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Revue Pamiatky a múzeá – Summary 4/2009

Preservation in SLOVAKIA IN THE YEARS 1919 – 1939

The Organisation of Monuments Preservation in the Interwar

Before the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic, there
were still two monuments boards which had been resident in Prague since 1912:
The Imperial-Royal Terrestrial Monuments Board in the Czech Kingdom and the K.
k. Landesdenkmalamt für das Königreich Böhmen. Moravia and Silesia came under
the auspices of the Vienna Central Commission for Research and Preservation of
Architectural Monuments and Slovakia under the Hungarian Commission for
Monuments in Budapest until 1918. In September 1918, the experts of the
Czechoslovak National Committee prepared a concept of the future Ministry of
Education and National Edification (MŠANO), which took on the mantle of monument
care in the new Czechoslovakia. It took several months for the situation to
stabilise itself and for the minister in full charge of the administration of
Slovakia, Vavro Šrobár, to consider culture issues. The architect Dušan Jurkovič
played a crucial role in this process. He came from Brno, soaked in Czech
enthusiasm, and to the surprise of many entered state power. Minister Šrobár
appointed him as Government Commissary for Monuments Preservation on April 1,
1919. He began his function in May 1919 and instantly impacted on the competence
of his office – the Government Commissariat for Monuments Preservation
(thereinafter the Government Commissariat) – with an organisation for live folk
art and artistic industry. His co-workers included J. Hofman, J. Vydra, J.
Marek, B. Mathesius, F. Faulhammer and J. Reichert.
Act No. 11/1918 Coll.,
which enabled the Czechoslovak state to take over all Austrian and Hungarian
laws and regulations, confirming their relevance, was accepted on the first day
of the republic’s origin, on October 28, 1918.The Hungarian Act No. XXXIX/1881
remained in effect in Slovakia. The new situation, however, demanded a new
modification of monument care. The powers of the plenipotentiary minister were
almost unlimited at that time and his regulations were abreast of laws. Art
historian Jan Hofman, who entered the services of the Government Commissariat on
July 1, 1919 with a legal background, prepared a very advanced text of a
regulation that was to amend monument care in Slovakia and bring it nearer to
that practised in the Czech Republic. It delegated the competence of the
Hungarian Commission for Monuments as well as the Hungarian Commission for
Museums to the Government Commissariat. The Commissariat made decisions on all
affairs that influenced the protection of monuments and nature and all state and
municipal bodies were obliged to report on such issues. The Government
Commissariat’s institute thus also helped in the development of protective
legislation. Its aptitude embraced the protection of immovable monuments, the
supervision of public, religious and guilds collections, the registration of
excavations (along with the State Archaeological Institute), and the control of
monuments’ export and antiquity business. The commissariat’s crucial role was
believed to be the establishment of an official cadastre of monuments (a central
register), the documentation of monuments (the establishment of a photographic
studio), help with solving art history and archaeological questions, and the
supervision of museums. Also important was promotional activity supported by the
belief that the protection of monuments and nature necessitated constant
communication with the public.
Based on the output of the Presidium of
MŠANO from 23 May 1922, the Government Commissariat was cancelled and its agenda
transferred to the II. (Edifying) Department at MŠANO in Bratislava, where some
workers of the abolished commissariat were delimitated. The structure of the
department for national edification, however, did not include the Government
Commissariat’s whole agenda. The issues of monument preservation and museums
were assigned to the State Inspectorate of Archives and Libraries in Slovakia.

The State Department for Monuments Preservation (thereinafter State
Department, 1922 – 1939) represented another phase in the history of monument
care in Slovakia. It was to be a temporary solution before its transformation to
the State Monuments Board in Bratislava. The monument law, which was to assign
activities to individual monuments boards, however, was not accepted until the
breakdown of Czechoslovakia and the State Department thus functioned for
additional 17 years. It finally ceased to exist after the origin of the first
Slovak Republic in March 1939 with issued regulation No. 29/1939 of the Slovak
Code of Law, which transferred its agency to the Slovak Ministry of Education
and National Edification.
The Government Commissariat for Monuments
Protection and the State Department for Monuments Preservation in Slovakia were
the first monuments institutions to lay down the foundations of monumentology as
a new science in Slovakia.

Lukáš Svěchota
Monuments and the
Treaty of Trianon

Versailles and the castles around Paris were to
be places of negotiations, after the First World War, over the life and fate of
those new states that were formed after the collapse of Austro-Hungary. One such
state was the Czechoslovak Republic. The creation of peace treaties was a long
process that had to respect the proposals, requests and remarks of all
participating parties. The busy work of diplomats and established commissions
resulted in several treaties. The most important for the origin and existence of
Czechoslovakia were the Treaty of Saint-Germain (10 September 1919) and the
Treaty of Trianon (4 June 1920). The treaties covered a large spectrum of
external and internal functioning of the defeated states. Individual parts,
articles, paragraphs and segments obliged them to fulfil demands, or specified
commitments towards the states named in the treaties.
The Treaty of Trianon
– The Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Hungary,
which is still of great interest among many experts and laics, was key for
development in Slovakia. The texts of these peace treaties were to also touch
upon aspects of monuments and archive documents.
From time immemorial,
archives and archive materials had been part of the demands of the winner
towards the defeated. Compared to the Czech Republic, which could base its
demands on an administrative position within the former monarchy, Slovakia, as a
whole, was never to form an independent territorial-administrative unit of
Hungary. It was therefore necessary to make preparatory movements and formulate
a statement and demands for acquiring archive and registry materials and support
those justifiably. The Ministry of Education and National Edification (MŠANO) in
Prague delegated this task to Václav Chaloupecký, inspector of archives and
libraries for Slovakia, on 12 May 1919. In line with tackling a similar
situation during the peace negotiations with Austria, there were several types
of documents, two of which are key. The first –the Memorandum on Handing over
Historical and Artistic Monuments from Hungary, joined in its contents the
Memorandum on the Archive System in Slovakia from January 1919, in which
Chaloupecký mentioned the need for a central archive for Slovakia, which would
keep the archives gained from Hungary and which would fulfil scientific and
administration tasks. The second key documents were the formulations of specific
demands proposed for individual articles of the peace treaty with Hungary.

It is mainly articles No. 77, 175 – 179 and 249 that deal with transferring
and returning the archive documents, libraries, antiquities and monuments in the
final version of the peace treaty with Hungary, which was accepted after Law No.
102/1922 Coll. The text of the articles is similar in content to the Treaty of
Saint-Germain, or the proposals of Prof. Chaloupecký. The commitment of new
states to reciprocally return recorded material not more than 20 years old, was,
unlike the proposals of Prof. Chaloupecký, stated in a separate article No.
Articles No. 177 and 249 obliged Hungary to seal a friendly treaty
with involved states, if they were to ask for it. Based on that, an
archive-record and monument separation would follow. This was not unlike article
No. 196 of the Saint-Germain Treaty. As in the case of Austria, the mutual
bilateral negotiations were to finally take place. The result was the Adjustment
of Releasing the Correct Records Agreed between the Czechoslovak Republic and
Hungarian Kingdom from 1927. The adjustment tried to formally fulfil the
provisions of the peace treaty and define binding regulations and the means of
their realisation. De facto, though, it did not bring about the mutual archive
and record separation to the same extent and quality as that of the results
negotiated with Austria. Despite the strong period undertone, the peace treaties
were to bear a permanent message, which was to offer subsistence warranties for
the involved states, including Slovakia.

Archaeological heritage
After the origin
of Czechoslovakia, in 1919, the Ministry in full charge of the administration of
Slovakia issued Decree No. 155, which started the journey of protecting
monuments and archaeological findings in Slovakia in a new era. Unfortunately,
during the organisation of the protection of archaeological localities the
practice revealed that the largest problem of monument preservation in
Czechoslovakia was the varied legal heritage of the succession state. The
Western part of the Republic obeyed the laws originating in the imperial-royal
Austrian legal system. Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia followed the Hungarian
legal tradition. This duality in official communication lasted until the end of
the first Czechoslovak Republic. In Slovakia, along with Decree No. 155/1919,
the Hungarian Law No. XXXIX from 24 May 1881 was also valid. The Decree No.
155/1919 transferred all powers of the Hungarian Commission for Monuments to the
Government Commissariat for Monuments Preservation in Slovakia. The Commissariat
also took over the responsibilities of the former Country’s Main Inspectorate of
Museums and Libraries (Múzeumok és Könyvtárak Országos Főfelügyelősége). The
newly approved law granted proficiency to the institution in the field of
today’s cultural heritage. All state and municipal offices were obliged to
support the commissariat and draw its attention to the affairs concerning the
protection of artistic, historical, folk and natural monuments. In archaeology,
the Commissariat was entitled to decide on archaeological excavations along with
the State Archaeological Institute.
The situation in the protection of
archaeological findings in 1919 – 1939 was to be different to the monuments
preservation. Archaeological localities were to be protected in cooperation with
the Government Commissariat (since 1923 the State Department for Monuments
Preservation in Slovakia) and the State Archaeological Office, which, however,
was never established as an independent body in Slovakia. The State
Archaeological Institute with the seat in Prague was established in 1919 and L.
Niederle was its first director. Undeveloped professional exploration and
absence of qualified workers in Slovakia had caused the protection of
archaeological findings to be under one official agenda with monuments
preservation. The state conservationist for primeval and roman monuments, or
archaeological monuments, Jan Eisner, who was appointed by L. Niederle, de facto
worked in the commissariat structure and later in the state department. He used
the same letter-head, records were filed into a shared registry and mail was
jointly dispatched. However, the letters carried the stamp of the State
Archaeological Institute.
Another problem was building archaeology on a
national basis. Hungarian archaeologists who were grouped around F. Rómer, Spiš
archaeologists and a Slovak group of archaeological enthusiasts worked strictly
regionally. The origin of Czechoslovakia and the activity of the State
Archaeological Institute and Commissariat, or Department for Monuments
Preservation, synchronized efforts of these groups in the end, removed the
national principle and augmented the professionalism of Slovak architecture. The
credit mainly goes to J. Eisner, who published detailed records on primeval and
early-historic research from the beginning of his activity in Slovakia. He
co-worked with the Homeland Museum and lectured at Comenius University in
Bratislava. His research was to lead to several noted discoveries, mainly in the
localities of Bratislava-Devín and Devínska Nová Ves. He capped the most
fruitful period of his activity from 1920 to 1933 with the publication of the
renowned work, Slovakia in the Primeval Age.

Sacral monuments
Sacral buildings were at the
forefront of the group of monuments supervised by the Government Commissariat
for Monuments Preservation in Slovakia and later, his successor, the State
Department for Monuments Preservation in Slovakia. Protection of these buildings
was an important role for these monuments institutions. Reparations and
restorations of historic churches and chapels in small Slovak municipalities,
inevitably led to problems such as overcoming the very bad technical state of
these constructions, the chronic absence of financial means for their reparation
and maintenance, and their dependence on state financial support. It was often
necessary to search for solutions compliant with the principles of monuments
preservation as well as the requirements of the church, which mainly needed a
suitable space for holding its services. When preserving the listed sacral
objects, the Government Commissariat tried to invite the church offices for
direct cooperation. It chiefly appealed to the high spiritual as well as
material value of the church monuments and the significance and importance of
their protection as sacral and national artistic properties. In the interest of
preventing possible damage to church monuments, parish offices were obliged to
report on the repairs and reconstructions of churches and their interiors to the
relevant surveyor’s office or directly to the Government Commissariat.
Consultation with the monuments board was also required when selling or
exchanging parts of mobiliari. Not only during the reconstructions and
reparations of old churches, but also during the construction of new ones,
builders had to work out plans that were first approved by the monuments board.
This prerequisite was usually integral to construction permission.
improve the organisation aimed at protecting church monuments, J. Hofman
suggested to the monuments department at the Ministry of Education and the
National Edification (MŠANO) in Bratislava, that they organise annual lectures
on monuments preservation for clerks and students of theological faculties.
However, the attempt to protect church monuments did not always meet with the
understanding of the church. Several examples point to the fact that old
churches, unfortunately, did not represent cultural, historical or artistic
value for the church community. They were more or less merely purpose-built
buildings, which whenever they ceased to serve their purpose, could be
completely rebuilt or demolished and the material used for some new
construction. Therefore, appeals to the church to respect the competence of the
monuments board had to be repeated from time to time as well as to the district
offices where the issuing of construction permits and the execution of the
technical supervision of a construction with a certificate for incorrect
progress was to damage the monument.
In 1935, the State Department submitted
its own proposal of general instructions for repairing church patronal
buildings, where it recommended a suitable roof covering, construction material
and stonework, and emphasised the preservation of original coatings and
construction features on historic buildings. Nevertheless, the final result of
monument renovation of the church buildings was often subject to the builders’
choice and their reluctance to obey the State Department’s instructions. The
author of the article illustrates several negative examples of historic church
building reconstructions in Chmeľov, Beloveža, Križovany nad Dudváhom, Brezany,
Lisková and Lednické Rovne.

Restoration of artistic monuments
General Conservationist Alois Riegl presented a new theory in 1903, which was
not only to elucidate the term of monument as historic evidence with
artistic-historic value but also to introduce emotional postulates in the
subject. More than anything, a monument should encompass the price of its age
and any sort of interference with its surface should be seen as akin to a
violation of the Pieta towards it. Riegl’s guidelines were to have become the
basis for reorganisation of the Vienna Central Commission for Monuments Care
soon after his death in 1904, which was led by his successor, Professor Max
Dvořák. What this meant was that, instead of a restoration project, there was to
be scientific research and instead of practice, conservational maintenance.

Restoration had become an independent field in the first half of the 20th
century. No concept, incidentalness, as well as frequent insensitive
interventions into monuments thus far, had led in 1930 to the summoning of an
international congress to Rome on the preservation and sustainability of
monuments. New methods originated in the theory and practice of restoration as
an independent discipline, which became a vital component of monuments
preservation. The request was being set for a restorer and for securing the
optimal result of his/her works. Along with knowledge, manual skills and the
open mind of the restorer what was also expected was the education and
orientation in relative natural and fine arts disciplines. This reality had also
impacted on the lack of a complete theory of restoration, a theory of artistic
significance of restoration intervention and aesthetic values of a restored work
or monument. It is common nowadays to recognise restoration of artistic works
and monuments as a specialised artistic activity that uses relative natural
disciplines and is subject to permanent correction of fine arts disciplines.

The Government Commissariat for Monuments Preservation in Slovakia (1919 –
1922) did not deal with the problem of monuments renovation at the beginning of
its existence. It only happened after architect D. Jurkovič, who did not support
a strict conservation method, left and was replaced by conservationist and
museologist Jan Hofman, that the commissariat began to consistently guide the
practice of renovation and restoration of monuments. The commissariat handled
the issue of monuments research on ongoing restoration works, helped with
securing scarce conservation material, organised workshops for conservationists
and recommended experts for specialised works. Later, its workers included
Vladimír Wagner and Václav Mencl, who focused on fieldwork. V. Wagner worked on
the history of Slovak fine art and V. Mencl became the expert on Slovak medieval
architecture. Basically, the methods of renovation and care of monuments applied
in practice were taken from Riegl and Dvořák. During restoration, however,
negative events also occurred. An analytical conservation method in some cases
led to the uncovering and presentation of various fragments, e.g. older
architectural articles and painted decorations within renovation, regardless of
the monument’s overall image, in the way it is defined by composition and all
its expressive components.

Terézia Otter-Volková
city regulation

In 1919, the then German-Hungarian town of
Pressburg, Pozsony or Prešporok became unexpectedly and almost overnight the
capital of Slovakia. One argument for its choice was, apart from the size, the
city’s historical experience as a political centre of former Hungary during the
Turkish occupation of Buda. This period has imprinted a significant urban
character on latter Bratislava, which differed from other Slovak towns. A number
of already existing representative public buildings and a relatively developed
infrastructure were the practical reasons for the city to become the official
centre of Slovakia.
In the following years, however, the existing buildings
did not satisfy the needs of an emerging state administration as well as the
representations of various businesses, new schools of all levels, and scientific
and cultural institutions. There was also a rapid growth of inhabitants (from
85,000 in 1919 to almost double the number, 140,000 in 1934) and with this came
a shortage of flats. The town grew quickly; new districts were added mainly in
the east and many factories were building their own colonies. The number of
inhabitants grew very quickly also in the surrounding municipalities, mainly in
Petržalka. A series of laws relating to the building industry were gradually
issued in 1921 – 1927. These were meant to eliminate the scarcity of flats. Most
of the flats in Bratislava were built by cooperatives, some by the state. Almost
half of the flats that originated before 1928 were built in 1926 – 1928, when
the law on tax relief for new buildings was issued.
The Government
Commissariat for Monuments Protection in Slovakia had foreseen the problems with
uncontrollable growth of the town shortly after its origin. The protection of
architectural monuments depends on regulation, wrote Jan Hofman. The
commissariat therefore had already set to work on the revision of the regulation
plan by June 1919. Until 1923 it had regularly appealed to town representatives
and made a list of buildings that were to become examples of construction grants
and changes in the town. The list mainly was to focus on the Old town area with
the largest concentration of monuments. Apart from the monuments themselves,
including memorials and protected greenery, it also designated regions with
restricted building height and protected construction lines of streets.
1923 – 1925, the State Department for Monuments Preservation, the successor of
the Government Commissariat, continued in its efforts to protect Bratislava
monuments through the regulation plan. The committee for monuments preservation
in the regulation plan of Bratislava gathered the town representatives and
conservationists (J. Hofman for the State Department) as well the
representatives of art societies and famous architects J. Grossman, F. Wimmer,
A. Balán, A. Szönyi and K. Šilinger. The committee mainly focused on preserving
the medieval ground plan of the Old Town, including the ratio between the
heights of the building and sizes of the streets and squares; designating the
height of buildings as an average height of the then built-up area. Outside the
inner town, the initiative focused on regulating the slopes of the castle hill
from Židovská Street to Podhradie, designing the Danube embankment by mainly
determining the height of the built-up area and new building on the land of the
Republic’s Square (today’s SNP Square). The main regulation requirement was that
the future development was a natural continuation of the past – wrote Jan
Hofman, summarizing the first attempts for the regulating of Bratislava as the
centre of Slovakia.

Lenka Ulašinová-Bystrianska – Martina
Traditional folk architecture and

Traditional material culture had been waiting a long time to
be discovered. The 19th century had brought with it an attempt to present the
skills and aesthetics of the common man’s world. Contemporary art now started
searching for inspiration in folk-artistic expression. Folk architecture too was
to receive an unusual amount of attention. Models of constructions, together
with furnishings and items of traditional material culture, were now being
presented in several international exhibitions (London, Paris, Vienna,
Amsterdam, and Krakow). Shortly after a new exposition of several transported
monuments of folk architecture had opened in Stockholm’s open-air museum in
1891, the then nationally oriented Czechoslovak society had likewise joined with
those pioneers presenting folk architecture or folk culture as such, in what was
a new dimension. The original intention to build a Czech cottage with an
exposition of folk art for the provincial exhibition in 1891 and the
ethnographical Czecho-Slavic exhibition, which took place in 1895 in Prague,
became in fact a set of buildings representing Czech and Slovak folk
architecture. A cottage from the Slovak-Moravian borderland, a homestead from
Čičmany and a cottage from Orava represented Slovakia. Dušan Jurkovič was the
main architect of this complex. The personality of this first government
commissary for monuments preservation in Slovakia was to represent a milestone
in professional interest in countryside building culture in Slovakia. D.
Jurkovič, along with other organisers of the exhibition, tried to preserve the
existing constructions and later establish a Slavic museum of folk architecture
in nature. This idea, however, did not come to fruition at that time.
its compass, the government commissariat, with D. Jurkovič at the helm, had
mainly attempted the revival of so-called folk crafts and the return of
monuments exported by various means behind Slovak borders or restriction of
further export. It was also quite active in an edifying and educational way,
organising exhibitions, as well as securing and controlling orders for
folk-artistic products. This pointed at a clear effort to increase
professionalism in production, and to enlarge and sustain or renovate
traditional production techniques. The report on the Government Commissariat’s
activity in 1919 – 1920 states that more than half of the tasks were directed to
the organisation and support of existing and emerging workshops (e.g. the
private ceramic workshop of Ferdiš Kostka in Stupava, ceramic workshops in
Modra,the State Embroidery Workshop in Vajnory) and schools (e.g.the State Lace
School in Kremnica with a branch in Staré Hory). The Government Commissariat
controlled and directed activity of various art-craft societies (e.g. Izabella
and Lipa). Most attention was dedicated to ceramics and textile production (the
production of laces and embroidery) but this also applied to basketry and folk
painting. The officers responsible for these activities at the Government
Commissariat were Josef Vydra and Antonín Václavík.

Miloš Dudáš

Renovation of the Čičmany municipality
The distinctive
municipality of Čičmany (Žilina district), part of which is a monument
reservation of folk architecture, was according to the maps from the 18th and
19th centuries formed by freely grouped houses along the river Rajčianka
(originally called Žiliňanka) with a visible division of individual farms.
Because of quite severe poverty and long lasting Hungarian heritage custom law,
the form of the so-called large-family had been actively preserved in Čičmany
until the beginning of the 20th century. It was not exceptional to see 20-30
people living in one dwelling, which in its way formed the Čičmany house, its
architecture, interior and spatial division.
Original the Čičmany house
had two or three rooms: a room – entrance hall and a storeroom. The room had for
a long time used a kiln with an open fireplace; thus called the black room. Its
transformation to a clean room without a fire happened in the main after the
First World War. The storerooms were not only used for storing food, clothes,
dishes and tiny craft products, they also had a housing function – mainly for
the young ones, single members of the family or childless newly-weds. If there
was a lack of space in the house, the storerooms were made in the attics of
ground-floor houses and a connection could be made here with later storied
houses. From an artistic point of view, the decoration on the houses’ exterior
log walls is most interesting. Rich painting in the form of stylised geometric
patterns, unique in Slovakia, is similarly unique in the entire Central European
Čičmany had been seriously damaged several times by destructive
fire in the first half of the 20th century. In 1907, it devastated the southern
part of the municipality, burning down the school and 45 buildings (residential
houses and farm houses). In 1921 it burnt down 49 residential houses, which
meant that almost half of the municipality was destroyed and more than 500
people lost their living. The fire in April 1945 completely destroyed 84
buildings, heavily damaged 59 and lightly damaged 101 buildings. As a result of
these fires, the original urban and architectural qualities of Čičmany were to
be significantly devalued. After the most devastating fire on 8 October 1921,
the government official and architect Dušan Jurkovič pointed to the exclusivity
of this locality, which was in urgent need of financial help and state
assistance. A year after the fire, preparations for complex renovation of the
destroyed village were to commence. The state offered special support to the
damaged ones stipulating that the new houses were to be built in the traditional
style of local wooden architecture. The Government Commissariat went on to
assign the work for designing regulations and plans for the new buildings
financed by the state. Unfortunately, neither in the 1920s nor after the last
fire in 1945, were the regulations for renovating the municipality’s traditional
architecture enforced into building practice. The last original storied house in
Čičmany with black room and open fireplace (the so-called Petrášovce), which was
not destroyed by the fires, was pulled down in 1958 despite the efforts of
monument institutions. A year later they partially pulled down house No. 137
(the so-called Radenov house) from 1924. Fortunately, this was renewed as a
museum in 1967 and today belongs to Považie Museum in Žilina, along with house
No. 42.

Miroslav Palárik
Museology in Czechoslovakia

The collapse of Austro-Hungary and the origin of the first
Czechoslovak Republic meant new possibilities in the culture field. Slovakia
“inherited” several museums after the First World War, but only the Slovak
Museum in Turčiansky Svätý Martin could be considered as an exclusively Slovak
institution. The museums were organised under the Ministry of Education and
National Edification (MŠANO); however, there was no defining law concerning the
role and competence of these cultural institutions. Also noticeable by its
absence in the state was the concept of museum study development. Most of the
museums did not belong to the state, but were of a societal, district, town or
private character. Collections and museums (apart from state ones) were
considered to be private properties and therefore the approval or rejection of
MŠANO recommendations depended on the cooperation of the museum owner. The
Ministry of Education and National Edification therefore supported the ambition
to create an organisation of museologists – the Union of Czechoslovak Museums
(SČM), where a consensus of its members could help to improve the museum
Another state institute that cared about museum collections at
that time was the Government Commissariat for Monuments Preservation in Slovakia
(1919). Its proficiency was to include control over buildings built before 1850
and movable church and guild monuments. It also secured the supervision of
technical and archaeological excavations, museum artefacts and antiquities. In
the museology field, it was to provide revisions in Slovak museums in
cooperation with SČM, based on which state granted subventions.
In between
the wars, Slovak museology struggled with many shortcomings in the
administration and protection of the collection fund and its presentation, the
coordination of museum establishment, the solving of competence disputes and a
lack of suitable space and workers. During the time of the Czechoslovak
Republic, however, the law that would explicitly assign competence to the
museums was not accepted. Attempts at approving museum law failed. In the
mentioned period, only two regulations related to museology and the protection
of collection items. The regulations from 1918 and 1938 had banned the export of
cultural and monument (museum) artefacts from the country. This was under the
threat of financial sanctions and it is worthy of note that those competent had
been working on approving the first museum law up until the 1960s.

Henrieta Žažová
Libraries in the agenda of the monument

The funds of the monuments institutions that worked in
Slovakia in the interwar period, i.e. the Government Commissariat for Monuments
Preservation in Slovakia (1919 – 1922) and the State Department for Monuments
Preservation in Slovakia (1922 – 1939), are kept in the Archives of Slovakia’s
Monuments Board in Bratislava and contain history records of the Bratislava
University Library (UKB) and the library’s written heritage.
The supervision
of public libraries after the origin of Czechoslovakia was in the hands of the
Ministry of Education and National Edification (MŠANO) in Prague and its
Bratislava department. Václav Chaloupecký was appointed as state inspector of
archives and libraries in Slovakia and kept this role until the end of 1938, his
sole responsibility being for scientific libraries.
The library of the newly
established Comenius University in Bratislava was funded as a consequence of
taking over the library of the Hungarian Royal Elizabeth University into the
administration of the Czechoslovak state on October 10, 1919. The librarian of
Prague’s University Library Jan Emler, was named as government commissary and
from 1921 as director of UKB. The statute of library was not issued in the
interwar period. According to J. Emler, UKB had a dual mission: a general one,
regarding the objective scientific goal and the significance of the university,
and a special one, regarding the unique national character and territorial
location of this university. Jozef Schützner, who directed UKB in 1931 – 1939,
continued in the development concept proposed by his predecessor Emler.
though J. Emler was chiefly a librarian, he also showed great interest in the
preservation of artistic monuments in Bratislava. He had worked as a
conservationist with the monuments board in Prague since 1906 and after his
arrival in Slovakia actively corresponded with the commissariat for monuments in
terms of granting subventions for buying books and magazines, preserving
historical furniture in the former Jesuit library, which was acquired by UKB,
and adapting the former Klarisky (St. Clara) monastery interior into a library.
In the second half of the 1920s, he asked for reparation of buildings and the
restoration of discovered frescos. Emler also aimed at the preservation of
neglected parish libraries.
The largest group in the agenda of the
monuments institutes regarding libraries were the records on export and this
could be directly related to the mission of the Government Commissariat for
Monuments Preservation in Slovakia, which supervised the monuments export and
antiquities trade.
The biggest recorded problem in export concerned the
nobility libraries. In the 1930s, under the influence of political changes in
Europe, the law on export was more frequently broken and despite the UKB’s
interest, many of the rare earliest prints were exported abroad and sold in

Viliam Stockmann
The Government Commissariat for
Monuments Preservation and nature protection

The work of the
Government Commissariat for Monuments Preservation in Slovakia, which was
transformed into the State Department of Monuments Preservation in Slovakia, is
little known but is probably representative of the most interesting period in
the history of state nature protection in Slovakia, presenting a separate
chapter in the field.
Following the collapse of Austro-Hungary and the
origin of the Czechoslovak Republic, all connections of Slovak monuments,
including natural ones, to the State Monuments Commission in Budapest broke
down. Simultaneously, the first Slovak monuments institutes were established in
Bratislava in 1919 as a result of the incentives of two personalities – Slovak
architect, Dušan Jurkovič and Czech conservationist, theorist and state official
of monuments care, Zdeněk Wirth.
Independent Slovak monuments
administration was established following the directive of the minister in full
charge of the administration of Slovakia, Vavro Šrobár, from October 20, 1919,
based on which the Government Commissariat was responsible for official
negotiations about construction and other interventions in the areas that
feature natural monuments, fauna, flora and geological formations. The spiritual
father of this directive was Jan Hofman, future head of the Government
Commissariat. This advanced directive was to form a legal as well as practical
basis for Slovakia’s nature and country protection for almost all of the
following two decades. It meant that when first devising the commissariat’s
activities, they already remembered the most basic tasks of monuments
preservation and nature protection, and attempted to solve preservation problems
from a modern perspective, in comparison with a previous conservational one.

In 1919 – 1939, the Government Commissariat, or State Department, handled
the issue of nature protection for the whole territory of Slovakia. It mainly
concerned itself with the care of a few natural reservations, the preservation
of trees before axing, the protection of birds and other fauna as well as flora,
mainly alpines, and the protection of caves and parks. Apart from working out
the basic concept of nature protection, the department for monuments
preservation also prepared the proclamation of a natural Tatra park and the law
on state protection of nature. It also went on to register potential areas for
territorial protection in the form of natural reservations.

Stories of monuments

Lisková Church – history meets modern

When deliberating over the architecture of a new church in the
northern Slovak municipality of Lisková in 1934, the fate of the old one was
sealed. Abandoned for many years, the early gothic building, closed because of
serious static damage and in a state of disrepair, was officially pulled down.
Only the tower, which had been modified in baroque style, was rescued, while the
church gave up its position for the planned building that would fulfil the new
capacity and functional demands. This particular choice of modern building,
which came from the studio of a significant architect of the interwar period,
Jindřich Merganc, can doubtlessly be labelled a lucky one.
The history of
the original church, in the municipality of Lisková near Ružomberok, dated from
the early Medieval Ages. According to written sources, its existence dates from
1397. The single-nave church was originally without a tower but this was later
substituted by means of a wooden belfry. Probably during the baroque
reconstruction in 1697, it received a masonry tower. Evangelists took on
responsibility for it in the second half of the 17th century and in 1706 – 1709.
From the end of the 18th century, attempts at church reconstruction, motivated
by increased capacity demands, were evident. Large reconstruction, according to
the plan of A. Pawelka from 1799, took place in 1803. The possibility of further
church enlargement was discussed in 1914, but the First World War suddenly
interrupted the building process. Nevertheless, even during 1915 – 1918 Fridrich
Schulek made several plans. These were mostly monumental concepts of a
historicist character, which meant the retention of the baroque tower. The
intended reconstruction did not happen in the end, nor did the later attempts at
reconstruction in 1922 – 1925. The church, however, had been officially closed
since 1927 because of static damage. When demolition works started at the end of
1934, the modern project of architect Jindřich Merganc from Bratislava had
already come into fruition. Having finally taken place, this was to give rise to
a rare symbiosis of a fragment of historic architecture and modern sacral

Jana Oršulová
The Lüneburg tapestry in the

The collections of the SNM-Historic Museum hide a tapestry of
atypical measurements (820 cm long and 104 cm wide). The Renaissance work was
last investigated by M. Janovíčková (Monuments and Museums 4/1997), who
identified the depicted theme with the story of Esther from the Old Testament.
She drew attention to an almost identical work –a tapestry weaved in the Flemish
technique picturing the story of Tobias from 1559, which has been described in
literature as a Lüneburg work. Based on analogies, she localised the origin of
the item to the German town of Lüneburg. However, she left open the question of
the identification of the heraldic decoration of the tapestry and there was no
clarification as to the journey of the tapestry to the collections of SNM.

The latest research in the Archives of Slovakia’s Monuments Board (the fund
of the State Department for Monuments Preservation in Slovakia) showed that
Count Ján Pálffy (1829 – 1908), who was probably the most famous collector in
this noble family, acquired the item for his property. His private collection in
what was then Hungary was beyond compare. Since he died without heirs and the
dispute over his heritage was to take many years, the tapestry finally left
Pálffy’s castle in Pezinok in 1933 to enter the collections of the Homeland
Museum in Bratislava (predecessor of the Slovak National Museum).
tapestry with the heraldic decoration was probably created for the wedding
ceremony of a member of the significant Lüneburg patrician family von Dassel, as
this family’s coat of arms is placed on the tapestry’s most important part.
Thanks to the cooperation of Dr. E. Michael from the Museum of Lüneburg
Princedom, it was clearly stated that the tapestry bears the coats of arms of
the married couple Ludolf (III.) von Dassel (1539 – 1609) and Ilsabe von
Dithmersen (1550 – 1601). They got married in 1576 which is the probable year of
the tapestry’s origin. Ludolf III. von Dassel became town alderman in 1573 and
mayor in 1692. The signature of the maker has hitherto not been clearly
The article also draws attention to other interesting items from
the Lüneburg museum. These can be linked to members of the von Dassel family and
bear their coat of arms. Regarding the existing data of the historic topography
of the town of Lüneburg, one can assume that the tapestry at the time of its
origin probably furnished an exclusive residential interior of house No. 31 at
Neue Sülze, which belonged to Ludolf III.von Dassel and earlier his father.
Alternatively it was later in the house of his daughter Ilsabe at 8 Neue Sülze.
Unfortunately, these houses have not been preserved.
Members of the
significant Lüneburg patrician family von Dassel had lived in this town until
the second half of the 19th century. The Museum in Lüneburg has kept several
items in its collections that directly relate to the ancestors as well as the
heirs of Ludolf III.von Dassel. The tapestry can at last be counted amongst the
collections of the most significant museum institution in Slovakia and the
published research has enabled us to learn details about its owners in present
day Germany.