medieval lots. During the late reconstruction of the palace, archaeologists of
the City Institute for the Preservation of Monuments carried out a research from
November 2005 until October 2007, which gradually mapped all the places touched
by the construction activity.
The Apponyi Palace is a cultural monument
registered as number 189 in the Central List of Cultural Heritage of Slovakia’s
Monuments Board. It is part of a historical block bordered by Uršulínska,
Kostolná and Laurinská streets. In terms of historic topography, it is a block
with a privileged position in Bratislava’s historical core for at least two
reasons. It joins an original fortified courtyard of the Reeve Jakub with a
residential tower from the 13th century in the area of the Old Town Hall, and
for over a hundred years it had been rumoured that a brick Roman building
existed at the place of the tenement house at 5 Laurinská and Primatial Palace.

The archaeological research has brought new information on the late La Tene
Period (2nd half of the 2nd century BC), as an oppidum presumably of the Celtic
Boya tribe was found there. Interesting discoveries included a residential
object (464 x 300 cm) with pile construction, a two-chamber pottery kiln, and a
right-angled object (123 x 130 cm) – probably a well, in which several iron
items, ceramics and a number of animal bones were found. A second well with a
right-angled ground plan (140 x 150 cm) was discovered at the courtyard of the
Apponyi Palace. Four fragments of quern-stones for grinding grain were found
during the exploration of the listed objects. The archaeological research did
not confirm the presence of a Roman station in the locality; similarly the
proofs of its population in the 10th and 11th centuries are only fragmental.
Based on the findings, the direct medieval settlement took place around the 2nd
half of the 13th century; right along with the urbanization process, when the
area of today’s 1 Radničná Street was turned into two medieval lots.

New information about the Apponyi Palace in

The condition of the built-up area of the former Apponyi
site is no longer authentic, as radical construction changes took place there in
the second half of the 19th and first half of the 20th century. The site had a
rectangular shape at the time of the palace’s origin. Its current restricted
shape is due to the demolition of the palace’s courtyard wings in the
aforementioned period, when a connecting wing leading to the Primatial Palace
was built. The current built-up area of the site adherent to the Apponyi Palace
has the shape of the letter L. It has two wings: the street one and the south –
courtyard one. The northern and eastern part of the site is built up to the
Primatial Palace with the connecting wing. Two wings of the palace and two wings
of the connecting addition enclose the trapezoid courtyard, which has an
entrance from Radničná Street via an asymmetrically situated portal.
researches carried out thus far revealed that the oldest construction stage of
the palace is from the Middle Ages and dates from before 1500. The findings,
based on the tax books of the 15th century, concerned two burgher’s houses with
various owners. The second construction stage took place in the 18th century,
when Count Juraj Apponyi reconstructed the older houses into a baroque palace in
1761 – 1762. The third stage dates to the beginning of the 20th century (1911),
when two courtyard wings were demolished due to the construction of the town
hall’s connecting wing. The last stage encompasses all the interventions of the
20th century.
The City Institute for the Preservation of Monuments carried
out two new monument researches of the Apponyi Palace between 2005 and 2007. The
first, archaeological one, revealed the medieval built-up area on the site (see
previous article). The second was the architectural-historical and
archival-historical research of the construction that helped to better
understand the younger development of the 18th to 20th century. This research
did not confirm the medieval constructions of the original two burgher’s houses
from the 14th century, as the new solvent owner, Count Nádasdy initiated the
block’s complete reconstruction after 1715, turning it into an ample palace
building. This was later adjusted by a new owner, Count Apponyi, who lived there
10 years after the purchase in 1750, before he radically changed it.

Credible archive resources are available for dating the rococo
reconstruction in 1761 and 1762. The city bought the Apponyi Palace in 1867 with
the intention of enlarging the office and representation rooms of the town hall.
The whole northern wing of the courtyard was pulled down and a council hall was
built there according to the project of Ignác Feigler Jr. from 1867. During the
next reconstruction in 1910 – 1913 the hall was pulled down. In 1867 the
building ceased to function as an independent element of the city’s built-up
area and became part of the town hall’s complex, first with an administrative,
then with a museum function (the City Museum) that has remained until today.

Marta Janovíčková
Apponyi Palace and its new

The gate of the reconstructed Apponyi Palace with the
new expositions of the Bratislava City Museum symbolically opened on April 24,
2008, during the Bratislava Days festival. The building’s plan from 1904 already
marked the rooms at ground floor as the rooms of the City Museum, founded in
1868. They were probably workrooms and closed-to-public collections. The museum
opened an exposition in the representation halls on the first floor in 1926, a
picture gallery on the second floor in 1930, and the Bratislava Viticulture
Museum at the ground floor a year later. The first floor, connected to the Old
Town Hall, was used for exposition purposes in the following decades. The second
initially housed workrooms, later a depositary, and one could also find there
the Regional Library. An extensive reconstruction of the palace took place in
2004 – 2008. When it finished, Bratislava City Museum started the installing of
expositions there and established a study depositary in the attic.
palace has become an independent exposition entity without any communication
link with the Old Town Hall. Its purpose copied the nature of the initial palace
rooms and the museum’s endeavour was to use the most of its authentic interiors.
The Museum of Viticulture, which has long been one of the basic presentations of
the Bratislava City Museum, is situated on the ground floor and in the basement.
The ground floor presents the history of a vine growing and of viticulture in
general in Bratislava. The current exposition provided a larger space to two of
the most significant Bratislava wine firms Hubert J. E. and Palugyay. The
exposition continues in the basement with the presentation of harvest and grape
Two other two floors house the Museum of Historical Interiors.
The conception was brought to fruition thanks to the collection fund of the
museum rendering settings of period interiors. The other reason was the fact
that Bratislava lacked such an exposition. The justification of the new
conception was confirmed by the discovery of original wall paints in the
individual rooms, which created an authentic space for the furniture and
accessories of a burgher’s interior. The palace’s attic will become a study
depositary of the museum accessible to researchers and the general public as
soon as it is finished.