Friday, December 31, 2010

#529 Slovakia...Thanks Robert!

These two stamps are Slovak 2010 Art series showing Gothic Mural Painting and Gothic Madonna from Ľubica.

Gothic Mural Painting
The history of Cathedral church of St. Martin bishop in Spišská Kapitula (Spiš Canonry) dates back to the 13th century. Its contemporary appearance is the result of several reconstructions. The original Roman period is represented by the space in the western part – pillars with berry head capitals under gallery, two preserved portals and the lion statue from the original Western portal. Radical reconstructions in the second third of the 15th century turned the church into a hall three-nave basilica with high spaces with star and tracery vaults. Building up a mortuary chapel of the Zápolya family to the southern side of the church nave completed the reconstruction.
The wall painting of Karl Robert Coronation represents the remains of the decoration dating back to the period before the Gothic reconstruction in the 15th century. The motif of the painting under the northern portal is a ceremonial scene which is dominated by the Mother of God with Jesus on her knees. Her throne, Jesus’ white robe and the ornaments of the whole painting relate to the Byzantine art mediated by Italian paintings at the turn of the 13th and 14th century. By blessing gestures, Mary and Jesus are turning to the king wearing a crown on his head. Behind the king, separated by the shield with red and white beams and with Anjou family lilies, a Spiš castellan Frantisek Thomas Semsay is kneeling.
To the right of the Mary Enthroned, two church dignitaries are depicted – an Esztergom archbishop Thomas with another crown in his hands and a Spiš provost Henrik who is behind him. The scene represents hierarchical vision of the reign derived from the Christ and guaranteed by the local authorities. Considering thoroughly highlighted details of the clothes and insignia it can be assumed that the painter comes from courtly environment.
The last complex reconstruction (Ladislav Szekély 2005) proved secondary of the historical signs and also the dating on one of them. Considering the iconography, the painting could have been created shortly after Karl Robert from Anjou was coronated the Hungarian king by the Esztergom archbishop for the last time in 1310.

Gothic Madonna from Ľubica
The Parish church of Assumption of Virgin Mary in Ľubica is the largest church from the group of so-called double-nave Spiš churches and its architecture integrates several reconstructions. After the second half of the 14th century the nave of the older church was vaulted with a cross vault on three slender columns. From the era of the older, still gothic period, two portals but especially one of few preserved round windows of Slovak Gothic – rosette are worth mentioning. The church interior underwent fundamental alterations in the 17th and 18th century. After 1764, the walls and the vault were decorated with rococo ornaments. Baldachin altar in sanctuary (1680) is older and was created by baroque sculptor Olaf Engelholm from Levoča. A niche of the older still gothic altar with the statue of the Virgin Mary from the beginning of the 16th century is also integrated in this monumental work.
Madonna, wearing bright gold cloak, accompanied with little statues of four saints on the sides represents the type of so-called Apocalyptic Mary standing on the half moon with two angels by her feet. The moon represents the devil that was humiliated by the Mother God. Both angels raising her cloak serve the purpose of sending the message face to face to the spectators. The method of the coat shaping but mainly the facial features of the Virgin Mary and the angels reveal the origin of the statue as well as the whole original gothic altar in the workshop of Master Paul of Levoča.
The preservation of the older statue, even the whole cabinet of the gothic retable in the new baroque altar in Ľubica is not such a big exception. In the 17th century similar phenomenon is observed in the baroque altar of the Minorities church in Levoča that is also the work of Olaf Engelholm. Gothic Madonna could be found in the baroque altar of the Parish church in Podolínec. In 1696, the whole gothic cabinet with eight original statues was integrated into the altar in the Parish church in Prešov. Such a historicism surely relates to the former recatholization atmosphere and its effort to emphasize religious and cultural tradition continuity of the period before the reformation. Artistic monuments became significant argumentative means in religion disputes in the 17th century.

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