Prejsť na obsah

Revue Pamiatky a múzeá – Summary 2/2006

The Chapel of Zápoľský in Spišská Kapitula
– Truss constructions

Glos – Mária Novotná – Ľubor

Literature and periodicals have devoted
quite a large space to the evaluation of St. Martin’s Cathedral in Spišská
Kapitula, focusing in particular on the burial chapel of the Zápoľskýs, the clan
which approximately in the half the 15th century built up a
significant position in Spiš and the whole of Hungary that lasted for 90 years.
It reached for the highest of goals – the royal throne. These works on the
cathedral paid almost no attention to roofing construction yet from the time of
their origin in the 1460s they have never burnt out and the bulk of them is
especially well preserved.
The burial chapel of the Zápoľskýs, originally
consecrated to the Virgin Mary, was part of the late gothic reconstruction of
the cathedral in 1488 – 1493, when the partially destroyed Roman basilica from
the third quarter of the 13th century ceased to meet their needs.
Architecturally the chapel continues in the style of the burial chapel in
Spišský Štvrtok (around 1473), derived from the Parish of St. Chapelle, however
this particular chapel is one-storied. As with the cathedral, roofs are the
dominating features of the chapel. There are two: one above the chapel and a
significantly smaller roof, covering the oratorio in the western part. The main
space of the chapel is covered with a steep saddle roof with a slant upwards of
68 degrees, which, evidently apart from the roofs of the towers is one of the
steepest in the region. The truss of the Zápoľský chapel is an advance form of
the late-medieval, four-level truss. The integral part of the chapel is its
western part. Above the so-called little sacristy on the floor is an open
oratorio. The roof is significantly smaller and the truss is simpler but in its
construction as well as type it is identical with the truss in the chapel – late
medieval and three-tiered.
Both trusses are technically very advanced for the
environment of the period of their origin; they are complex, progressive,
perfect craft-worked constructions. The forward thinking and superior
construction and craft levels of the chapel’s trusses is evident when compared
to the larger and older cathedral’s truss. For this time the ceramic baked
glazed roof tile was unique and covered the chapel from its origin.
Detailed research proved that the trusses above
the chapel and oratorio are primary, built between 1488 and 1493.
Dendro-chronologic dating of samples should confirm this in near future. One of
the wealthiest Hungarian noblemen, palatine and Spiš country head Štefan
Zápoľský, the younger brother of Imrich Zápoľský († 1487) ordered the works on
the family burial chapel. The level of architectural and stone-masonry work,
artistic decoration as well as the forwardness of the truss constructions and
the originally used ceramic covering of the chapel matched his statues and
reflected his potential.

Coronation of Karol Róbert in Spišská

Eva Spaleková – Ladislav

Spišská Kapitula, originally a small,
fortified church town with the St. Martin’s Cathedral, bishop’s palace, canon’s
houses and other sets of monuments is a remarkable urban formation, which
springs from the framework of other historical towns in our territory. In 1950
it was pronounced the town monument’s reservation and in 1993 it became part of
the World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage UNESCO (Spišský Hrad and its
Associated Cultural Monuments).
Inside the cathedral’s church is an exceptionally
significant medieval wall painting with an interesting iconographic theme of the
Coronation of Karol Róbert d‘ Anjou as Hungarian King dated 1317. Last summer it
was restored by the collective of workers from the Regional Restoration Studio
in Levoča. (The Messerchmitt Stiftung foundation financially supported the
The three-aisled basilica underwent a complicated
development, the most original part of which is the western part. Purist
re-gothic adjustment radically changed the interior, including the
aforementioned wall painting, the origin of which is connected to a significant
historical event after the extinction of the Arpád dynasty. Karol Róbert of
Anjou (1308-1342) took over the Hungarian throne and definitively secured his
power over Spiš in 1317, after the victory in the battle of Rozhanovce (1312).
Political considerations apart, the painting is also significant for being one
of the first manifestations of the new artistic orientation, the Gothic style.
The theme documents the agreement of the powers of heaven with the king’s choice
and confirms his authority in the given territory.
The literature speaks of three significant
restoring interventions into the painting that changed its character (in 1850,
1873–1889 and 1943). The current research also showed older local repaints,
assumingly performed during the reconstruction of the Romanesque basilica to a
Gothic style in the second half of the 15th century. These repaints
may be characterized as local or “cosmetic” make-ups on the painting destroyed
during the construction works on the church, or as a consequence of Hussite
raids and fire damage in the first half of the 15th century.
The largest repaints were performed at the end of
the 19th century when the ornamental framing was radically changed
and the destroyed places puttied, which led to the change from the original blue
coloring to brown. The adjustments were made in dark tones and the scene lost
its bright coloring and lightness. With the change in the color variety they
also placed inscriptions next to the painting’s figures. They therefore come
from the neo-Gothic adjustment, as they were placed on the secondary (brown)
layer. One of the most problematic moments of the restoration research was
solving the question of these texts, which have been the conventional part of
the scene for years. It was impossible to technically confirm or reject an
existence of original texts from the painting’s origin without irretrievable
damage to the painting, so the decision was made to retain the inscriptions.

Queen Elizabeth’s relief in


Austrian Emperor and Hungarian King František
Jozef (Franz Joseph) granted an audience to the members of the establishing
commission of the Gymnasial Church of St. Elizabeth at the Catholic secondary
grammar school in Bratislava on November 4, 1909. The church was to finalize
celebrations of the 700th anniversary of the saint’s birth. The
delegation asked the emperor to dedicate to the church a marble relief of Queen
Elizabeth, who worshipped the Arpád’s St. Elizabeth as a patroness. The Emperor
agreed and ordered Bratislavan sculptor Aloiz Riegele to do the work. The
consultations over the relief’s details lasted for the whole of 1910. First the
sculptor received Elizabeth’s photograph from the 1860s, which pictured her in
Hungarian clothes. The sketch he made which was based on the model had to be
reworked however because he received a new photograph – Sisi in ceremonial
coronation dress with crown, veil and gloves. The original idea of a figure
dressed in Hungarian clothes buttoned up to the neck was replaced with a
luxurious low-necked dress replenished with gloves, necklace, crown and veil. In
the mid September of 1910, Riegele sent a plaster model of the relief to Vienna.
The relief was embedded in a prepared niche on June 12, 1912. The construction
workers however missed the deadline for finishing the church, so the relief was
covered with wooden crate until October 11, 1913, when the church was
ceremoniously ordained.
The relief of the monarch, who tragically
died in 1898, was intentionally embedded against the entrance used by the
secondary grammar school students, so it inspired them as an idol worth
following. The political changes meant that the relief survived in its original
place less than a decade. At the end of October in 1921, when Czech legionaries
destroyed the Fadrusz’ sculpture work of Maria Theresa in Bratislava, the relief
of the wife of her grand-grandson, Franz Joseph, was also in danger. The
Monument Preservation Referee as a result immediately ordered the work to be
moved to safety. Today it can be found at the staircase of the Parish Office of
St. Elisabeth, where the creator himself placed it sometime after 1934.

Archeology at Bratislava’s Main


The latest archeological activity at Bratislava’s
Main Square resulted from the reconstruction of the paved surfaces and the
construction of a new engineering network. The project was carried out in
September and October last year under the professional supervision of
archeologists from the Bratislava City Institute for the Preservation of
From the view of the archeological topography the
Main Square is one of the most attractive places on the monument’s reservation
territory. The medieval settlement between the 13th and
15th century, a time when the square served as a public gathering and
market place, documented several layers of historical arrangements of the
square’s surface that related to its market-place function. The square saw
regular markets until 1370, when Hungarian King Ladislav ordered them to be
moved to the area, which is today known as Primate’s square. It was in the first
half of the 15th century that a quality canalization system bearing
in mind the time of its origin first came to the public’s attention with regards
to medieval Bratislava.
Maybe the most unexpected finding uncovered south
of the Maximilian fountains – the walled two-roomed house, of which the whole
ground plan was preserved, points to the unstable and abundant in-conflicts of
13th century in Bratislava. The house was built before the square’s
origin, which seems to date to the second half of the 13th century.
It is probably a leftover of the row build-up area from before the mid, or from
the middle of the 13th century. Ceramic fragments found therein,
among which two coins were found, suggest that it was destroyed by the end of
the 13th century.
In the pre-urbanization process, the eastern end
of the under-castle settlement (the territory comprising today’s historical core
of Bratislava bordering on Ventúrska and Michalská streets and Františkánske and
Main squares) played an important role in the 10-11th century. The
significant housing-estate horizon in the 9th and at the beginning of
the 10th century represented through the findings of anthropogenic
layers and artefacts, was suppressed by the end of the 10th and
during the 11th century and the function of burial places came to the
fore. An early-medieval mortuary located on the axis of Main square – Sedlárska
street consisted of a minimum of 55 graves, mainly arranged in the northwestern
part of the square, close to the main communication routes. The roads occupied a
specific position in the magical pagan imagination long into the 11th
century, which points to the fact that the process of Christianization entered
the early Hungarian society only slowly.
Early historical settlement in the late Latin
period (1st century BC) is documented by the findings of several
housing-estates and the discovery of deep-etched objects with rich, mainly
ceramic findings. A unique discovery was the silver coin or “tetradrachma” of
the Bratislava type with the Biatec inscription, which was coined in
the Bratislava Celtic oppidum between 70 and 58 BC. Thanks to these deep-etched
objects from the late Iron Age the findings from the primeval settlement are
also important. The oldest primeval horizon of the late Stone Age, which was the
time of the settlement boom of the cultured Boleráz society (around the middle
of the 3rd millennium BC), documents the discovery of a hole and
maybe also a furnace with remnants of earthen cupolas and other ceramic

Executive Law in Medieval


Criminal acts in medieval Bratislava (then
Pressburg) were judged on Hungarian criminal order, as well as the norms of the
town’s own law, which originated from south German (Nuremberg’s) law, later
influenced by Vienna and Buda laws. The Pressburg’s legal book differentiated a
wider variety of criminal acts and their corresponding punishments than, for
example, Hungarian nobility law.
The primary object of the court’s interest
in criminal issues was not the culprit but the act, or the offence he/she
committed. Only rarely were the motifs subjected to investigation, while the
confession had practically absolute legal power. In the event of the culprit’s
confession the court often ordered torture. When the culprit pleaded guilty, the
court merely delivered its judgment.
The capital verdict was the death penalty and the
manner of execution was assessed on the seriousness of the trespasses. Written
evidence tells us that the town had undoubtedly enforced the right of sword
(ius gladii) since the 13th century and it remains a
mystery, why the official record on granting this right comes only from the half
of the 15th century (1451). There are two explanations: either the
official privilege on ordaining the right of sword was not preserved, or – and
what is more probable – no monarch had issued it by then because the town
started to enforce the right of sword based on the customary law after it was
granted the free royal town’s rights. King Matej Korvín (Matthias Corvinus) specified and broadened the
throaty jurisdiction of Bratislava with a bill issued on February 15, 1468 in
Buda, following a request from Bratislava citizens. The most frequent offence in
the mentioned county books was exposing the culprit to pillory or on it. The
pillory, a stage with a pillar to which the delinquent was lashed, used to be on
the Main Square near the town hall. Fastening to a beam or being caged and
exposed at the pillory, without beating, was nonetheless a humiliating
punishment; lashing with a rod, stick or whip on the pillory was actually
considered a milder punishment. Pressburg’s legal records documented several
crippling penalties including amputation of an arm but these were only
occasionally mentioned when court was in practice.
The normal punishment for theft was hanging
on a scaffold, which stood in front of Michael’s Gate. Its location cast a
message that peace should rule over the town; that there is no place for
breakers of communal good-living and offenders of sins. The teaching lesson was
enforced with the custom of leaving the hanged there until they fell from the
scaffold, or until the next execution. The death penalty by drowning was quite
rare. The robbing murderers were usually executed by being broken on the wheel,
probably the harshest form of capital punishment and the body was then exhibited
at the place of the execution as a warning. In front of Michael’s Gate people
were also burnt, though this kind of execution was rare in Bratislava. Between
1490 and 1526 seven delinquents were burnt at the pyre, which accounted for 12.5
percent of the number of ascertained executions.
Cruel punishments of feudal justice did not
extirpate crime, but the public executions did not fail to make an effect. They
were exciting performances that evoked fear and horror as well as fascination
for the public.

Missing drawings by Wolfgang


In 2004 we commemorated the 270th
anniversary of the birth and 200th anniversary of the death of
Wolfgang von Kempelen. Kempelen occupies a permanent place in the scientific
research of languages with his “speaking machine” and 1791 book the Mechanism of
Human Language. Little, though, is known about other aspects of his various
Not only technical talent but also artistic skills
determined honorary membership for Kempelen at the Academy of Fine Arts in
Vienna since 1789. In his free time, up to a late age, he liked to create
sketches, studies of nature, engravings and copperplates, as his friend K. Unger
informs us in the necrology of April 1804.
Little of Kemplen’s work, unfortunately, has been
preserved. Béla Kempelen, a member of the family, writes in his chronicle of
1939 that Géza Kempelen, who lived and worked as a financial director in Košice
around 1900, donated some 230 drawings and studies to Košice museum (today’s
Eastern-Slovak Museum) in May of 1898. Géza, as well as Béla Kempelen again and
again sold or donated items from the family ownership, mainly personal
belongings of Wolfgang von Kempelen to various institutions in Hungary (and
maybe also abroad) over the 20th century. The Hungarian magazine
Művészet ran an article on Wolfgang von Kempelen in 1904, which mentioned that
several years previous the Košice museum received certain drawings. It is
possible that Géza Kempelen provided the editorial with the information. A
record of the donation of Wolfgang von Kempelen’s works can also be found in the
inventory book of the Eastern-Slovak Museum in Košice under the signature of
3661. However, it is not clear from the records whether the works were panels
with free papers or a bound book, or notebook. It is strange that the printed
inventory book on the museum’s various items from 1904 does not include this
signature. One of the museum’s archivists I talked to in early October of 2003
assumed that during that time various items were transported to other Hungarian
institutions, without proper registration to the museums’ inventory books. It
must have happened in 1898-1904 and maybe that is when Wolfgang von Kempelen’s
works might have become lost. The remaining key task is to find the whereabouts
of Kempelen’s works from the Eastern-Slovak Museum in Košice.

Jubilee declaration and centenary of
uprising 1848/1849


In the process of the emancipation of Slovak
society, which knew how to organize and articulate political interests from the
second half of the 19th century, the documents of the Slovak National
Council (SNR) occupy a specific position. Currently the highest legislative body
of the Slovak Republic, it originated as a representative political apparatus of
the Slovaks in the mid 19th century and during its development stood
for the nation in breaking moments. Through printed leaflets and proclamations
from the revolutionary years of 1848/1849 it approached the program of the fight
for national freedom, and from declarations during those years it expressed two
basic historical tendencies: to separate from Hungarian monarchy after the First
World War and to incline to a parliamentary democratic Czech-Slovak Republic,
and make Slovakia fight side by side with an anti-fascist coalition in the
second world war. After the May elections in 1948, the political elite in
Slovakia were confronted with the dilemma of how to incorporate the celebrations
of the 1848/1849 uprising and the 30th anniversary of the origin of
Czechoslovakia with the newly-created political situation.
At the County house, in the place where the Košice
Governmental Program announced, the 4th ceremonial meeting of the
Slovak National Council, the Jubilee declaration of SNR approved the 1848/1849
revolution on August 29, 1948. Apart form the printed version it was also
presented in a ceremonial edition, which on first sight was inspired by the
ceremonial version of Štefan Kostelníček Martin’s declaration dedicated to the
10th anniversary of the origin of the Republic, consisting of a text
with an artistic segment. Painter and graphic artist Dezider Milly (1906 – 1971)
created the graphic model (colorful lino-cut). Ceremonial approval of the
declaration was manifested in the euphoria of political changes perceived as a
codification and manifestation of the successful fight for national sovereignty.
Even though the arrival of Stalinist politics meant approaching the national
issue solution from the position of internationalization, the communist elite
had no choice but to profess the ideas of the 1848/1849 revolution as the
foundation stone of the solution of the Slovak issue.

Historic ceramic roofing in Slovakia


Though ceramic roofing has been a quintessential
part of the architecture of the Slovak territory for almost 2,000 years,
scientific research concentrates on its origins. Ceramic roofing is often
discovered at archaeological excavations. However, late findings show that
historical ceramic roofing can be also found at in its original place, on the
roofs and trusses, where it has been waiting to be discovered for several
centuries. It is a paradox that the best processed and documented is the oldest
ceramic covering, which comes from the Romanian period (1st to
3rd century AD). It is to be found in almost all archeological sites
of the Roman provinces in our territory: camps and stations at the Limes
line – Devín, Bratislava, Rusovce, Stupava, Iža. Advanced Roman
architectonics brought the ceramic roofing production technology to our
territory. The stamps also tell the name of the producer. Tegularius Gaius
Valerius Constans
worked in the nearby Carnuntum and his products were
found at burial sites in Rusovce. From Gerulata comes a unique roofing tile, on
which the roof worker before burning it sketched a walking person of a bearded
man carrying a cross. The image is considered the oldest proof of Christian
faith in Slovakia and it can be dated to 3rd century AD.
With Romans leaving our territory the
knowledge of making ceramic roofing was lost. Germans and Slavs, whose
construction works were on an incomparably lower level, covered the housings
with accessible natural material – reed, straw, shingles and tree bark. The only
exceptions are the mangers found in Košice-Šebastovce at the housing estate from
the 1st-2nd century. They served as a suspension
construction for a grid in pottery furnaces. Ceramic roofing found use in the
Great Moravian period of church building, when the construction workers used
leftovers from the original Roman roofing, as well as the coverings which they
started to produce at that time. It resembled the Roman pattern in its shapes
and survived in extinct Roman localities where it was used secondarily in the
following centuries. Research on the Great Moravian basilica at Bratislava
castle hill produced evidence of it.
The occurrence of ceramic roofing in the
Middle Ages was restricted to certain territories, namely southwestern and
southeastern Slovakia. The generally accepted opinion that monasteries spread
the technologies, was backed up by the finding of ceramic roofing during the
research on extinct monasteries in Krásna nad Hornádom, which existed in the
11th to 16th century. The research’s leader B. Polla
supposed that the tiles were not made by the monks but that they ordered them
from specialist manufacturers. Evidence of burnt roofing could also be seen in
towns from an early time. The oldest archaeological proof dating from the first
half of the 13th century comes from Bratislava itself and is to be
found on Panská 19-21. In the Medieval Ages only significant buildings, town
halls, record offices, armories and important fortifications – gates and
bastions resistant to fires were covered with tiles. It is possible that the
houses of the wealthiest townsmen also made use of them.
In modern times, brick production spread
everywhere where the suitable material sources could be found. The furnaces used
to be at the edge of the settlements close to a suitable clay pit and water
source. Tile production was itself established by brick production. In
Bratislava in the 18th century the brick furnaces used to be at the
area of today’s Tehelné pole. Though written evidence of the production is
lacking, we know about it thanks to late findings on the roofs of the Bratislava
houses. During research on roofing in the historical centre, made in the 1990s,
burnt roofing from the 17th to the 20th century was
detected. The oldest, from the mid 17th century, were the step-ended
tiles from Segner’s curia at Michalská 7. A rich source of information was
provided by the roof on Kostolná 1, where two unique signed tiles were found,
into which the monogram DH (probably the initials of the producer) and
the date 1768 were thinly engraved before they were burned.