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Art - The Gothic Route

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About Art - The Gothic Route

The Wall Painting in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Rákoš
Near Jelšava, in the old mining village of Rákoš, there is a church within which are hidden precious Gothic paintings, not only inside the church but also, to some extent, on the outer walls. The Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity is an early Gothic single-nave building from the middle of the 13th century. Wall paintings from the last third of the 14th century to the second half of the 15th century cover the walls and vault of the presbytery and almost the entire north wall of the nave. They are high-quality frescos ordered for the church by the local wealthy landowners, the Bubek family. During their travels through northern Italy, in the service of King Louis the Great, they had the opportunity to see the best works of the Italian masters. They brought them to the Kingdom of Hungary to decorate churches in Plešivec, Štítnik and Rákoš. The northern wall of the nave is almost entirely covered with murals in three horizontal bands.

The upper band depicts scenes from the legend of St. Ladislaus – warriors from the royal retinue with spears on horseback led by St. Ladislaus in a dynamic scene from the battle with the Cumans. The vault in the sanctuary portrays the enthroned Christ with angels, sending his blessings, the four Church Fathers and symbols of the Evangelists. The walls of the sanctuary bear depictions of prophets, apostles and the three Hungarian royal saints: Ladislaus, Stephen and Imrich. The frescos on the walls of the triumphal arch are dominated by a well-preserved seated figure of the God, sending his blessings, with three faces. This unusual depiction of the Holy Trinity, which was later banned by the Council of Trent for its striking resemblance to the pagan Triglav, appears in our territory, for example, in Ochtiná and Žehra in the Spiš region. On the outer southern wall of the church, fragments of a painting of the Madonna and Child, part of the original monumental figure of St. Christopher, the patron saint of wanderers, and a kneeling figure of St. Rufus, the patron saint of stonemasons and miners, have been preserved.

Vladimír Ondrejovič

The Altar in the Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary in Chyžné
One of the most charming medieval sacral buildings in Gemer has been preserved and can be found in the village of Chyžné near Jelšava. The Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary attracts attention from far and wide for its high brick gable and massive enclosure wall. It was built in the second half of the 13th century as a single nave with a square presbytery and attached sacristy. The peripheral walls and the vault of the presbytery, including the inner wall of the triumphal arch, are covered by a mural dated to the second half of the 14th century. The creator of the mural was one of the assistants of the author of the Ochtin presbytery. In the last third of the 15th century, the Zápoľský family acquired Jelšava manor, including Chyžné. Thanks to them, a rare carved wing altar, from 1508, with a central sculpture of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary with double-sided painted wings, from the workshop of Master Paul of Levoča, is part of the interior of the church. The central statues of the angel and Mary are undoubtedly the work of Master Paul himself.

The altar paintings follow the theme of the Marian consecration of the church. The open wings bear scenes of the Visitation, the Nativity and the Adoration of the Kings. The fourth picture of the St. George killing the Dragon refers to the donor Bubek family. On the Paschal side of the altar, the closed wings show the scenes of the Passion of the Virgin Mary: the Crucifixion and Jesus taken down from the Cross. On the partition the glorious Coronation of the Virgin Mary is portrayed, accompanied on two sides by the figures of the two holy Hungarian kings, Stephen and Ladislaus. The valuable furnishings of the church are complemented by a Baroque pulpit from the 1st half of the 18th century and a wooden emporium decorated with painted floral ornamentation. The decorated coffered ceiling from 1745 is equally valuable. The organ, from 1854, housed in a classicist cabinet, is complemented by Baroque statues of St. Helena and St. Barbara, which were originally part of the Baroque altar prior to its restoration.

Vladimír Ondrejovič