Death and Coronation of the Virgin Mary. Gothic fresco in Nitra
The complex restoration of the interior of Nitra’s St. Emeramus Cathedral, which is one of the most significant national cultural monuments, is amongst the largest conservationist jobs of today. From 2006, the team of experts, under the leadership of Vladimír Plekanec, have gradually restored the presbytery of the so-called upper church with a monumental main altar and vault frescos by G. A. Galliarti dating from 1720, and in another phase, renovated the decoration on vaults, walls and altars in the nave. In connection with the restoration of the baroque painting and sculptural interior decoration, several discoveries were made, out of which the finding of an early-renaissance tabernacle from 1497 is of an exceptional value (published in the Monuments and Museums revue, No 3/2008).
In 2011, the work moved to the so-called lower church. There, the newest exceptional finding, was the discovery of gothic frescos, which document the medieval decoration on the interior of the oldest diocesan cathedral in Slovakia. During the restoration of an early-baroque altar, which has been preserved up to this date, in the middle of the straight eastern wall of the lower church, regarded as a dividing wall and dated to the 16th century, an older masonry layer with coloured surface treatment was identified. An additional probing research, confirmed the existence of a primary gothic fresco decoration on both sides of the altar. Parts of the figural fresco, covered with four layers of lime coats also continued behind the altar, which had to be temporarily demounted due to the value of the discovery. The research proved a relatively compact preservation of the gothic fresco, which originally covered the whole upper part of the wall. Its entire height is 380 cm, and of the maximum width of 560 cm, only the middle part has been preserved (417 cm). The lower edge, bordered by a horizontal stripe, is 320 cm above the current paving; the level of the gothic floor, however, was some 90 cm lower. Another original part of the wall is the hole embedded into the fresco and rimmed with a line. Its function, though, is not entirely clear (acoustic purpose?).
By uncovering the whole area, the display subject has been revealed – the single composition links two scenes, Death of the Virgin Mary (left) and Coronation of the Virgin Mary (right), replenished with the motif of Vera Icon at the top, above the window. Traditional motifs and modified iconography of Central Europe join there, with evident references to Italian trecento (Tuscany-Umbria centres) or live contacts to this environment (territory ruled by the Anjou family). The uncovered fresco, (the origin is preliminary guessed to be at the turn of the 14th and 15th century), is a significant contribution to the fund of wall paintings preserved (not only) in Slovakia.
Historicism in the architecture of Pálffy residences
The research of the historicist period has been undergoing a large boom in Slovakia over the past years. Historicism drew inspiration for the then architectural work from historic artistic styles, and thus, the examples of eclectic architecture combine the best of these styles with modern construction technologies.
Again, the most eminent benefactor of this historicist period was the aristocracy. Even though, their position had weakened after the revolutionary years of 1848 – 1849, (following the advocacy of civic society), they managed to secure a dominant place within the army and diplomatic corps. The aristocracy exercised their rights within the particular county, where they permanently lived or had their properties. Compared to those growing rich and newly-turned-noblemen, who thanks to their fortune could afford to buy not only an aristocratic title but also an ancient noble residence with adjacent lands, the family aristocracy had a clear advantage: its genealogy reached at least the first half of the 16th century, which meant family ties with leading European noble families. This was also the case of the county and princely family of the Pálffys of Erdőd, who had built their position on the loyalty to the monarchical Habsburg dynasty.
The nobility of the monarchy in the Danube region considered the aristocratic residence of a manor house or castle, built in the country in the 19th century, to be a significant manifestation of their lifestyle in the emerging modern world. The Pálffys, who were amongst the highest noblemen of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, had most of their properties built in the Bratislava district. The most northern residence in their ownership was the monumental Bojnice Castle. Together with the romantic castle in Smolenice, these two are considered the most famous examples of the complex application of the historicist architecture in Slovakia. The Bratislava palace of the notable art and antique collector Ján František Pálffy (1829 – 1908) at that time, Promenade, today’s Hviezdoslavovo Square, was rebuilt in the historicist style. Ján Pálffy (1857 – 1934), who is known for the reconstruction of the Budmerice manor house, also continued to apply historicism in Pálffy’s residences. Vojtech Pálffy (1858 – 1924) ordered the reconstruction of the manor house in Malý Máger and Štefan Pálffy (1828 – 1910) owned the palace at today’s Gorkého Street in Bratislava from the 1860s until the end of the 1930s.
Stone secrets from Voderady park
The West-Slovak Museum in Trnava contains six remarkable stone artefacts from the park in Voderady – five reliefs and one panel. The documentation records Voderady – manor house and park, as their source of origin. The first historian of the Trnava museum, Ovídius Faust, assisted with the registration of the monuments in Slovakia’s western region at the end of the 1950s and beginning of the 1960s. He visited the manor house and park in Voderady several times, where he took photographs, which are today, stored as negatives in the museum’s archives. The photos capture two of the stone artefacts situated in the park of the manor house. It can be assumed, that it was him who brought at least four items inside the museum.
Members of the Zichy noble family owned the manor house in Voderady. Originally a neo-baroque construction from the first half of the 18th century, it was reconstructed and extended in 1860 – 1870. The manor house has an adjacent park, arranged in the style of English romantic gardens with garden architectures. Count František Zichy asked German agronomist and expert in English park style Bernhard Petri in 1704 to create the park’s design. The flat ground was remodelled into an undulated one and in order to revive the landscape, Petri used the Gidra stream as a source of water for various attractions, such as a mill, a waterfall and a pond. Based on a period drawing, several stylish architectures were placed in the park: obelisk (work of B. Petri), cave (grotto), mill, recess with a hermit’s house, chapel (tower) and the so-called Templar castle. The hermit’s house only looked simple from the outside, the interior furnishings could satisfy a demanding client. Some of the Petri’s attractions can be still found in the park today, others have been irretrievably lost. The so-called colonnade that joined the architectures of the park in the 19th century, however, was not a Petri’s project.
The author of the article describes the group of stone park architectures in detail and explores their thematic connection. She also studies the origin of the used inscriptions by comparing them with epigraphic relics of the Zichys discovered abroad.
Martyrdom of St. Adrian in Sabinov
Seven pictorial panels of the Lenten part of the Crucifixion altar in the Sabinov Church of St. John the Baptist depict pairs of saints characterised by their symbols. The eighth panel, situated in the lower right corner, however, is completely different. The radically exposed body of a man with a white cloak on his hips looks alarming with the bleeding stubs of his hands that were cut off. As if this mayhem was not enough, a bearded man in a military cap brutally swings his arms with an axe. After some time, the viewer notices the cut off hands of the saint resting on a cloak of a woman in the background. The cruel story takes place in an uncertain interior with two windows, behind which is blue sky and a cross with a realistically depicted crucified body. What story is told by this artwork from around 1520?
The comparison with the coloured woodcarving in the German publication of Lives of the Saints [Der Heiligen Leben. Sommer- und Winterteil. Nürnberg, Anton Koberger, 1488, according to the pages in the work, pg. 152], which depicts a very similar scene, helped to identify the theme. The woodcarving illustrates the legend of St. Adrian of Nicomedia, originally a rich pagan and officer in the Roman army, who converted to Christianity after hearing about the testimony of Christians executed because they refused to worship pagan gods during the visit of Emperor Maximilian. The woman, who piously looks after the cut off hands, is Adrian’s wife Natalia, a dedicated Christian. After her husband’s martyrdom, she managed to rescue one of the saint’s hands (in other versions both). According to the legend, she sneaked into the prison, where the torture took place, dressed as a boy. The Sabinov painting (like many others), however, ignores this motif and her clothes as well as her headwear are indisputably feminine.
The Sabinov painting is significant also because the subject of St. Adrian’s martyrdom used to be almost exclusively portrayed only in book miniatures. This is possibly the only relic that documents the courage of facing the cruel image of Adrian’s martyrdom in the form and place accessible to a larger community of believers.
Pietism in Glosius songbook
The hymnbook Etan hlasitě prozpěvující (Ethan Singing Loudly, unknown provenance, 1727) of Ján Glosius-Pondelský is a significant literary and musical source of the Slovak baroque. The structuring of its repertory and its printed edition, closely linked to the first three decades of the 18th century, initiated a problematical confrontation with the ideological thinking underlying the movement that appeared in the history of Protestant Europe in the last third of the 17th century under the name of Pietism.
Hymnological research into musical sources unveils unknown source relationships and musical and literary cultural transfer regarding the effect of hymns from German Protestant areas in the territory of present-day Slovakia, above all those of Halle Pietism, which left lasting historical traces in hymns. The result is a a widely-published fund of hymns growing out of the editions of the hymnbooks Geistreiches Gesangbuch and Neuses Geistreiches Gesangbuch, published by Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen. Freylingausen’s hymnal stands out in the awareness of German hymnology and musical historiography as one of the important sources for the preservation and knowledge of hymns created under the influence of Pietism, echoing even beyond the borders of Protestant Germany. It may be supposed that the texts and melodies of Freylinghausen’s Geistreiches Gesangbuch became the dominant source from which Ján Glosius drew inspiration for arranging his own hymnal. The adapted choice of hymns specifically creates an essential part of the identified fund of hymns which, together with its own poetic creation, made it accessible to the Slovak Lutheran community.
This article is inspired by the results of hymnological and musicological research realized by the author in Germany in the context of the Fritz Thyssen Stipendium der Frankesche Stiftungen zu Halle in 2011.
Radoľa manor house
The renaissance manor house in the municipality of Radoľa, which is in Kysuce region some 10 km from Žilina, is one of the oldest monuments of the region. Based on historical and architectural research, it was built in the last third of the 16th century. It represents a renaissance type of a yeoman’s residence, which joins the longer and shorter tract with no corner bastions. It was a multi-level building and probably fortified with walls around the homestead. The manor house used to be the dominating feature of the Radoľa municipality, which is first recorded in writing in 1332 – 1337 as part of the Varín domain. In the course of the 14th century, the municipality became part of the Budatín estate. This became the property of the de Hatna family in 1438. Gaspard I Szunyogh, who married the widow of the Budatín estate owner Rafael de Hatna, Alžbeta Turóczy, was given the Budatín estate in 1487.
The Szunyogh family built a manor house in Radoľa and its first written mention comes from 1575. It became the centre of the estate, which encompassed a mill, sawmill, brewery, manorial stables, gardens and ponds. The key gun pits in the corners between the shorter and longer tracts of the building, point to the fact that the manor house was built in the times of the Turkish menace and estates uprisings, and also had a defensive function, which is typical for Slovak renaissance manor houses in the 16th and mainly 17th century. The first small stone manor house was rebuilt in the second half of the 17th century and in 1710 it is mentioned as a multi-level building with chambers, two cellars, a chapel, kitchen and room for cooks and a baker.
The Budatín properties went into the hands of the Csáky family at the end of the 18th century. The manor house functioned as the estate’s centre until the end of the 19th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, the roof of the manor house burnt down and the timbered ceiling was renovated. After World War One, the last owner of the Budatín estate, Gejza Csáky, sold the surrounding lands and woods to the Radoľa inhabitants. This initiated a large construction around the manor house and the residence lost its dominant position in the municipality. The manor house, with some of the adjacent buildings, was used for accommodation until the 1970s, when it was reconstructed and went under the administration of the Kysuce Museum in Čadca, which has its permanent expositions there.
Spa glass from the 19th century
The author continues in his article published earlier in the Monuments and Museums magazine (No 2, 1995, pg. 18 – 19) about the “Bardejov” spa goblet, to which he found a conspicuously similar glass in iconography, dating to 1885, in the collections of the Gemer – Malohont Museum in Rimavská Sobota. The glass relic with the motifs of the spa is made of clear solid glass and decorated with cutting and engraving. It has six oval medallions, four of which depict the period classical architecture of Bardejov Spa with the inscriptions of Fürdöház, Horvátház, Vendéglö and Kút. The fifth medallion has an engraved inscription of Füredi Emlék and the last one, a monogram with KL initials and a date of 1885 underneath. By comparing the depictions on both spa glasses with the existing locality, the author understood that the spa house with Fürdöház inscription, is today’s Elizabeth Hotel, formerly Deák Hotel (Deák szálloda), where the Austrian Empress Elizabeth, known as Sissi, stayed during her spa treatment in July 1895 (allegedly in today’s room No 218). To celebrate this occasion, the hotel received her name. The spa house pictured on another medallion (Horvátház) was identified as the former Szécsényi Hotel (Szécsényi szálloda), today a markedly altered František lodging house.
Another historical goblet, with the image of Bardejov Spa from around 1820, comes from the collection of the Šariš Museum in Bardejov. It is made of clear crystal glass and adorned with cutting and painting. The engraving with brilliant cutting decorates the whole glass, as well as the bottom and top. Virtually around the whole goblet in the Empire style, runs a frieze band with colourful transparent enamel painting featuring the motif of the spa and inscription Andenk von Bardfelder Baadeort. The collection fund of this museum also keeps a cup of clear glass and decorated with pale blue satin work and colourful enamel painting. Near the bottom is the inscription Alexander Rus. Imp. 21 Mai 821 hone poculo gustavit aquam accidam Bartpha. This historic glass commemorates the visit of the Russian Tsar Alexander I in Bardejov Spa in 1821. The author of the article also succeeded in identifying the manufacturer of the mentioned artefacts – the glassworks in Livovská Huta near Bardejov, which existed from 1790 to 1903. Known for the high quality of its glass, it was the third largest glassworks producing cut glass in Slovakia in the middle of the 19th century, following the factories in Utekáč and Katarínska Huta.
Borová hora – memory of the country
The travertine hillock of Borová hora, along with Zvolen Castle and Pustý Castle, is one of the three attributes of the cultural landscape of the Zvolen town. It sits on the same tectonic disruption as Sliač Spa, an evidence of which is the bubbling Jazero (Lake) spring on the top and the Nahaj baňa cave inside. The settlement around the thermal spring is documented with findings of primeval tools and ceramics. During the Bronze Age, people settled in the top plain for a longer time.
The oldest written evidence on Borová hora comes from the Italian humanists, who worked at the court of Matthias Corvinus (Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, Antonio Bonfini). Naturalist Juraj Agricola wrote about poisonous vapours coming from the Lake in his book De natura fossilium (1546), and Matej Bel also mentioned them at the beginning of the 18th century. The Bel’s work Hungariae antiquae et novae prodromus (1723) also contains the engraving by Samuel Mikovíni of the golden spiral found on vegetation, the so-called aurum vegetabile. The alchemistic opinions on the findings of metals in the field and lake were considered obsolete in the middle of the 19th century.
Founder of the Hungarian Archaeological and Anthropological Society, Jozef Hampel, was the first to publish bronze ornaments from the archaeological findings at Borová hora in 1886 – 1896. Other findings are related to the Bronze Age deposits from the locality of Pustý Castle.
Borová hora was also the place of the town’s healing spa, which had its tradition there since the middle of the 19th century, when the first wooden building of the town spa was built. The collections of the Zvolen Museum preserved a park plan entitled krásoháj (1854), which, however, was never implemented. The Borová hora spa was designed for people of modest needs from Zvolen and the nearby surroundings and it had a local character. The town built the modern spa house in the functionalist style of the 1930s, designed by Zvolen native, Gustav Stadrucker, a new graduate of Prague’s University of Architecture and Structural Engineering (completed in 1937). The spa was nationalised in 1949 and turned into a tuberculosis medical institution. The hospital was present in the area of the town’s healing spa until 1999. The spa is now abandoned.
Peter Szalay – Ivan Pilný – Daniela Cebecauerová
Façades of UNITAS housing complex in Bratislava
During the interwar period, the first phase of modernism also culminated in Czechoslovakia. Today, the best architectural works of this time are included on the list of national cultural monuments and care is taken to preserve their values. One of them is the UNITAS housing complex in Bratislava, listed since 1985, which is currently undergoing a general renovation.
The monument renovation of the still occupied complex represents a relatively new problem in our conditions. The architectural and restoration research of the UNITAS housing complex, which took place in cooperation with the Architecture Department at the Institute of Construction and Architecture of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and the Restoration Department of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, revealed an author’s concept of implementing functionalistic ideas about social housing by the architects Friedrich Weinwurm and Ignác Vécsei. Seven gallery-type houses with small flats were built with the help of the state and building society in 1932. The row of houses with wide green areas between individual blocks directed more light into the flats with a sparingly designed layout. The project UNITAS indicates not only the idea of a hygienic and healthy environment, but also aiming at social re-education of the inhabitants, so characteristic for modernist thinking.
The pure simplicity and rationality of architects Wienwurm and Vécsei, not only influenced the shaping of the houses’ forms, it also crept into the design of the houses’ outer covering. In their original concept, they suggested making the top layer of the coating so that with the use of different structures and modest colours it would reveal and at the same time cover the construction of the building. During the current renovation of the exterior, the UNITAS complex of apartment houses lost the original look of the façades’ surfaces, which relate to the technology of insulation, as well as the original colour scheme. Nevertheless, the red colour remains characteristic for it, making it a sort of identification point in this part of Bratislava.
Marián Samuel – Henrieta Žažová – Barbora Glocková – Luboš Kürthy
Church of Nativity of the Virgin Mary in Socovce
Archaeological, archival and architectural-historical research, in cooperation with natural methods (geophysics, dendro-chronology) gathered new information about one of the most interesting sacral buildings in Turiec region – the Church of Nativity of the Virgin Mary in Socovce. The archival research of medieval and modern written sources completed and corrected the information known so far about the church as well as the Socovce municipality. The significance of this municipality, situated at the ford crossing across the river Turiec, at the junction of two important medieval roads leading from Ponitrie and Pohronie to Považie, is also outlined by the oldest place documented on paper, the market of Turiec, which used to be close to the church. The church is generally considered one of the oldest in Turiec. The tradition and several modern history sources report its origin from the times of Hungarian King St. Stephen (1000 – 1038). The first reliable record – a donation of King Bela IV (1235 – 1270) for stonemasons Peter and Benedikt, however, comes from 1258. A detailed architectural-historical research split the architectural development of the building into five main constructional phases. Only a part of the church’s main nave has been preserved from the oldest standing phase from the first half of the 13th century. While the second developmental phase (14th century) is only hypothetical, the third developmental phase (1430s) saw the erection of a polygonal presbytery with supportive pillars. A chapel was added to the main nave, along its entire southern length at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. The rescue archaeological research in the exterior of the building revealed masonry foundations at the nave’s northern wall. Even though the research was spatially as well as timely limited, the examination of the areas alongside the church walls brought new results about the constructional development of the building and burials in its surroundings. Several incomplete graves without findings were uncovered, along with several monolithic tombstones, which appeared in Slovakia’s territory from the 11th until the beginning of the 14th century (in the Turiec region, it is only a second locality, where this way of burying was confirmed). One of the tombstones had an equal-arm cross engraved on its surface. The knowledge about the building’s development was enriched with the discovery of the remains of a charnel house added the to sacristy and church’s nave. The most important result of the research, however, was the uncovering of the older (from before the first half of the 13th century) foundations of the church, under the northern side of the nave, and foundations of the oldest medieval sacristy. The surprising moment was the discovery of six coins of the Redwitz type under the foundations of the presbytery, which shifted the dating of its construction to the time after 1430 – 1434. Such dating was also confirmed by the results of the dendro-chronological analyses of the truss beams above the presbytery (1436). The presumptions about the presence of an older presbytery with a quadratic ground plan, which were suggested by the geo-radar research, can only be verified by an archaeological research in the church interior.
Katarína Beňová – Monika Borkowska
Baptism of Vajk from Nitra Gallery
The property of the Nitra Gallery contains a painting entitled The Coronation of a Hungarian Monarch by an unknown artist. The recent restoration, performed by Monika Bokrowská in cooperation with the author of the artistic-historical description Katarína Beňová, brought along new information about the artist and better specified the scene. The work is the copy of a famous painting, which Archbishop Alexander Rudnay (1760 – 1831) ordered from the Viennese painter Johann Michael Hesz (1768 – 1836) as the main altar picture for the Basilica of St. Stephen in Esztergom, when its construction started in 1822. Based on the signature, revealed in the lower left margin, the copy was painted by an artist named Gál, who worked in the Hungarian Kingdom. The theme of the picture is the baptism of the heathen king Vajk, who thus received the name of St. Stephen. The literature mentions an artist named Gál only as a painter working in Hungary in the first half of the 19th century. In connection with Esztergom, we can find information about his portrait of Archbishop József Kopácsy, which was made in 1841. It is possible that the artist worked at this religious centre for a longer time, where two of his known and preserved pictures come from. However, it could also be the painter N. Gál, who lived in Tata (a town in Hungary) and painted the copy of Rákoczy portrait (1825). However, no more information is known about his life.
The painting was in a state of disrepair and it was necessary to start its immediate restoration, during which the signature as well as the model for the scene was revealed. Johann Michael Hesz introduced the work Baptism of Vajk to the Vienna’s public in the spring of 1828, based on the information published in the press of that time. From around that time, the Hesz’s painting was stored in the library of the archbishopric, because its new Esztergom bishop ordered another altar picture for the church from Italian painter Michelangelo Grigoletti (1801 – 1870). The picture, in the property of the Nitra Gallery expands the knowledge of the painting during the historicist period in the former Upper Hungary. The customer of this copy is yet unknown and so the search for the work’s artist and other connections still continues.
Ján Aláč a Ľudmila Pulišová
Water mills in the Gemer-Malohont region today
The authors of the article began to research the subject of mills and miller’s trade within the Gemer-Malohont region in 2008 in the Gemer-Malohont Museum in Rimavská Sobota. Apart from mapping the history of the miller’s trade and several mills in the region, they also documented the present state of mill constructions that have survived, despite the changes, which ended the traditional miller’s trade in the course of the 20th century. Up to today, there are several interesting water mills with quite well and almost completely preserved technical equipment.
Two types of mills with millwheel were used in the Gemer-Malohont region. The wheels with the millrace for head water were more efficient in the mountainous areas of the region, as they could make better use of a stream with limited flow (Ožďany, Sušany, Brádno). The more vigorous flow of the Rimava river saw the construction of mills with paddle wheels (often with several of them) and millrace for tail water (Rimavská Sobota, Rimavské Janovce, Pavlovce, Jesenské). At the turn of the 19th and 20th century, the mill in Pavlovce had two mill wheels and the mill in Jesenské five. Out of almost thirty researched mills preserved in the Gemer-Malohont region, an original mill wheel for the head water, or basically any water wheel, up to this day, has been conserved only in Ožďany. The mill in Sušany is only a skeleton of the original construction.
The modernisation of mills in the first decades of the 20th century resulted in the replacement of the original mill wheels with more effective water turbines (Rimavské Zalužany-Príboj, Rimavská Seč, former mill of Dezider Čala in Tisovec). The mill stones were changed for cylinders. Apart from these, the mills received other equipment, which changed the mill’s division inside. The mills grew in height, and the residential part joined the manufacturing one (Rimavské Janovce, Cakov, Klenovec – Dolinky housing estate). A mill standing separately from the miller’s house is preserved, for instance, in Lukovištia, Rimavské Zalužany-Príboj, Veľký Blh, Mlyny and Rimavská Baňa.
The mills in the Gemer-Malohont region were of a local significance. They were also called toll or fee mills, because they milled mostly for the local farmers for a “road fee”. The exception were the big, steam mills in Rimavská Sobota – Dickman’s mill and Schreiber and Seidner – mill and steam sawmill, which also made business on a large scale.
Marek Fraštia – Jana Haličková – Miroslava Chlepková – Marián Marčiš
Optické a laserové skenovanie banskoštiavnickej Kalvárie
Image based scanning and laser scanning have the same outputs – point cloud. But approaches of both technologies are different such as the quality of point cloud. Laser scanning is more robust but more time consuming in terrain during scanning – terrestrial character and high costs of instruments are some disadvantages of this technology. Image based scanning has limits caused by uniform texture of scanned surface, lower accuracy and resolution if images are taking from longer distances. Data integration from both technologies can be good compromise in model creation. In this contribution the possibilities of automatic digital image processing, laser-scanning and data integration from both methods in 3D model creation of typical objects of Calvary in Banská Štiavnica are presented.