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Revue Pamiatky a múzeá – Summary 4/2007


The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin
Mary in Pezinok

The complex
interior reconstruction of the parish church in Pezinok (situated 18 km
northeast of the Bratislava capital), which took place between 2004 and 2006,
called for an extensive archaeological research. Its attention focused on the
southern side’s nave, verifying the possibility of an older sacral building and
a settlement in the area before the church was built. Graves, or to be more
precise, the tombs of earls, the epitaphs of which can be found in the church,
were also examined.

The first
written record concerning Pezinok church dates to 1317 – 1320. The noble earl
family of Pezinok and Jur was to be the beneficiary of the parish and the
church, which had been under the Virgin Mary’s patronage since the first half of
the 14th century. The church’s reconstruction, leading to its current
look, ended in 1501. Only the polygonal baptistery vessel in red marble and Earl
George’s epitaph of 1426 remained from the original gothic equipment. In 1523 an
octagonal early renaissance ambo and emporia (tribune) with four granite columns
were added. Palatine Stephen Illésházy built a burial chapel (today’s Chapel of
St. Anne) at the church’s southern part in 1608 – 1609. Between 1674 and 1726
the church belonged to the Capuchin religion, which began the reconstruction of
the baroque interior. The Pálffy family probably helped them, as Thomas Pálffy
was buried in the church in 1680. Throughout the 18th century a
massive brick crypt appeared in the sanctuary, a tower was built at the western
façade, and new altars and a sacristy were added. The rococo baldachin above the
ambo also comes from this period. In the 19th century neo-gothic
windows were built into side naves, edge altars were reconstructed and an oval
chapel originated in the place of the former northern entry to the church. The
interior’s archaeological research revealed an object of a rectangular ground
plan built into the church’s side nave before the large reconstruction in the
second half of 15th century took place. A crypt measuring 2.7 by 1.9
by 1 metre, which defined the function of the edifice as a burial chapel, was
situated in the centre. An older sacral building of an early gothic type, coming
from the second half of the 13th century at the earliest, used to be
situated inside today’s sanctuary. It was demolished during the current church
construction. The most important discovery was the revelation of a skeletal
grave (1/06), where four ducats of Sigismund of Luxemburg (1387 – 1437) were
found. The grave from the first quarter of the 15th century probably
contained the remains of Klára from Hédervár, the wife of Nicolas II. from

Ivan Gojdič

The Liptovský Hrádok’s celebrated yet
unknown attributes

The history of Liptovský Hrádok, the town
situated in the north of Slovakia in the Liptov region, is very young. The
oldest building, with the exception of the nearby castle, is the church, which
dates from the end of the 18th century. Nevertheless, Liptovský
Hrádok perfectly illustrates the urban and architectural developments in
classicism throughout the 19th century neo-movements to the typical
architectural examples of the first and second half of the 20th

The town has evolved around two important points –
the castle on the left bank of the Belá river, just before it meets the river
Váh; and the landing-place of rafts and the store-house of copper and salt on
the Váh’s right bank. An industrial area gradually developed east of these urban
complexes – including workshops, water sawmills and a blast furnace processing
iron ore from the surrounding mines and the Spiš region. A factory producing
rifles was built there at the beginning of the 19th century, which
was the only one of its kind in the Hungarian kingdom. Despite severe weather,
such factories turned the area into one of the most dynamically developed in
Hungary, which was reflected in the town’s urban planning. Along with its
industry, the town became a centre for forestry and foothill

The oldest building still standing is the
classicistic Catholic Church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary, built in
1790. The grandest non-sacral building of Liptovský Hrádok is the two-storied
classicistic house of the Chamber Forestry School, the first in Hungary. It was
built in 1800 and served its purpose until 1815, when the school was moved to
Banská Štiavnica. At the same time a self-professed casino was built next to the
rafts’ landing-place, where the Hrádok townsmen as well as the rafters would go
for meals and entertainment. In 1805 Hrádok acquired town privileges and the
right to hold market. Residential and administration houses of the forestry
management and its employees were gradually built south of the church and north
of the casino. Despite later and often ill-planned interventions, this
classicistically developed built-up area has remained balanced in its design up
until today and at the same time is harmonically immersed in the greenery of an
old lime-tree alley. A mansion used to stand halfway between the dockside and
the castle at the end of the 18th and beginning of the
19th century. In 1871 it housed a farm school. In 1886 the school
switched to game management and thus became an indirect follower of the first
forestry school. A building of a similar architectural construction – the
residency of the salt administration – was erected on the Váh’s right bank
between the classicistic square and the Prekážka settlement. Now an Ethnographic
Museum, it houses an exposition using the large, adapted attic

Katarína Chmelinová

Jozef Szirinek – the forgotten Franciscan

Katarína Pálffy, the widow after the royal palatine
Sigismund Forgách, between 1634 and 1636, built the former Franciscan Church of
the Most Holy Name of Jesus and Maria in Nižná Šebastová. A contemporary look of
the interior of the church, which also became the settlement’s parish church
after an earthquake in 1750, is true to the descriptions from the second half of
the 18th century. Despite the opulence of the inner equipment, the
fine art interest concerning the interior has only focused on paintings (e.g.
acknowledging the work by Johann L. Kracker). The process of noting down
architectural particulars and details relating to the furnishings in the church
has been fairly ordinarily limited and attributed to an unknown artist dating
from the17th to the 19th century. Many questions, however,
can be answered with a source material that has not yet been processed. But once
studied it could reveal the origin of the preserved ambo and its creator.

The ambo adjoins to the northern part of the
church’s triumphal arch and is accessible through a brick staircase from the
sacristy. It represents the common 18th century suspension type with
a vaulted acoustic roof. Four evangelists with the usual symbols at their feet
form the basis of iconography. The fifth field in the middle features Christ
with three disciples at his feet and to the right above him a plastic hand of
St. Francis holding a crucifix – the traditional symbol of Franciscan ambos –
protrudes into space. The ambo, with its size, construction and decoration is
one of the church’s dominating features. Its creator, the member of the third
order of St. Francis and sculptor Jozef Szirinek, worked in Nižná Šebastová as
early as 1755, the year when the meeting to discuss the church renovation took
place. The ambo with slightly misshapen figures in richly folded garments was
not his first work for the monastery church. Apart from smaller sculptural works
found inside the church, he also created the wooden baptistery embellished with
an angelic choir, which stands near the sanctuary arch opposite the old
baptistery. Moreover, it can be safely assumed that the monastery had also used
Jozef Szirinek’s professional skills for smaller artistic-craft works. When
exploring the sculptor’s work and life, it is worthy of note that the register
of the Franciscan monastery’s laic brothers from 1760 also lists the name of
Petrus Szirinek, himself a sculptor by profession. So far it has not been proved
for certain whether we are talking about the same person or an unknown family

Eva Križanová

Renaissance portals in

The late Middle Ages and the commencement of the
renaissance period in Slovakia, along with busy migration throughout Europe,
brought about changes in economic, technical and cultural development. The
16th and the first half of the 17th centuries were also
the time of new thoughts and philosophical postulates, which can be reflected in
the period’s architecture. The renaissance portals in our area follow Italian
patterns, which worked well mainly with antic-like construction elements
processed into templates. They were applied and then changed according to the
customer’s request and local conditions. The oldest building to boldly represent
renaissance motives is the town hall in Bardejov from 1505. The renaissance
portals of the southern lobby of Bratislava’s St. Martin Cathedral come from the
same time, the first decade of the 16th century. Examples of
eastern-Slovak renaissance include the entrance portal to the Sabinov church
built in 1523, the Lipany church’s portal from before 1520, and the stone,
originally polychrome portal in Levoča from 1530, in the interior of patrician
house No 40. The basic composition is repeated at the portal in the Ňaršany
church from 1540. The motif of a portal with a semicircle archivolt can be also
found at Kežmarok’s town hall from around 1541. The renaissance portal in Prešov
tucked into the passageway of the burgher’s house No 106 – 108, built at the
square in 1508, has a very civil appearance.

The portals get artistically more rational in the
second half of the 16th century. Among the examples of
tectonic-designed portals is the entrance to Kammerhof courtyard in Banská
Štiavnica from 1550, which became the state institution’s architectural design.
The third quarter of the 16th century enriched Banská Štiavnica with
several other portals, whose decorative elements signify bourgeois architecture.
Similar types can be found in other Slovak towns, such as Bratislava, Bardejov,
Kežmarok, Spišská Sobota, and the whole range of medieval towns and settlements.
Aristocratic architecture also deserves attention: there is the decorative stone
portal in Betlanovce from 1564; the initially polychrome portal from around 1560
at Orava castle; the portal of Hronsek manor house from 1576; and the Lower
Gate’s entrance portal for carts and pedestrians in Kremnica from 1539,
highlighted by relief sculptures with the town’s insignias and mining

Elena Kurincová

Pictures from the life of Miss

Bratislava City Museum runs an exhibition entitled
The Time of Refinement: the 1920s and 1930s in Bratislava, until December 2007.
It displays the housing culture of Bratislava’s higher middle class throughout
the interwar period, along with everyday bits and pieces of an adolescent Miss
Mimi Redlich. Photographs from two family albums and the facts on their
backsides had suggested several general outcomes. They capture Mimi from birth
to her school-leaving exam (1914 – 1932); they show the life, education, fashion
and free time activities of a girl maturing up in between two world wars. Along
with the ethical (German) and confessional (Jewish) rank, it was the status of
the family, to which she was born, which had the main influence. Her father
Samuel Redlich was initially a military officer, then clerk and businessman in
building industry. Mimi studied at German State Secondary Grammar School
(Deutsches Staatliches Lenart Gymnazium) in Bratislava. On the photographs with
her schoolmates (1928 – 1932), or when doing her favourite sports, such as
skiing, skating, swimming, tennis playing, rowing and hiking, as well as when
travelling around Europe (Riccione, 1932), one can notice the combination of
conservative lifestyle, behavioural rules and social conventions surviving from
the period before the first world war and from the modern town environment of
the 1920s and 1930s.

Ján Aláč

Traditional folk ornament on Novohrad´s tombstones

By the end of the 19th century graphic signs and symbols also
spread to folk art in Slovakia. In northwest of the central Slovak region of
Novohrad the ornamental decoration most significantly culminated on the stone
and wooden gravestones of the Evangelists of Augsburg confession. These were
characteristic for their maximum use of the stone, including the sides and back
part of the gravestone. The paradox is, however, that the ornamentation
profusion on gravestones was absent from regional folk architecture at the end
of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. It only
increased in the Novohrad’s traditional construction after the First World War,
when, on the contrary, the range of motifs on gravestones reduced. In both cases
we talk about the identical area formed by the villages of Veľký Lom, Madačka,
Nedelište, Ábelová, Lešť, Turie Pole, and Horný and Dolný Tisovník.
Characterised for their shepherd-farmer’s life, the villages preserved many
archaic features thanks to the specific compactness of the area and its

The Novohrad
traditional gravestones of the Evangelists merge several period movements and
styles. The most significant is the influence of renaissance ornamentation. One
of the central motifs, a beetle, is sometimes considered to be a spider, applied
together with sideward floral ornaments. Rosettes, or hearts, the typical motifs
of the folk art in general, later replaced it. Birds are other zoomorphic motifs
that appear on gravestones. The stonemasons could be inspired by Jewish
gravestones, or the generally spread belief that a soul can transform into an
animal. Most numerous in shape and quantity are the symbols of circle and cross.
Frequent are the motifs of hexagram rosettes, star-like and whirling motifs,
swastikas, ropes and circular, relief-like floral motifs. There are more than
140 basic motifs enriched with other geometric and decorative elements, and
created in various ways. Often used elements include four- to twelve-pointed
stars, as well as solar and lunar motifs. Abundantly applied is the rose motif
pictured as a six- to eight-pointed rosette embedded into a circle. The motif of
a watch face announcing the exact time of death is the typical motif for the
Novohrad’s northwest area. It symbolises the traditional custom, when in time of
death the surviving relatives stopped the clock. Floral ornamentation forms an
extensive group of motifs; from stylish to more realistic images of a shrub with
flowers, fruits, branches and leaves. Anthropomorphic motifs of a non-sacral
form and the variety in colour were specific features of the Novohrad’s stone
gravestones in that period. Ornament and text were highlighted with polychrome,
which also protected the stone against bad weather.

Miroslav Čovan

Manor house in Humenné

For three and a half century the medieval history of
the town of Humenné (eastern Slovakia) was connected with the Drugeth family
coming from Italy. King Charles Robert dedicated Humenné to Phillip Drugeth in
1317, as a part of the Brekov castle dominion. In the middle of the
14th century the family built a fortified residency in the town. The
stronghold, enclosed with a water ditch, used to stand in the place of today’s
manor house. Bratríci armies (the late Hussite soldiers) temporarily lived in
it, in the middle of the 15th century. When King Matthias Corvinus
defeated them, they returned the castle and the property to the Drugeth. Gabriel
Bethlen conquered the town in 1619 and the town’s castle burnt up. A four-wing
representative manor house was built at its place, complete with a central
courtyard and massive four-edged corner towers with protective function. The
only relic preserved to remind of the medieval castle is the drawbridge at the
centre of the main forefront. After Sigismund Drugeth’s death in 1684, who left
no male descendant, the property ended up in the hands of the Csaky and
Vandernáth families. They rebuilt the manor house into a baroque style in the
second half of the 18th century, with most significant changes taking
place in the richly furnished interiors. Apart from large gardens with
summerhouses and various farm buildings, the manor house area also included
greenhouses with exotic plants.

The last big reconstruction took place in the
19th century, when Alexander Andrassy became the manor house’s owner.
The house was completely rebuilt in the style of then pseudo-forms of French
baroque manor houses. A large library with wooden panelling and compartment
ceiling originated inside the pseudo-gothic interior, the representative rooms
of the southern wing received massive fireplaces, and rich stucco decoration
appeared on the staircase.

The first half of the 20th century and
the two destructive world’s wars had a very negative impact on the
artistic-historical monuments in our area, including the manor house in Humenné.
It was turned into a military hospital in 1914, and robbed by Hungarian
Bolsheviks in 1919. The war and after-war events of 1940s worsened its state
even more. The members of the Red Army marauded the town’s dominant along with
the local citizens. The fire on June 28, 1947 completed the destruction, turning
it into ruin. The manor house remained in desolate state until 1963, when it was
pronounced a national cultural monument and its reconstruction into a regional
museum started.

Viera Obuchová – Vladimír Dian

Stirling – the Scottish castle and the
Bratislava family

The Stirling castle in Scotland, which towers
high on a cliff above the river Forth and guards the way to the Highlands,
played a key role in the battle for Scottish independence. It is a gem of
renaissance architecture and its current look comes from the 15th and
16th centuries. Coincidentally, the gravestone of significant
Bratislava photographer František Jánoška at Ondrejský cemetery (see Monuments
and Museums No. 4/2006, pg. 28 – 30) also bears the name of Prof. Dr. Alexander
Stirling. Would there be any connection between the buried Bratislava citizen
and the Stirling castle? Based on the records of the family relatives, who now
live in Hungary and USA, the Stirling surname indeed comes from the mentioned
Scottish castle. In the time of religious wars in the 16th century
Mary Stuart (1542 – 1567) left the castle with her husband Enrich Darnley and
their daughter, who married count George Stirling. The family history was
captured in the work Album Stirling, which one of the professor’s
students brought with him from Stirling. Unfortunately, the album burnt down
during Bratislava bombing in 1945. However, the family preserved the stylish
coat of arms of the Stirling family dated to 1666 and the castle’s

The Stirlings were Catholics. After their escape
they first lived in France and Switzerland until they settled in Transylvania
and Hungary. Some started families in Australia and the family even nourishes
the legend that General Stirling helped George Washington during the battle for
independence. The modern genealogy of the Stirlings starts with Mihály Stirling.
He and his wife Anna, born Edelhofer, had three children. Son Jozef (József) was
the father of Alexander Stirling (born 1853 in Szombathely). He studied
philosophy in Heidelberg, worked in Braşov and since 1885 taught at secondary
grammar school in Svätý Jur near Bratislava. In Bratislava in 1888 he married
Berta, born Hornyansky. Their daughter Margita (1891 – 1981) married the famous
Bratislava photographer František Jánoška. Professor Alexander Stirling taught
economy, history, Hungarian language and literature at Business Academy in
Bratislava, where he died on July 9, 1907.

Barbora Matáková

The Grieving for Christ from Bánovce nad

The theme Grieving for Christ is not a unique one in
Christological iconography and since the 12th century up to the
Trident Council in the middle of the 16th century it had inspired
many significant paintings and sculptures. The image is a synthesis of the
themes The Deposition from the Cross and The Entombment, which preset the
narrative formality and added emotional attributes of Pieta. The number of
people participating in the story is determined in The Grieving by that time’s
understanding of the canonical and apocryphal sources. The relief pictures a
grieving group with the Virgin Mary, St. John the Baptist and St. Mary
Magdalene. The women in the background are Jesus’ relatives; they are the
stepdaughters of the Virgin Mary. The relief from Bánovce also shows Pharisees
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.

The Bánovce relief, The Grieving for Christ, comes
from a carver’s workshop in Banská Bystrica and dates up to 1480s. We assume
that the relief was part of the altar cabinet in the Bánovce Church of St.
Nicholas. We do not know who was its donor, but regarding its style and
geographical proximity with the Grieving relief from Podlužany (a settlement
situated 7 km north of Bánovce), which was ordered by Matthias Corvinus for the
Romanesque castle chapel in nearby Uhrovec, we might assume that the arts patron
also ordered the Bánovce relief in 1480s. The Grieving is the work of a master,
who was well aware of the Low Land’s painting as well as the Austrian and German
sculpture, which is suggested through a free resemblance with Michael Wolgemut’s
work and his altar in Zwikau from 1479.

After a complex research, including dendrologic,
stratigraphic and pigment analysis, restorer Eva Michalčíková-Bezúchová literary
“freed” the relief from the shield of several layers of white monochrome. By
eliminating the disturbing relief parts and applying moderate colourful retouch
she created a harmonic work true to the historic and artistic value of its

Gabriela Kvetanová

Renowned spa facilities in

The construction of brick spa houses at the Kúpeľný
ostrov (Spa Island) in Piešťany began at the end of the 18th century
by their proprietors, the Erdődy family. Three houses named Napoleon Spa were
built throughout the 19th century. The intention to build a hotel
with balneotherapy next to the spa came to realisation after January 1, 1889,
when the business firm of Alexander Winter and Sons long leased the Piešťany spa
from Count Ferenc Erdődy.

Two objects with different function, the Thermia
Palace hotel and Irma balneotheraphy, were built as one work during the
secession period, following a project by Budapest architects Ármin Hegedüs
and Henrik Böhm. The entrance hall of a circular ground plan has the central
communication function in the two-wing four- and five-storied hotel: it joins
with all social-catering hotel rooms (cafeteria, two saloons, small and big
dining rooms), the passage way leading to the spa house through the original
portal, and the main staircase with a lift going up to the residential part. The
dominant feature of balneotheraphy is a circular swamp, enclosed with four wings
of various use. The entrance hall spreads across the whole main wing and opens
to all spa facilities as well as the hotel part of the complex.

The houses underwent several reconstructions in the
past, with the socialist renovation in the 1970s interfering most into the
original interiors. Apart from the radical reconstruction of the back wing, the
finishing construction between the swamp and the hotel, and an extension in the
place of the initial terraces above the main wing’s ground floor, the
residential part was deprived of almost all of its historical

Between 2004 and 2007 both objects underwent a
complete renovation. In order to achieve the original look, all necessary
interventions into the interior were removed when restoring the balneotheraphy’s
main rooms (swamp, pool and entrance hall) and the hotel’s social rooms. Along
with the construction-historical and restoration research, a great help also
came from the archives – though incomplete but extensive project documentation,
including interior adjustments into several social rooms. Together with period
photographs it completed the information about the original look of almost all

Andrej Botek

The Church of St. Margaret Antiokhii in

The Church of St. Margaret Antiokhii
(9th century AD), which stood long forgotten amidst the fields behind
the Kopčany settlement (Záhorie region) near the Czech border and close to the
Great Moravian agglomeration of Mikulčice, has lately enjoyed a great media
attention. The church stands on a mild off-road mound. It now consists of a
smaller nave and straight finish with a slightly trapezoidal shape. The inner
width of the nave is 3.8 m, the length ranges from 4.7 to 4.9 m. The back wall
of the presbytery measures 1.85 m, the side walls are 2.3 m. Up to recently, the
nave used to have a flat ceiling, today it looks directly into truss. Before the
research started the forefront used to have a large arched portal and a window
above it. Curved window used to be on the southern wall of the church’s nave and
the rough exterior coating was from 1926.

The results of the archaeological researches that
have taken place on the mentioned locality since 1960s are known. Less attention
has been dedicated to construction-historical, and mainly restoration research
focusing on interior, which was provided by the Restoration Department of the
University of Fine Arts. The restoration research altogether established 12
intervention phases, 8 decoration layers (and more hypothetical ones) and over
20 types of mortars and coatings.

Among the most significant findings of the research
are the two fresco fragments on the church’s eastern wall. The microscopic
analysis of the samples detected four colour layers on a ruby-colour basis,
which points to quite frequent interventions. The top layer revealed a fragment
of a three-quarter profile of a woman’s face with aureole, on a blue background.
Based on the preserved remains of the woman’s face in younger layer, it is
almost certain that the woman is the St. Margaret Antiokhii, since the scenes
served the function of an altar picture with the patronage motif. The pigment
analysis dates the paintings’ origin to the second half of the 16th

František Bizub

Industrial objects in Kráľova Lehota and
surrounding in 18th – 19th centuries

Humans, domestic animals, but mainly water ran the
first machines. Water was the main driving force for entire centuries; the first
steam engines emerged in Slovakia only after 1856. Kráľova Lehota (Liptov
region, central Slovakia) and its close surroundings have had very good slopes
on their watercourses. Moreover, the main roads from the east, south and west of
Slovakia flow into the valley. That is why there were so many industrial objects
in the past: mainly wooden saws, some of which were later remade to use steam or
electrical drive. In the past, wood and other goods were only transported using
rivers and larger flows. Rafting became one of the most important occupations of
the inhabitants in the surrounding settlements. There was a huge landing place
at the banks of river from where they sent large rafts all the way down to

Stone for constructions was mined and fractured in a
stone quarry near the road. Yet in the middle of the 20th century
they mined the stone there for a narrow-gauge railway that led nearby. Other
facilities included water mills, distillery, and workshops for a locksmith,
cabinetmaker and carpenter. The latter one functioned for almost a hundred years
and later produced furniture. In 1941 they built a new brick wooden factory FIPA
in its place. At the end of the 19th century they built a limekiln in
the Hybe area, which ceased to work in 1930.

The most significant production in this locality was
the iron-works with blast furnace (6.5 m), founded in 1771 in Maša. It melted
the iron-ore mined around the villages of Važec, Hybe, Nižná Boca, Liptovský
Ján, Svarín and Hrádok. In 1873 the ironworks was closed for economic
infectivity. Consequently, the nearby production units and iron workshops also
closed down. The surrounding woods provided enough wood for burning it into
wooden coal. In 1804 and 1805, in a locality still called Fabriky (Factories),
they built a factory for producing rifles and pistols. It was the only factory
of its kind in the Hungarian kingdom. It closed down in 1813.

Zuzana Francová

The cup of Bratislava masons and
stonecutters guild

The guild relics found in Slovak museums
feature a large group of typologically manifold guild’s vessels. They were
mostly used for drinking beer or wine during mutual feasts of the guild’s
members. Along with large pots were also preserved various types of rare cups
(pokale), mainly used for festive occasions. They were made by local tintsmiths,
goldsmiths, or even silversmiths, as well as masters from other, more distanced
places. Such example is the cup of Bratislava masons and stonecutters (now in
collections of the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava), which was made from
embossed and toreutic silver and partially gilded in Augsburg. The Bratislava
masons and stonecutters ordered and purchased their cup in 1650. Typologically,
it belongs to richly differentiated group of cups with lid (so-called
Deckelpokale) and has several mutual signs with the so-called
Buckelpokale. Almost no profane works of local goldsmiths were
preserved in Slovakia from that period. Therefore the cup of Bratislava masons
and stonecutters is a unique item of its kind and a rare guild’s relic in Slovak