Mária Čelková – Mikuláš Čelko
Shooters guilds in Banská Štiavnica
The history of the Banská Štiavnica Shooters Guild, which is one of the oldest in Slovak territory, stretches back to the 16th century. Banská Štiavnica was to play a significant role in Shooters Guild activities, as there were two such guilds, the older Burgher’s one (renamed the Štiavnica Shooters Guild after 1918) and the younger Academic one, founded at the Mining and Forest Academy (1762 – 1918).
The Shooters Guild, or rather its predecessor, which was referred to as a brotherhood, fellowship or board of shooters, originated around 1547 when the town’s defence system was being built against the approaching armies of the Ottoman Empire. Back then, Banská Štiavnica had built a Renaissance defence system, controlled from the Old Castle (1546 – 1559) and based on the plans of the Italian architects Pietro Ferrabosco and Giulio Ferrari. The risk of Turkish threat was to also stimulate an increase in the use of firearms. The town commander consequently trained both the citizens of Banská Štiavnica and the members of the armed forces to master them.
The statutes of the Shooters Guild were approved in 1653 – 1654. Two gun ranges existed in the town at that time. One was situated in the Renaissance estate originally built by the distinguished mining businessman and traveller P. R. Rubigall. The town acquired the estate at a later date and went on to keep it as one of its business bases, which also housed a brewery. At the beginning of the 1970s, the estate was pulled down and a complex of buildings housing the Tobacco Factory were built there (1873). A second gun range, referred to as the “upper one” with two stands for shooting, reached out behind the Old Castle. It existed until 1965, when it was pulled down. The gun range at the Old Castle was also registered in the town’s oldest land register from 1751 – 1753.
The archives contain Shooters’ books from 1776 – 1785 documenting the organisation of the Burgher’s Shooters Guild and the process and results of shooting at the gun range, which used to be in the form of a competition. The shooting took place from June to October. The Guild’s members were businessmen, craftsmen and others. The shooting records additionally mentioned women, who competed separately.
The collection fund of the Slovak Mining Museum in Banská Štiavnica preserves a collection of 218 shooting targets, ceremonial as well as amusing ones. They are believed to be the work of local amateur artists, one by A. Schmidt and one by G. Wisz who painted several targets in Kremnica. The oldest preserved painted target dates from 1754; the youngest one from 1939.
The historical globes of the Seminary Library
The Central Library of the Slovak Academy of Sciences guarantees protection and access to one of the most significant historical libraries preserved in Central Europe – the Seminary Library in Bratislava. Apart from the written cultural heritage it also preserves a unique collection of historical globes, the largest in Slovakia.
The origin of the historical globes collection at the Seminary Library in Bratislava can be viewed in the context of the teaching of geography at the school. The Bratislava Evangelical Seminary was one of the centres of the Hungarian school system in the 18th and 19th centuries, employing top pedagogues, amongst them the pedagogic reformer Matej Bel (1684 – 1749). He was the man responsible for the running of geography teaching and enhanced his work by gathering teaching aids. The seminary, or more accurately its rich library, began to receive atlases, maps and globes. The preserved collection of nine terrestrial and astrological globes is rare in age as well as in theme. The oldest terrestrial globe, Cosmotheore, was made at the Amsterdam workshop of G. Valko in 1707. In Nuremberg in 1716, J. L. Andreae created a globe that described overseas discoveries together with the latest geographic knowledge. The globe, marking the journeys and discoveries of James Cook together with astrological observations, also followed this trend. Globus Terrestris made in Nuremberg in 1805, at the workshop of J. G. Klinger, is one of the most beautiful. Die Erdkugel nach den neuesten Quellen bearbeitet, the globe made at the Berlin workshop of E. Schotte in 1880, represents the end of the 19th century. The oldest astrological globe in the collection is Amsterdam’s Uranographia (1700). Two globes come from the 19th century; one of them is the Himmel´s Kugel from 1804, issued by J. E. Bode in Nuremberg. Special attention must be made of two Hungarian globes – the First Hungarian Terrestrial Globe and the First Hungarian Astrological Globe, which originated in 1840 as the first globes produced in series.
The condition of the historical globes’ collection at the Bratislava Seminary Library called for a restoration intervention that would stop their gradual degradation and give them back their cultural and aesthetical values. The aim of the project Sphaera terrestris, sphaera coelestis was not just to preserve the collection but also to attract public attention towards this segment of cultural heritage. The Web project is the first phase in the establishment of a complex “globology” in Slovakia, which can lead towards an adequate presentation, preservation and gradual 3D digitalisation of the historical globes.
The Andrássy family collections in the expositions of the Slovak National Museum
The Andrássy noble family, originally from Transylvania, had lived in the Gemer region since the second half of the 16th century. Throughout their family’s history, individual members had undertaken secular functions as judges, district administrators and military officers, thereby securing Count title for the family. Their passion for travelling and collection meant membership of various artistic or cultural societies and the sponsorship of art, mainly fine art.
Upon their departure from the region in 1944, they were to have left behind a significant cultural heritage: the Betliar manor house, Krásna Hôrka castle and a mausoleum in Krásnohorské Podhradie. The interior of the castle and manor house, which had been preserved almost intact, was the reason for their being declared national cultural monuments. An exemplary complex monument renovation, carried out in 1989 – 1993, was to win them the prestigious Europa Nostra award in 1994.
When it comes to collecting, the individual collections of personalities become paramount. The history of the Krásna Hôrka castle collections is connected with the names of Count Juraj (1792 – 1872) and his son Count Dionýz Andrássy (1835 – 1913). While Juraj was a great art lover and founder of scientific institutions, Dionýz was a social philanthropist and active painter. During his numerous foreign journeys, he created oil and water paintings bearing the signature of Denis. In 1903, he initiated the erection of the Pieta Museum for Countess Františka in the Krásna Hôrka castle area. For his collection of paintings and sculptures, he built an art gallery in Krásnohorské Podhradie in 1908 – 1909.
Count Leopold (1767 – 1824), an expert in mining and metallurgy and a noted traveller and collector, is famous from the Betliar branch of the Andrássy family. He reconstructed the Betliar manor house in 1792 – 1796 and founded a historical library. The current manor house’s inventory was influenced by another significant collector and painter, Count Emanuel (1823 – 1891). He was a passionate traveller and writer of travel books with his own illustrations. He was to bring a lot of ethnographic material from his travels, as well as various curiosities, which today can be seen in the exposition of the Betliar manor house. Emanuel’s two years younger brother, Count Július (1823 – 1890), latterly a financial minister in Austro-Hungary, collected antique as well as modern art.
Thanks to the systematic collection activity of several generations of the Andrássy family, the current expositions of the Slovak National Museum-Betliar Museum enjoy a rich collection fund including all aspects of art history, artistic craft and in part also collections of a natural-science character.
The building of articular churches
Articular churches form a special group of sacral buildings in Slovakia. They were constructed mainly at the end of the 17th century and in the first third of the 18th century. From several dozen originally, only five have been preserved in the municipalities of Leštiny, Istebné, Kežmarok, Hronsek and Paludza – Svätý Kríž. Their unusual appearance is the result of combining the traditional architectural models of folk building with imported constructional and expressive resources.
The 17th century was marked by the political-power struggle of the Catholic imperial court and the Protestant higher Hungarian aristocracy. Gradually, though, the problem of a Turkish threat reared its ugly head. A need to unify the anti-Turkish coalition and to ease in part at least the country’s tense confessional question, forced the monarch to make several compromises with the Protestant believers – the Evangelists of the Augsburg (so-called Lutherans) and Helvetic (so-called Calvinians) Confession – that were embedded in 72 legal articles (so-called articules), and concerned the secular as well as the sacral administration of the Hungarian Kingdom. Two of the articles embraced the Protestants’ requests for building the new, so-called articular churches. The author of the article describes in detail mainly the building of wooden churches in individual Slovak regions, but also looks at the masonry cathedrals in independent royal towns of Upper Hungary (Bratislava, Spišská Nová Ves, Levoča, Kežmarok, Prešov, Bardejov, Sabinov and others).
The disposition in the shape of an equal-arm cross is characteristic of the architecture of articular churches. The interior is relatively rich in decoration with the application of ornamental motifs and the depiction of biblical characters or quotes from the Bible. The articular churches form a significant part of not just our but also the world’s cultural heritage.
The Trenčín pharmacists in archive documents
The oldest known record about a pharmacy in the town of Trenčín used to be the one dating from 1630, when M. Knogler acquired the pharmacy there. The archive documents however revealed that the pharmacists had already been in Trenčín at the end of the 16th century, which also suggests the existence of a pharmacy. In 1598 – 1599 the town council resolved a dispute of two pharmacists A. Leonis and S. Alman. In 1623, the town register mentions pharmacist G. Melzer. His widow, Anna, sold the pharmacy to M. Knogler. In 1634, Knogler’s widow Mária sold the pharmacy to M. Löhr. When he died, M. Liptai rented the pharmacy. J. G. Aizericz (Eisricz), another pharmacist working in Trenčín in 1660 and 1661, probably rented the pharmacy of M. Liptai, who owned it until his death in 1670. Liptai’s heirs decided to sell the pharmacy to pharmacist J. Landich, who married M. Liptai’s widow, Katarína. His second wife, Dorota, was the widow of pharmacist F. Gemsheimer from Skalica. Her son, J. Gemsheimer, moved to Debrecen and we have no information as to what happened to his pharmacy in Trenčín.
Apart from this pharmacy, Trenčín used to have another one in the Jesuit college, which was probably bigger than the secular pharmacy. According to a document from 1750, L. Hartung was the town’s pharmacist. This is the oldest record on the pharmacy in the Trenčín suburb. After his death, pharmacist I. Tepffer rented the suburban house together with his wife. Tepffer died in March 1800. According to the testament his son Jozef inherited the pharmacy, but in 1801 this was sold in auction to A. Kropáč, the pharmacist in the town centre.
The Jesuit pharmacy thrived. The last pharmacist was P. Skorscheban, who died in 1790. His widow married pharmacist J. Jupita. However, since Jupita failed to pay Skorscheban’s debts and created new ones, in 1796 creditors stepped in. Due to the debts, the former Jesuit pharmacy had to be sold on September 14, 1797. A. Kropáč bought it, and then sold it to L. Simon in 1807.
The forgotten owners of Ľubovňa castle
The castle of Ľubovňa, which together with the Plaveč, Dunajec and Orava castles used to form a fortified network protecting the northern borders of then Hungary, has towered over the town of Stará Ľubovňa for more than 700 years. Among the most significant events in the castle’s history are the seven royal visits of Hungarian and Polish monarchs, the meeting of King Sigismund of Luxembourg with Polish monarch Vladislas II (aka Ladislaus Jagiellon) in 1412, and the secreting of the Polish crown jewels in 1655 – 1661 during the Swedish-Polish war. After 1412 the castle became part of the Polish Kingdom for 360 years.
The owners of Ľubovňa castle were the famous Hungarian and Polish families of Drugeth, Horvath, Lubomirski, Raisz or Zamoyski. The author of the article describes the aristocratic family of Raisz, who were to influence the history and life of the castle in the 19th century. G. F. Raisz received Ľubovňa castle as a royal donation and ever since he and his heirs were to make use of the Lublóvári predicate.
G. F. Raisz, the first future private owner of the castle, sought property donation in 1824, after the examination of the castle and surrounding estates. On July 6, 1825, the then royal chamber told him that he and his heirs could get the property after paying a certain sum. The family of G. F. Raisz did not welcome a move to the Ľubovňa estate. His wife Apolónia mainly feared the cold climate would not suit their sickly son Alexander. He succumbed to the disease in 1829 and was buried in front of the castle’s Chapel of St. Michael. After G. F. Raisz’s death, his two sons Július and Szilárd quarrelled about heritage, and as a result, the Ľubovňa estate was sold to the town of Stará Ľubovňa on April 1880. Two years later, the new owner A. Zamoyski acquired the castle and his family owned it until 1945.
The duels in Nitra at the turn of the 19th and 20th century
Legal opinions and public attitudes towards duels, the meetings of two or more opponents based on rules and weapons agreed in advance, have changed throughout the centuries. Knights’ duels of honour fought on horseback and with spears have been known from medieval times. These combative engagements were often also seen to be the way to resolve property disputes in front of monarchs. While King Ladislav IV himself took part in duels, others who engaged likewise during the reign of Maria Theresa were given the death penalty. Some citizens of the bigger towns of that time in Hungary protected their good name in classical duels on horses even up until the 19th century. These duels, in the presence of seconds and a doctor, resolved disputes relating to damaged or disgraced honour. Keeping one’s honour had forever been the moral principle even if the reward were to be bodily injury or death.
In 1897, the book of V. Clair, The Duelling Code, was issued in Budapest. The author came from Nitra and the citizens knew him as a participant in several local engagements. That could have been the reason why the district archivist Ján Romhányi carefully collected and preserved fifteen positive reviews from Budapest newspapers about the publication’s first edition. After the publication of The Duelling Code, the Nitra newspaper began to run announcements on duels, short articles and gradually also longer comments on the duelling engagements that took place in the bigger towns of the Nitra district. The increased number of duels in the whole of Hungary at the end of the 19th century characterised this period as one of duel mania. When the League Against Duels was established in 1902 in Austria, the movement found a large, though contradictory response in Hungary. The result of this effort was the establishment of the Countrywide Association Against Duels in August 1903 in Budapest. The military jurisdiction was to also modify the rules of combat. Duels were abolished during the First World War, but the tradition died slowly. However in 1918, there is mention of a protest from the district offices against the inhibition of personal combats taking place.
The war altar in St. Martin’s Cathedral in Bratislava
After the assassination of the heir of the Austro-Hungarian throne, Franz Ferdinand d´Este, on June 28 in 1914, the coronation Cathedral of St. Martin in Bratislava (then Pressburg) became a place of everyday prayer inspired by the world’s ongoing conflict. Within the cathedral’s walls, the conflict of war was to echo in a special way. Initiated by Count E. Czaykowsky, the vicar of Bratislava’s Blumentál parish church, and his mother Ríza, the cathedral’s Holy Cross altar was converted into a war altar. They both financed the change. With this altar, Czaykowsky wanted to express his desire for peace in the midst of the fearsomeness of war. Solace was to be expressed by five separately designed embossments of Christ, who, dressed in a purple robe, points to his heart in a typical gesture.
Undisputedly original of the so-called war altar were the carved embossments in four rectangles on the altar’s side wings. Three picture a soldier in Hussar uniform: first, he parts from his wife and family, then he fights with a Cossack and eventually he dies of his wounds on the field with a catholic priest caring for him. In the right lower rectangle of the fourth embossment Emperor Franz Josef himself prays in front of the Sacred Heart.
While, during the war, many looked up at the war altar with trust, after the world’s conflict ended and mainly after the origin of the new Czechoslovak Republic, people started to be very sensitive to everything that in any way reminded them of the former monarchy. On February 13, 1920, vandals deliberately damaged the altar’s embossments. The police started an investigation. The Governmental Department for Roman-Catholic Church Affairs closely watched the case, and the head Karol Anton Medvecký asked the Trnava Ordinariat to immediately wrap the war altar’s wings, hang down the embossments and replace them with “artworks worthy of this cathedral”.
This iconographic modification of one of the altars of the former coronation cathedral was to reflect an all-societal political phenomenon into church space in the most curious of ways.
The Ceramic workshop in Košolná
When exploring the ceramics of the Hutterites (Anabaptists) in Slovakia, one is bound to come across the name of H. Landsfeld, who worked in Modra during the interwar period as a ceramist and folk painter. He also focussed his attention on a search for traditional Slovak ceramic production and the documentation of folk art expression. In 1932, he began to excavate Hutterite ceramics from the 17th and 18th centuries. Among his most significant archaeological discoveries was a unique finding of a ceramic workshop in Košolná, fired in 1663 during the Tatar invasion.
The municipality of Košolná (Trnava district) was the first locality where H. Landsfeld excavated the remains of the ceramic workshop. In August 1934, in the garden of the house No. 111, which was the birthplace of the famous Slovak ceramist Ignác Bizmayer, he gradually revealed the foundation walls and floors of the workshop’s individual rooms, where there were many broken and fire-damaged artefacts lying around. Apart from the fragments of painted vessels, he also found many semi-finished products and four vessels with remains of powder colours used for faience tableware. The entire finding is now located at the Western-Slovak Museum in Trnava and at the National Institute of Folk Culture in Strážnica.
Most of the discovered artefacts included pottery household products and more representative glazed and decorated ceramics. In addition there was a voluminous set of stove products containing construction articles for building stoves of various shapes. The most attractive part of the finding, though, were the faience products made famous by the Hutterites. Apart from the many semi-finished products made from fine light-yellow clay (jars, plates, bowls, mugs, vases, candleholders, etc.), he also found painted faience plates and the torsos of faience vessels dating from 1663, hexagonal stove tiles with geometric décor and a potty, as well as the workshop’s technological tools (matrixes for plate production, fragments of melting bowls, etc.). The finding of the Košolná workshop has been one of the most significant discoveries in the history of Slovak post-medieval archaeology.
The Pálffy cup from Červený Kameň
The collections of Slovak museums conceal many items, the origin of which remain unexplained up to this date. This is also true about the Slovak National Museum-Červený Kameň Museum, which resides in the castle of the same name (the residency of the Pálffy family), and where the Slovak National Cultural Commission gathered confiscated items after the Second World War. Many monuments that comprise the significant achievements of the collection activities of several aristocratic families have been saved this way. The accumulated items, however, have not been consistently marked according to the localities of their origin and accompanying documentation has invariably been very vaguely processed.
Even today, it is far from easy with many items to locate their original owner and the facility it had been taken from. It therefore causes great delight, when more is found out about a specific item than is written on the catalogue card. This has certainly been the case concerning the cup bearing the Pálffy coat of arms from the collections of the SNM-Červený Kameň Museum, which had entered the museum’s fund in 1953.
The cup is a superior example of south-German glass production. Based on the production technology and decoration iconography, the cup could be dated to the first third of the 17th century, as states the inscription of 1624. This assumption is also supported by the heraldic analysis of the coat of arms painted on the cup. The cup’s dating testifies that it was made for a concrete occasion, but because the year 1624 seems to be of no special significance in the history of the Pálffy family, it is almost impossible to find out who it was who would have had the cup made as well as the reason why. The cup reappears after 273 years, in 1897, in connection with M. Pálffy (1812 – 1897). This laureate of the Golden Fleece award, Deputy Marshal and Hungarian Vice Regent in the 1860s had been retired since 1865 and because of health problems had been visiting spas and mountain seasonal resorts. It was during his therapeutic stay in the Tirol, as he writes in one of his letters, that he bought the cup for his oldest son in an antique shop. The cup with the Pálffy coat of arms was to first become part of the artistic collections in the Smolenice manor house and from there it was to enter the collections of the SNM-Červený Kameň Museum at the end of the Second World War.
Vocational certificate for a confectioner from 1780
In 2009, the Bratislava City Museum managed to obtain a unique vocational certificate for a confectioner from 1780, which serves to illustrate an interesting phase of “confectionary art” in Bratislava. Based on an offer placed by a collector from the Bavarian town of Landberg am Lech, this vocational certificate “wandered” into the museum’s collections in the same way that Bavarian journeymen would come to seek work in Bratislava in the 18th century. Neither the certificate’s representative work, on a parchment with attached associated seal, nor the ornamental intitulation of the publisher, tempted the collector enough to keep it.
So far, information on Bratislava confectioners in the 18th century has been based on the researches done by historians Eugen and Anton Špiesz. They said that in 1720, confectioner F. Entzler tried to gain membership of the Bratislava Trade Guild. The Guild however did not want to accept him, blaming the bad times. Entzler found an influential patron, Count G. Erdődy, who confirmed that he, as a confectioner only sells those products, which are sold by similar tradesmen in Vienna and which he himself had learnt to make. After submitting the evidence, he was accepted by the guild on July 2, 1722. The research was to acknowledge the existence of four confectionery workshops in Bratislava one hundred years later (1828), and assumed that the largest boom of this craft had begun (and not only in Bratislava) at the beginning of the 19th century.
This vocational certificate acquired from 1780 adequately illustrates the plight of the confectionary craft in Bratislava during those times when written evidence was lacking. On February 27, 1780, the citizen and town confectioner J. Hofbauer issued as a teacher a vocational certificate for F. Fröschel from Vienna, who had since 1774 studied hard following regulations to become a confectioner. The happy teacher confirmed that the apprentice had indeed understood the study material, was hard working, faithful, honest and religious and deserved recognition. In order to acknowledge the situation, he also asked witnesses, experts in the given field, mostly confectioners of the local honorability, to express their opinions.
The acquisition of the vocational certificate issued by the town confectioner J. Hofbauer serves as a prime example of a source with a high value period. At the end of the 18th century, Bratislava identifies four town confectioners and five confectioners of local honorability. Such a high concentration of confectioners in one town can only be explained by the inexorable growth of Bratislava into a residential town of great magnitude. The year of 1780 was also to be the last year of Albert Sasko-Tešínsky’s reign as Vice Regent.
The Matthias House
Banská Bystrica was always a significant independent royal town of the Hungarian Kingdom and its citizens were already back then proud of its history. This is proven by the fact that as early as in the 17th century, the town archive and town armoury in the area of the Town castle served as a museum. When the town authorities had doubtlessly moved out of the castle, several preserved curiosities were found to have been simply thrown into the loft, luckily along with some interesting documents. In 1819 these were discovered by deputy notary J. Szumrák. He put the documents in the town’s archive and the “scrap iron” into the town’s museum (!).
The official history of the current Central-Slovak Museum, then a town’s museum, began on July 12 in 1889, when the town council recommended the museum’s activities. The first items were delimitated from the town archives to the town museum in 1891. It was back then, when the thought of renovating the Matejov dom (Matthias House) in the castle’s area for museum purposes had originated. The enthusiasm of the Banská Bystrica citizens culminated in 1893 with the establishment of the Banská Bystrica Historical and Archaeological Society. The renovation of the Matejov dom, a four-storied gothic house squeezed inside the Banícka bašta (Miner’s Bastion) that was part of the castle’s fortification, started in 1907.
The first museum exposition in the Matejov dom house was opened on October 17 in 1909. The ethnographic and mineralogy collection was displayed on the first floor, the historic and art relics on the second, a cultural-historical collection on the third, and church art monuments were shown on the fourth floor. Over 4,500 exhibits were installed in the exposition. K. Divald prepared the first guidebook for the museum in 1909.
In 1958, the then regional museum opened a new exposition in the reconstructed Thurzov dom (Thurzo House) at the square and the Matejov dom house became a depositary of collection items. After 2004, the Central-Slovak Museum began preparations for the reconstruction of the Matejov dom house as well as building an exposition dedicated to the history of the Banská Bystrica town. The latter was opened on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of opening the original exposition in the Matejov dom house, on October 15 in 2009. It runs through three floors of the Matejov dom house and the Banícka bastion, covering an area of 470 m2. The fourth floor and the loft (300 m2) have kept their function as a depositary. The renowned Matejov dom house became an attractive part of the listed zone and the public can admire not only the exterior of this medieval building but also its interiors.
The last Bratislava gun-makers
For over half of the millennium of its existence, Bratislava gun-making had progressed from witnessing the origins of an individual craft (first quarter of the 15th century) and the progression of the guild organisation (16th – 17th century), to the reaching of its zenith in the 18th century and first half of the 19th century. The second half of the 19th century, however, meant a gradual recession, when modern factory production forced out guild production. The onset of the mass factory production of weapons for armies was the death knell for guild unit production and as a result the gun-makers switched to the production of mainly hunting guns. The annual Pressburger Wegweiser (published since 1840) was a precious source of information for those exploring the history of crafts in Bratislava. It was a sort of a magazine-guide through Bratislavan life, which regularly published, for example, the lists of companies or businessmen. It printed their names and addresses, where they worked. Later, the magazine also published the names of house owners, or lists of the town citizens arranged according to streets and houses. Based on these data, as well as advertisements of products of the Bratislava gun-makers, we can also observe the gradual extinction of the Bratislava gun-making craft in the second half of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.