Mikuláš Čelko – Mária Čelková – Ján Patsch
The Town Hall in Banská Štiavnica
Banská Štiavnica Town Hall has undergone several reconstructions during the last three years, which have necessitated the need for a research and restoration of its parts – the wall paintings in the boardroom (2008) and the building’s façade (2009). The restoration and archaeological research has confirmed the existence of the late-gothic Chapel of St. Anna as the building’s immediate component part from the end of the 15th century to the 1780s.
The oldest known record concerning the Chapel of St. Anna comes from 1488, when Queen Dowager Beatrix allowed the town of Banská Štiavnica to build a chapel, which meant rebuilding one of the Town Hall’s houses. The historiography dates the construction and the redevelopments of the Town Hall, including the construction of the St. Anna’s Chapel, to various years (1488, 1489 and 1507). The chapel was to have had five windows and two choirs at that time. The Town Hall’s rebuilt tower housed the St. Anna bell from 1509.
Documentation from July 1692 describes the Chapel of St. Anna as having a stone vault and choir, coloured windows and a single altar. The chapel was connected to the Town Hall via an entrance from the vicarage. Research of the Town Hall’s façade before its reconstruction in 2009 has been seen to confirm this. It has also revealed a late-gothic entrance portal to the chapel on the Town Hall’s northern side.
The chapel underwent interior adjustments in the 18th century and ceased to exist after the Town Hall’s reconstruction had taken place in 1787 – 1788, following the plans of architect Jozef Pircker.A church with the same patrocinium and also based on Pircker’s plans was built in what was then the town district of Štefultov. It was consecrated in 1799. A staircase and an entrance to the Town Hall were erected where the chapel had been and prison rooms were located on the ground floor. The new entrance led to the first floor with the town treasury and controller, as well as rooms for the town guards and a boardroom. The equipment from St. Anna’s Chapel was moved to the nearby Church of St. Catherine.
The research of historical sources successfully identified the man behind the illusive wall painting in the town hall’s boardroom on the first floor. It was the painter and gilder Anton Mayer. The room was restored twice in the 20th century (1948, 1979 – 1980). Another restoration of the wall paintings took place in 2007 – 2008, which aimed to bring back the original values of classicist illusive painting. The restoration stimulated archival as well as art-historical research that brought new information regarding the identification of the painting’s artist and its iconography. The archaeological and architectural research, which took place before the façade reconstruction in 2009, revealed the preserved parts of St. Anna’s Chapel. The restored boardroom appears as it was at the time of its origin.
Art relics of the Rubigalls from Banská Štiavnica
Pavol Rubigall, one of the Slovak humanist Latin poets from Kremnica, registered as Paulus Rubigallus Cremnitz in the Wittenberg University album of 1536, is mainly famous in literary research and specifically with the analysis of his poetry. He was mentioned in connection with Banská Štiavnica for the first time in 1537, when the fledgling poet dedicated his first literary work Qverela Pannoniae ad Germaniam… to Banská Štiavnica’s Chamber Count Peter Hilleprant, who apparently sponsored his studies in Wittenberg. The young humanist might have first considered a diplomatic career: in 1540 he joined the mission to Constantinople that aimed to gain Turkish support for John Sigismund after the death of his father, the Hungarian king John Zápolya. The sources tell us also that in 1547 – 1548 Pavol Rubigall represented Johann Christoph von Tarnow at the Augsburg imperial assembly.
The widow of Chamber Count Peter Hilleprant, Barbara, adopted the young man in 1548 and made him the heir of the Hilleprant’s possessions. Though this made Rubigall one of the richest burghers and businessmen in mining industry, it also took him away from his pan-European interests and tied him to Banská Štiavnica.
Until recently, it was mainly the late-gothic portal dated from 1538 and the coat of arms from 1692 on the so-called Rubigall’s house in Banská Štiavnica that generally represented the art relics of Pavol Rubigall. However, these two items from different periods relate more to the house than to the person who was both humanist and literary man, as well as campaigner and anti-Turkish fighter since Pavol Rubigall was not yet living in the house at Trojičné námestie in 1538. The real art artefact that represents not only Pavol Rubigall but also his sons Teodor and Pavol is the polychrome stone portal from 1573 preserved at the Slovenská Ľupča Castle with the family motto Dominus Deus Protector Meus and embossed portraits of the Rubigalls in the header joist. This manifests Pavol’s ambition to leave a trace at the Ľupča estate, which he held in pledge between 1567 and 1575. He probably used the castle and the adjoining estate as a working basis: the period correspondence shows that the Rubigall family, firmly established in the burgher’s environs of Banská Štiavnica, had never resided there permanently.
The family motto can also be seen on the simple personal medal from 1565, which probably relates to Rubigall’s nobilitation on July 25, 1564, when he acquired the predicate von Carlsdorf. The Rubigall coat of arms can also be found on the epitaph of Pavol Rubigall Jr. at the church in Baden bei Wien, who was buried next to his grandfather Hieronymus Salio von Hirschberg. The last preserved memory of the Rubigall family is the simple tombstone of Apolonia Rubigall, again dominated by the Rubigall coat of arms, which had been secondarily bricked into the wall of the Most Holy Trinity Church in Slovenská Ľupča.
The portal, medal, tombstone and epitaph represent the common art relics of the Banská Štiavnica’s Lutheran families in the 16th century. They visualise the Renaissance anthropocentrism and represent a specific person with a particular cultural experience.
Models of mining stamp treatment equipment
The Slovak Mining Museum (SBM) in Banská Štiavnica preserves models from various fields of mining activity. The most interesting and most rare are the models coming from the Banská Štiavnica Mining Academy, which ran its classes from 1764 to 1770. Two technicians were responsible for producing sophisticated models for the students. The most complicated models in construction are those which demonstrate technological developments and the processing techniques applied to the mineral resources, from the extraction of the ore from the mines through to the crushing of it in a stamping-mill and then to the manufacturing of a concentrate. The last step is the culmination of the mining process.
The SBM collections contain models of stamping-mills from the oldest type to the all-metal, so-called Californian one. In terms of production accuracy and the skilled hand of the creator, four models work best. In 1929, the Museum of Dionýz Štúr in Banská Štiavnica (the predecessor of SBM) acquired the model – a teaching aid, which demonstrates the so-called wet crushing in the Rosia Montana golden mine, from the State Secondary Mining School in Banská Štiavnica. Similarly, the model of stamping-mills with three power sluices demonstrates the crushing process and the following gravitation treatment. The model entered the collection fund of the Mining Museum of Dionýz Štúr in 1938 from the Mining Academy.
In 1961, the Secondary Mining School in Banská Štiavnica donated the model of the so-called Californian stamping-mills to the museum. In 1990, the engineer Daninger from Zvolen made exact copies of the treatment equipment for the museum. His stamping-mill, powered by a water wheel, is a functioning electrical model that encompasses the entire facility of the 18th century’s stamping-mill.
More modern and more effective pieces of equipment – crushers – gradually replaced the stamping-mills. A cylindrical crusher invented in 1808 was first used in Slovak territory in 1848. In 1858, E. W. Blake patented a jaw crusher, which Daninger turned into a movable model for the museum.
Another, originally a functional model of the cylindrical crusher, which moved by way of a handle, represents a different technique of ore grinding. The cylindrical crusher was introduced in Slovakia in 1847 at the Karol shaft in Banská Štiavnica. In 1927, the State Secondary School dedicated this model to the newly specialised mining museum – the State Mining Museum of D. Štúr. By the end of the 19th century, the cement works began to make use of ball mills for the grinding of limestone. A model of a ball mill with a drag-link sorter in the scale of 1 : 10 was again made by engineer Daninger.
The models of sluices from the 19th century, used by the students of the Mining Academy, represent the gravitation treatment at the museum. Regarding the movement, the sluices were divided between the immovable and the movable. The museum keeps two models of Rittinger’s rotary sluices. The museum acquired the first in 1927 and the second in 1929. The last presented model is the Šándorka gravitation treatment facility in Banská Štiavnica, which however, is not complete.
The courageous Swabians in Štiavnica
The creative expressions of the burgher’s environment in early modern times included painted facades and interiors characteristic of private and profane buildings, decorated with Renaissance wall paintings. Suitable subjects included various biblical themes, scenes and characters from history and classic literature as well as allegoric images; genre scenes would also appear next to these “serious” topics. Figural compositions taken over from German, mainly Nuremberg graphic artworks complete with inscriptions and quotations from the Bible were quite popular in the 16th and 17th centuries, as some of the restored and not yet presented findings of Banská Štiavnica confirm. Less known among them is the painting of the vaulted room at the ground floor of the so-called Oberaigner’s house at 15 Trojičné Square.
The paintings were preserved on three external walls of the longitudinal hall at the ground floor, with windows facing the square. Above the original entrance door on the northern wall is a figure with draperied head, which after the restoration looks like a nun in black robe, marked by initials H. R. Two figural paintings adorn the western wall opposite the windows. On the left is a half-figure in a folly cap with crossed arms and an incompletely preserved inscription written over two rows: (LAP?) HAST DV NIT / (SCHW?)ASEN GESEHEN. The painting in the right lunette, of which only a fragment of a saddled horse was preserved, could also have related to the theme of foolery, inspired for instance by the moralistic work Das Narrenschiff by Sebastian Brant (Basel 1494). The most voluminous is the expression in the upper part of the southern wall where nine men wear hats and clothes characteristic of German fashion. They are arranged one after another, holding a large spear and advancing to the left, where one can see a sitting rabbit. Only fragments have been preserved of the German inscriptions that complement the paintings. The illustration is a famous satire of the courageous Swabians and the adventures they experienced while travelling the world, which has been orally known since the 15th century and is still popular in German lands also thanks to the Grimm brothers (Kinder und Hausmärchen, 1st edition in 1819). According to the presentation, the paintings could have originated in the second half of the 16th century, but most probably it was not sooner than the beginning of the 17th century.
PAMIATKY A MÚZEÁ
MAGAZINE´S ANNUAL AWARDS FOR 2009
The treasures of Bratislava Castle
Employees of the City Institute for Monuments’ Preservation (MÚOP) in Bratislava, Branislav Lesák, Margaréta Musilová, Branislav Resutík, Andrej Vrtel and Jozef Kováč, received the annual award of the Monuments and Museums revue for 2009 in the category of Discovery – Finding for the archaeological research at Bratislava Castle, the national cultural monument. They discovered a unique complex of the oldest stone architectures from the 1st century BC, which relate to the settlement of the acropolis of the Celtic oppidum on the castle hill. This finding was received with popularity and enjoyed extensive public reaction thanks mainly to the discovery of treasure with gold and silver coins at a Roman building of the Winter Riding-School (see Monuments and Museums No 2/2010, page 2 – 13).
After the discovery of the Celtic coin workshop at Panská 19 – 21 and the protection wall ringlet around the acropolis, found during the research at the Klarisky (St. Clara’s Order) Church and 7 Ventúrska Street, the current research at Bratislava Castle was to show the second culmination of La Tene topography and more rare evidence of the significance of the Bratislava Celtic oppidum with precious findings of quality masonry architecture in the Roman provenience. The ongoing research at Bratislava castle is the largest archaeological project of the MÚOP. It was initiated by the reconstruction and renovation of the castle palace and several other buildings in the area, where excavation works had begun in 2008, and are expected to finish in 2010. The findings of this research, discovered over an area of around one hectare, have overcome all expectations – they are exceedingly significant discoveries, which fundamentally alter the view not only of the history of Bratislava and southwestern Slovakia but also with regards to the development of Central Europe during the 1st century BC. Bratislava Castle had been a poly-cultural archaeological locality with a continuity of settlement since Primeval Ages. Apart from significant Celtic and Roman findings from the 1st century BC, the research was to deliver information on the prehistoric period as well as the turning of the eras, the Great Moravian empire (9th to 10th centuries), Árpád Hungary (11th to 12th centuries), the enlightened Middle Ages (14th to 15th centuries) and the modern period (17th to 18th centuries). A significant settlement over a considerable area was to have been found in the late Stone Age, 4500 years ago. There was a rich collection of ceramics with characteristically engraved and relief decoration, an anthropomorphic life-size sculpture of a man’s foot and a set of polished stone tools to document the movable findings.
Archive of the Jesenský family Compossessorate
The Jesenský family from Horné Jaseno (today part of the Turčianske Jaseno municipality in the Turiec region) is quite a famous noble family. The family’s beginnings go back to 1274, when Mado’s sons Michal, Peter and Štefan were donated the land of today’s municipality by King Ladislaus IV the Cuman. Mikuláš’s sons Juraj and Štefan divided the family into two basic lines in the middle of the 16th century. Juraj’s sons owned the upper curia and Štefan’s sons had the lower one. Both family lines were to be divided even further at a later date. Horné Jaseno evolved into a curial municipality (inhabited by aristocrats) over the next few centuries. It was to remain almost exclusively in the hands of the family even after 1848 and the cadastre of the municipality has barely changed since medieval times.
Undoubtedly the most significant member of the family was the doctor and humanist Jan Jesenius, rector of the Charles University, executed in 1621 at the Prague’s Staroměstské Square. Other significant members of the family in recent period include writer Janko Jesenský and former minister of the Hungarian Republic’s Foreign Affairs Géza Jesenszky. Information about the family history was limited by now as most of the archive documents could not to be found in Slovak public archives. In 2009, following negotiations with the mayoress of the Turčianske Jaseno municipality, Janka Jesenská, the Slovak National Archives (SNA) obtained the archive of the Horné Jaseno Compossessorate, including several medieval documents, as a depository. This was one way of obtaining historically valuable files from private ownership for the researching public whilst saving them permanently in public archives and their formal ownership remaining at the same time unchanged.
The obtained archival fund, rarely well preserved, is a precious testimony on the life of the curial municipalities, which have been only minimally covered by special literature. A similarly self-contained and what’s more integrated file of documents, derived from the activity of a noble compossessorate, has hitherto not been present in the SNA. The archival fund, which currently undergoes an inventory control, embraces a time span from (1274) 1445 to the middle of the 20th century. In accordance with the owner’s request, the SNA plans to open it to the public in 2011.
Executioner’s Flat in Košice
The Eastern-Slovak Museum in Košice opened a new permanent exhibition displaying the history of Košice executioners in September 2009 in the historical building of the Executioner’s Flat that has undergone extensive reconstruction. The exhibition is related in theme with the exposition of Mikluš prison. The renovation of the historical building was financed by the irretrievable contribution from the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism EEA GRANTS, which was granted to the Košice municipality. The Drahovský & Pásztor Architects and Col. in Košice prepared the renovation project of the Executioner’s Flat, which was preceded by an architectural-historical research. This was to distinguish main phases of the construction development of the building that was added to the defence tower of the town fortification.
During the archaeological research of Mikluš prison’s courtyard in 2006, foundations of the prison’s courtyard wing were identified, which were pulled down during the building reconstruction in 1940 – l942. During the excavation works in 2008, remains of a simple medieval building, probably a medieval shoe workshop, were revealed. The research in archive sources of Košice town’s Archives brought important information on the history of the Executioner’s Flat. The flat near the town prison records the number of town inhabitants from 1762. The town sold the Executioner’s Flat to the Calvinist Reformed Church in 1804, which continued to use it as accommodation for their administrator. The building became part of the Eastern-Slovak Museum’s exposition in the second half of the 20th century.
The new exhibition in the Executioner’s Flat presents the construction-historical development of the building, the history of the hanging right in the town of Košice, and the livelihood and life of the town’s executioner. The exposition was prepared by the employees of the Historical Department of the Eastern-Slovak Museum in Košice. Slavomír Dluhý from the Dluhý Atelier in Košice designed the architectural and artistic looks. Dušan Šuch from the Technical University in Košice created the computer animation of the construction development in the historical area of the Executioner’s Bastion – Mikluš Prison and the Košice Savid Studio added the voice and made a film version of this visualisation in three languages. The texts accompanying the exposition are in Slovak and English. The audiovisual guide made by the Promotion & Education Prague was also prepared in these two language versions. Slovakia’s Culture Ministry and the Košice municipality financed the exposition.
Terra Scepusiensis – Terra Christiana 1209 – 2009
Spiš, one of Slovakia’s significant historical regions, commemorated the 800th anniversary of its first known firsthand written reference last year. The Slovak National Museum-Spiš Museum in Levoča prepared a special exhibition project, which presented Spiš Castle and Spiš Canonry as two centres with influence on the historical and spiritual experience of Spiš as well as the regions around. The exhibition dedicated to important events, personalities and documents of history, consisted of two relatively independent parts.
The first part presented the results of the latest architectural-historical researches that took place at the Cathedral of St. Martin in Spiš Canonry (2007) and Spiš Castle (2008). The interdisciplinary cooperation of historians, archivists, an archaeologist and art historian brought together an interesting constellation of exhibits that related historically as well as in meaning but had never been jointly exhibited before. They included such entries as the papal bull of Martin V. that was discovered in the lower courtyard of Spiš Castle, the document from 1443 confirming that part of the Spiš Canonry archive was deliberately destroyed and the hutch of locus credibilis – Spiš Canonry from the 15th century in which the canonry’s archive was evacuated to the castle. Also valuable were the 72 original documents from the 13th and 19th century, which, due to their high protection, were introduced to the public gradually, in sets, and only for a short time.
The second part of the exhibition showed three cycles of work of the young artist from Spišské Podhradie, Matúš Lányi. Entitled New Testament, the display simultaneously answered the question of whether or not 800 years old ideas can still inspire today. The exhibition project, which ended in July 2010, was accompanied with lectures, meetings with the personalities of Spiš, guided tours for the blind and education programmes for children within the School in Museum project. A double-beam catalogue was printed for both parts of the exhibition concept. The two volumes included the introduction studies and independent picture and catalogue presentation of the exhibits.
The History of Slovak Fine Art – Renaissance
Published by the Slovak National Gallery and SLOVART, Ltd., Bratislava 2009
Editor: Ivan Rusina
At the end of the 1990s, the Slovak National Gallery (SNG) initiated efforts to systematically compile the Slovak history of art not only in exhibition projects but also in books. The aim of the voluminous project entitled The History of Slovak Fine Art was to organise a large exhibition accompanied with a representative publication on the given period of art history. Because of several problems it was impossible to keep the time sequence of the individual periods. Since 1998, when the SNG organised the cycle’s first exhibition dedicated to baroque (curator and executive editor Ivan Rusina), other parts of the project gradually followed: art of the 20th century (executive curator and editor Zora Rusinová) in 2000; gothic art (executive curator and editor Dušan Buran) in 2003; and an exhibition (curator Zuzana Ludiková) and book (executive editor Ivan Rusina) on the Renaissance at the end of the last year. All books were editorially and visually prepared in the SNG and the Slovart publishing house joined in the publication of the last two volumes.
The book Renaissance, subtitled The Art between the Late Gothic and Baroque, offers the first overall view of the art of the “long century”, mapping the development in architecture, sculpture, painting and artistic crafts from the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries till the middle of the 17th century. Coincidentally, it has become the largest volume of the edition. It continues in structure by connecting the written and visual part with the previous volume, which was also graphically designed by Jana Sapáková. The book does not function only as an accompanying publication of the exhibition but also as a presentation of the basic (often the most current) research with a lot of new information on the quite by-passed issue of Renaissance art in Slovakia.
A collective of 30 experts from Slovakia, as well as abroad, prepared the studies for publication. The following main chapters form the work’s structure: The Story, Everyday and Holiday Life, Changes in Architecture and Art. The book has a voluminous illustrated section and a catalogue with commentaries to the published works. The rich text and photographic part is supplemented with annotations, bibliography, tables, maps, name and place register, and English resume. It has over 1000 pages and contains around 750 colour and black and white reproductions.
Slovakia. Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Monuments
Interview with the author of the idea of the publication, design, concept and rectification of the 3D drawings, the director of the photographic shots in their localities, the writer of slogans and commentaries describing the pictures, the compiler and publisher of the awarded encyclopaedia on historical architecture, fine art monuments and notabilities, Peter Kresánek (see also Monuments and Museums No 1/2010, p. 65 – 67).
This publication, impressive in volume as well as contents, published by the Simplicissimus publishing house, successfully represents Slovakia as a country with an extremely manifold cultural heritage. The concept of compiler and publisher in one person was inspired by the foreign Baedekers (travel guides) with their 3D drawings of monuments, which could be understood by laics and the decision was made to buy the licence for the book’s concept and graphics from the English publishers Dorling Kindersley.
The encyclopaedia has 983 pages, 138 3D images and almost 6,000 photographs. Graphic designer Rastislav Macho worked on the publication’s visual style along with photographer Matej Longauer. The final result is a work of more than 100 experts, who are listed in the impress as well as the end of the publication. In December last year, the publisher also introduced the English version to the market, which was published together with the Slovak reprint. While the English translation had 1,701.5 pages, the prepared German version will be longer and therefore more expensive.
The preparation of the publication took four to five years of travelling across Slovakia and taking photographs. Apart from the long-term working experience, the compiler was also able to observe changes in Slovakia’s cultural heritage. As he says, there are fewer walls on castle ruins and more repaired manor houses, even though some did yield interventions criticized by conservationists. The speed and number of reconstructed art monuments is truly fascinating. It is so amazing that for some it was impossible to update photographs at the end of the preparatory works.
Terpsichora Istropolitana. Dancing in 18th century Pressburg
The third publication to receive the Annual Award of the Monuments and Museums’ magazine for 2009 is a book by the noted personality of Slovak ballet art, as well as pedagogue and dance historian, Miklós Vojtek. It opens us up to the so-far unknown and unexplored field of dance history in 18th century Bratislava (then Pressburg). This was a famous era in our history, when Bratislava??? was the significant political and cultural centre of the Habsburg empire. The author offers the view of dance history through his social and cultural positions and at the same time introduces the social and artistic life of the region.
The monograph followed a long-term study of source materials, mainly the period newspaper Pressburger Zeitung from 1764 to 1799. The excerpted news on dance topics are accompanied with information on that time’s dancing in nearby Vienna, Pest (today’s Budapest) and other European dance centres.
The book is a testimony of different types of dance culture, its representatives and sponsors in Pressburg and surroundings. The author introduces dance events taking place at the royal castle and royal curia, during assemblies and coronation ceremonies, dance festivities in the aristocratic residences of Pálffys, Esterházys, Grassalkovichs and Erdődys, as well as dance events in the residences of the primas: in the archbishop’s winter and summer garden palaces, in Podunajské Biskupice, Lieskovec and Veľký Biel. Dance was an important part of the residential culture. Sovereign Maria Theresa paid great attention to it during her stays in Pressburg and also made it part of the education of her children.
The author’s contribution is an analysis of ballet development in Central Europe and specifically in Pressburg in the 18th century. The professional stage dance played an important role in the Illésházy curia or Weitenhof theatre (1609 – 1733), in the wooden theatre in front of Rybárska brána (Fisherman’s Gate, 1741 – 1742), in the theatre of the old Country’s House (1747 – 1751), in the theatre at Strelecká priekopa (Gunnery Ditch, 1750 – 1764), in the town theatre of Green House (1764 – 1776), and in the Csáky’s Town Theatre (1776 – 1884). He describes not only the character and type of the professional dance, but also the place: the exterior and interior of the theatre, orchestra and backstage. He evaluates and supports the significance and contribution of Count Juraj Csáky, the greatest sponsor of the Terpsichory arts in our town during the mentioned period.
The Theatre Institute published the book with 250 pages in Bratislava in 2009 as part of the Slovak Theatre edition.
Dalibor Lesník – Marian Uhrin
Renovation of the armoured train Štefánik
After the outbreak of the Slovak National Uprising (1944), the 1st Czechoslovak Army felt there was a lack of mobile heavy weaponry in Slovakia and therefore initiated a construction of improvised armoured trains. The constructions followed pre-war Czechoslovak regulations and the experiences of the German and Soviet armies. An order to build the armoured train Štefánik came on September 4, 1944. The train, manufactured in the workshops of the Slovak Railways in Zvolen, was constructed by Colonel Štefan Čáni and First-Lieutenant Hugo Wainberger. It was ready in a record time of 14 days; the second train Hurban even earlier – in 11 days. If we were to include the third train Masaryk, the trains were built in five weeks.
The uprising’s armoured train had a forward, cannon and machine-gun wagon and a locomotive. Tank wagons were arranged in the front of and behind the locomotive. Disabled LT tanks, model 35, were assigned for mounting into the tank wagons. The construction of the wagons was quite simple, but effective. An ordinary cargo wagon had a wooden construction with gaps filled in with grit and steal plates that served as armour. Part of the cannon wagon’s armament was one 8-cm canon, type 5/8, and two heavy machine guns; the machine-gun’s wagon had five heavy machine guns.
The first to join the battles were the trains Štefánik and Hurban at the beginning of October 1944 – Štefánik near Stará Kremnička and Hurban near Čremošné. Štefánik was mostly active in the south-western part of the war field within the III tactical group (Zvolen – Hronská Dúbrava, Zvolen – Krupina) and Hurban fought in battles on the track of Harmanec – Čremošné and Brezno – Červená Skala. Masaryk was put in heavy defence battles on the track of Brezno – Červená Skala at the end of October 1944. In the last days of the uprising’s armed resistance, the trains were gathered in the Harmanec – Uľanka area, where the crews had abandoned them. After the uprising’s defeat they were to become the booty of the German army.
After the end of the war, three wagons of the armoured trains returned to Slovakia. One tank wagon ended in a scrap-yard, another one was reconstructed and preserved in Zvolen, originally in front of a railway station, today in the area of the Railway Repair Shops and Engineering Works. The machine-gun wagon became part of the Slovak National Uprising (SNP) Museum in Banská Bystrica after the reconstruction.
The idea of reconstructing and making driveable the uprising’s improvised armoured train Štefánik originated in the heads of the SNP’s employees during the preparation of the 65th anniversary celebrations of the SNP. Together with the fans of the Historical Technology Club at the Locomotive depot in Zvolen and other partners of this special project, they began to work on the wagons’ reproduction in June 2009. The renovated train Štefánik was officially introduced to the public on the 28th and 29th August 2009 at Banská Bystrica railway station.
Wall paintings in the Church of St. Nicholas in Poruba
The restoration of an exceptionally rare interior in the Church of St. Nicholas in Poruba took several years and was completed in 2009. The restorers worked on a complex of medieval wall paintings, girder ceiling, facades, architectural articles, pulpit and other artefacts.
The Church of St. Nicholas in Poruba is a one-nave building with rectangular presbytery, tower, northern sacristy and later added side rooms and entrance hall. The building was probably erected at the turn of the 13th and 14th century. At the beginning of the 15th century it was covered with fitted wall paintings. Protestants took over the church in 1660 and placed in a wooden empora, which was of a smaller scale than the current one. In 1701 they imbedded a new main altar and the older medieval one was probably installed at the southern side of the nave. Possibly due to capacity reasons, they enlarged the empora at the turn of the 19th and 20th century to its current size. In the 20th century they worked on utility adjustments – building a western entrance hall, piercing or enlarging windows on the northern side, adjusting windows on the southern wall and adding side rooms.
The medieval wall paintings in the sanctuary and partly in the nave were discovered at the end of the 19th century. Between 1901 and 1911, Budapest restorer István Groh performed the first restoration works on the uncovered areas. Edmund Massányi continued the restoration in 1956 – 1957 and Albert Leixner restored the church facades in 1966 – 1968. A collective of authors, M. Šurin, J. Dorica, V. Mýtnik and M. Flaugnatti, performed a restoration research of the whole building in 1997 – 1998. The research revealed a new size of the nave’s wall paintings and brought many findings providing more exact information on the known painting decorations.
Restoration of the wall paintings completed in 2009 was part of the complex renovation of the church. The wooden painted ceiling from 1658 was renovated as well as the locally preserved Renaissance decoration in the sanctuary’s niche, on the pedestal’s part of the Triumphal Arch and masonry pulpit. The restoration was carried out by Miroslav Šurin, Jozef Dorica and Mario Flaugnatti. Andrej Botek performed the art-historical research.
Revitalisation of the area of the Strážky national cultural monument
The manor house and its area (park, church and belfry) in Strážky – the municipal part of the town of Spišská Belá, were declared a national monument in October 1963. The history of the manor house is linked with the history of the Strážky municipality, which was founded in the second half of the 12th century. The ownership relations are mentioned in sources since 1290, when the Berzeviczy family owned Strážky. From 1500 it belonged to the Warkotsy family. Croatian noble Markus Horváth-Stansith de Gradecz acquired the municipality in 1556. Members of this family inhabited Strážky until the beginning of the 19th century and have considerably enhanced its development. In the second half of the 16th century, Gregor Horváth-Stansith turned an older building into a Renaissance manor house, and founded a Latin humanist school for the nobles’ children and at that time one of the best equipped libraries in the then Hungary. After 1801, when the Horváth-Stansith family died, the families of Szirmays, Mednyánzskys and Czóbels owned the manor house. The manor house’s last owner Margita Czóbel resided in the gradually deteriorating building until her death in 1972. The manor house was reconstructed and adapted for the Slovak National Gallery between the 1970s and 1980s.
The nearby Church of St. Anna was built in the second half or end of the 15th century. It saw several reconstructions in the following centuries. Because of a bad technical state of the church, a static research took place in 1970, which established the decrease in the surrounding terrain. The terrain modifications also revealed an original medieval stone fence wall. A restoration research of late-gothic interior paintings (confirmed in 1957 with a probe research) took place in 1986 and at the beginning of the 1990s the wall paintings were restored.
The Gothic Renaissance prismatic belfry made of stone was built as a fortified building possibly at the end of the 14th or 15th century, thus earlier than the late-gothic Church of St. Anna. The dating could be estimated thanks to two gothic portals, two gothic window holes and a loophole. The belfry had seen several construction adjustments; the year of 1629 inscribed on the southern façade dates the last Renaissance phase. The renovation of the belfry (since 1970) was finished in 2006. The belfry with its characteristic sgraffiti decoration is one of the most valuable constructions of this type in the region. It is an example of a unique period-artistic style of the Spiš renaissance.
In 2007 the Slovakia’s Monuments Board enlarged the protective zone of the national cultural monument – the manor house and area. The Spišská Belá administration prepared a concept of renovation for the church area and belfry in order to revitalise the territory. By purchasing and demolishing the disturbing building of a former school, situated in close vicinity to the monument buildings of the church and belfry, it prepared the land for construction adjustments (preceded by an archaeological research at the end of 2008) that enhanced the direct views of the monumental values in the whole area.
Zuzana Ševčíková – Viera Obuchová
The monastery and manor house in Horné Lefantovce
The village of Horné Lefantovce is first mentioned in 1113 in the vicinity of the Zobor monastery estates near Nitra. According to the Slovak encyclopaedist of the 18th century, Matthias Bel, the village was named after the Elephant family, the members of which enjoyed high work posts. King Coloman (1070 – 1116) was to dedicate to them an animal hitherto unknown in Hungary – an elephant. The various family branches were constantly embroiled in property disputes. Their economic potential was manifested in the founding of the Pavlini monastery and according to judgment records, this act had been carried out to redress a wilful murder of one family member by another.
King Louis I was a supporter of the hermitical Pavlini order and in the then Hungary was to found monasteries in Márianosztra (Nosztre) in 1352, Mariazelle in 1365 and Lefantovce in 1369. The latter was the first monastery in what is present day Slovakia. The foundation articles of 1369 say that Michal Elefanty donated land, a forest, half of a mill and a vineyard to the Church of St. John the Baptist. It is assumed that the church is older than the monastery.
Today’s building of the former monastery (adjoining the western façade of the gothic church) stands on an elevated tableland in a large English park. It is designed in a monumental T-shape and the former church divides the area into two courtyards. The military map from 1858 documents the possible size of the original monastery; the title of Sz. János encompasses the church and the monastery with a northern and southern wing added to the western wall of the church. The southern courtyard could be described as heavenly, as the northern part with courtyard was the working area: there was a large adjoining garden and during the area’s generous reconstruction in the 18th century, the northern wing was extended with a second floor.
The abolition of religious orders by Joseph II from 1782 marked the monastery’s further fate. Its buildings began to deteriorate. It served as a field ambulance during the Napoleonic wars and later was used for economic purposes.
Count Ferenc Gyulai bought the village properties in 1836. His adoptive son Leopold bequeathed the property after his death in 1893 to his son Leopold Friedrich Jozsef Edelsheim-Gyulai, who invited the notable architect Josef Hubert from Budapest to reconstruct the monastery into a manor house – “a hunting castle” – a year later. A park arrangement took place concurrently with the monastery adaptation. Some parts of the building were modernised at the beginning of the 20th century and after 1945 the manor house was turned into a specialised ambulance facility. Today, the former monastery complex awaits a reconstruction. After it is renovated, according to Hubert’s adaptation of turning the monastery into a manor house at the end of the 19th century, a unique collection of baroque paintings by J. W. Bergl from the 18th century should also be open to the public.
The inimitable wedding clock of the Bratislava City Museum collections
The centrepiece of the rich collection of historical clocks in the Bratislava City Museum is a unique clock of local provenance. The museum stock also includes several exceptional examples from other localities, one of which is the splendid standing wedding clock with rich gold carving, which entered the museum collections in 1959, when it was purchased with no further details from a private property. Since 1974 it has been part of a specialised clocks’ exhibition at Bratislava’s rococo House of the Good Shepherd.
From the typological viewpoint it represents the figural table, or fireplace clock. The wedding clock is decorated with four free-standing sculptures in antique-like clothes, symmetrically placed on a rectangular base with a protuberant, bow-shaped middle part. The figures carved for a front view are composed in two pairs. Two outer male figures, facing each other and dressed like Roman army-leaders with helmets on their heads, are created as pendants. Two female figures, each facing the male figure standing beside, uphold the cylindrical box with the clock mechanism. According to the dress and the helmet, the woman on the right can be identified as the Roman goddess of wisdom, Minerva. A sacrificial altar with burning torch as a wedding symbol is located in the centre of the clock’s base. Attributes of a bow, torch and javelin or spear are placed at the feet of the figures.
Technically, this is the striker clock, where the clock mechanism is run by a spindle. The clock-face, decorated with a painted wreath in naturalistic flower décor, also reveals an indicator of the days in each month.
This clock has no likeness in the Bratislava City Museum’s collections, nor is there any known existence of anything comparable in any other Slovak museum. However, since 1943 an incredibly similar clock can be seen at the Vienna Clock Museum, which forms part of the local historical museum (The Vienna Museum). This clock from around 1788 was made as a wedding gift for Austrian Archduke Franz Joseph Karl (1768 – 1835), later Emperor Franz II (I), and Princess Elisabeth Wilhelmine von Württemberg (1767 – 1790).
The Vienna clock is more or less similar to the one from the Bratislava City Museum’s collections, but there are notable differences in figural decoration on the boxes and in colour. The same master probably carved both of the clocks. With regards to the inferior quality of the make, one can assume that the Bratislava clock was made in a workshop. The clock mechanisms come from different watchmakers, working in different towns. The Viennese clock bears the signature of the local watchmaker Josef Riedl (1736 – 1813). The name of Frantz Zoller can be seen on the clock face of the Bratislava clock and the town of Oedenburg (the Western-Hungarian town of Sopron) is written at the bottom.