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Revue Pamiatky a múzeá - Summary 2/2006

zverejnené: 3. mája 2011
aktualizované: 13. apríla 2012

The Chapel of Zápoľský in Spišská Kapitula – Truss constructions

Peter Glos – Mária Novotná – Ľubor Suchý

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

Coronation of Karol Róbert in Spišská Kapitula

Eva Spaleková – Ladislav Székely

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

Queen Elizabeth’s relief in Bratislava

Jozef Haľko

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

Archeology at Bratislava’s Main Square

Branislav LesÁk

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

Executive Law in Medieval Bratislava

Vladimír Segeš

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

Missing drawings by Wolfgang Kempelen

Alice Reininger

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

Jubilee declaration and centenary of uprising 1848/1849

Elena Kurincová

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

Historic ceramic roofing in Slovakia

Peter Horanský

Though ceramic roofing has been a quintessential part of the architecture of the Slovak territory for almost 2,000 years, scientific research concentrates on its origins. Ceramic roofing is often discovered at archaeological excavations. However, late findings show that historical ceramic roofing can be also found at in its original place, on the roofs and trusses, where it has been waiting to be discovered for several centuries. It is a paradox that the best processed and documented is the oldest ceramic covering, which comes from the Romanian period (1st to 3rd century AD). It is to be found in almost all archeological sites of the Roman provinces in our territory: camps and stations at the Limes Romanus line - Devín, Bratislava, Rusovce, Stupava, Iža. Advanced Roman architectonics brought the ceramic roofing production technology to our territory. The stamps also tell the name of the producer. Tegularius Gaius Valerius Constans worked in the nearby Carnuntum and his products were found at burial sites in Rusovce. From Gerulata comes a unique roofing tile, on which the roof worker before burning it sketched a walking person of a bearded man carrying a cross. The image is considered the oldest proof of Christian faith in Slovakia and it can be dated to 3rd century AD.
With Romans leaving our territory the knowledge of making ceramic roofing was lost. Germans and Slavs, whose construction works were on an incomparably lower level, covered the housings with accessible natural material – reed, straw, shingles and tree bark. The only exceptions are the mangers found in Košice-Šebastovce at the housing estate from the 1st-2nd century. They served as a suspension construction for a grid in pottery furnaces. Ceramic roofing found use in the Great Moravian period of church building, when the construction workers used leftovers from the original Roman roofing, as well as the coverings which they started to produce at that time. It resembled the Roman pattern in its shapes and survived in extinct Roman localities where it was used secondarily in the following centuries. Research on the Great Moravian basilica at Bratislava castle hill produced evidence of it.   
The occurrence of ceramic roofing in the Middle Ages was restricted to certain territories, namely southwestern and southeastern Slovakia. The generally accepted opinion that monasteries spread the technologies, was backed up by the finding of ceramic roofing during the research on extinct monasteries in Krásna nad Hornádom, which existed in the 11th to 16th century. The research’s leader B. Polla supposed that the tiles were not made by the monks but that they ordered them from specialist manufacturers. Evidence of burnt roofing could also be seen in towns from an early time. The oldest archaeological proof dating from the first half of the 13th century comes from Bratislava itself and is to be found on Panská 19-21. In the Medieval Ages only significant buildings, town halls, record offices, armories and important fortifications – gates and bastions resistant to fires were covered with tiles. It is possible that the houses of the wealthiest townsmen also made use of them.
In modern times, brick production spread everywhere where the suitable material sources could be found. The furnaces used to be at the edge of the settlements close to a suitable clay pit and water source. Tile production was itself established by brick production. In Bratislava in the 18th century the brick furnaces used to be at the area of today’s Tehelné pole. Though written evidence of the production is lacking, we know about it thanks to late findings on the roofs of the Bratislava houses. During research on roofing in the historical centre, made in the 1990s, burnt roofing from the 17th to the 20th century was detected. The oldest, from the mid 17th century, were the step-ended tiles from Segner’s curia at Michalská 7. A rich source of information was provided by the roof on Kostolná 1, where two unique signed tiles were found, into which the monogram DH (probably the initials of the producer) and the date 1768 were thinly engraved before they were burned.
© 2012, Pamiatkový úrad SR, Cesta na Červený most 6, 814 06 Bratislava, tel.: 02/20464111, centrálna e-mail adresa:
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