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Balance of restoration of Calvary Banská Štiavnica in 2017 at a glance

03 jan 2018
Balance of restoration of Calvary Banská Štiavnica in 2017 at a glance

Chapel Ecce homo

The opening of this year’s construction season was associated with the opening of the Ecce homo chapel and the dungeon (in the axis below the Upper Church) in June 2017. Several restaurateurs and craftsmen participated in its restoration. It required a challenging restoration of stone elements and stone balustrades, restoration of plaster with the rescue of at least fragments from the original fresco in the interior on the floor, craft renovation of the roof and repairs of the roof, grilles, paving, doors, stairs and lots of details.

Frescoes in the Upper Church

Throughout the season, we continued the restoration of the frescoes inside the Upper Church. Responsible restorer Ján Hromada, , invited external experts for baroque art in Slovakia, namely Martin Čičo and art specialist for Anton Schmidt (the original author of frescoes) Jozef Medvecký. The process of restoring the fresco is tedious and lasts for several summer seasons. The fresco was corrugated, in many places littered with hard cement mortar, which the restorers had to remove and then the masonry under it dried. Only then could the Baroque fresco with the rich expression of the Resurrected Christ gradually reveal itself. In the 70’s of the 20th century, it was significantly overwhelmed by the hard painting technique and this layer was gradually removed by the restorers to show the original Baroque work in full light.


The portal is an altar in the Upper Church

The most notable achievement in Calvary this year was the restoration reconstruction of the architecture of the stone portal before entering the Upper Church. Originally, the Baroque masters carved it out of stone in a Baroque altar style with columns, arched translations and lots of details – a cartouche with inscriptions, vases, cartoon angels, and the like. The dimensionally imposing entrance to the Upper Church was seriously damaged by shooting during World War II. Since then, we have seen only half the torso from this portal. Thanks to the quality of the historical photography and no less thanks to the skill of the restorers, the portal could be completed in its full original Baroque architecture. Responsible restaurateur Ján Fečo and his colleague Andrej Baník have spent the summer and autumn on the facade of the Upper Church. The work was extremely demanding, requiring preparation in the studio and on site. Especially the assembly of a massive cartridge with a German inscription was particularly dramatic, but eventually successful. Today, after over 70 years, we see the portal again in its original Baroque form.


The statues of two villains

Since we are systematically preparing for the opening of the Upper Church in 2018, we have already started with the restoration of three preserved baroque statues of crucified on Golgotha. Two of them have been restored, the statues of the villains, crucified with Jesus. The sculptures, originally a much richer altar on Golgotha, were deposited in the premises of the Old Castle within the exhibition „Calvary in Asylum“. In the next year, we are preparing the restoration of the statue of the Crucified Christ.


The Jesus child of Prague

A replica of the statue of the Jesus child of Prague was restored to the niche inside the Lower Church before the Calvary pilgrimage in September. The iconography of the decoration in the Lower Church (and in all three churches) originally merged between frescoes and sculptural works. After the disappearance of the original baroque statue of the Jesus child of Prague from the niche in the chapel of the Last Supper in the Lower Church, the painted Holy Trinity above it remained painted with only two divine persons (God the Father and the Holy Spirit). The third divine person – the God of the Son – was the missing Jesus statue in a brocade ruffle. The reconstruction of the statues according to the archival photo documentation and the restoration of the wooden pedestal was successfully performed by the Regional restoration studios of the Monument Office in Bratislava, led by Zuzana Tahy.


Chapel no. 10

Just before finish is the restoration of another chapel in a series of passionate scenes of Jesus before Caiaphas. After the removal of cement plasters, the restorant Ján Fečo had the stone architectural elements (volutes, stone cartouche with donor sign, stone pilasters, rhymes, etc.), which was necessary to bring it back to its original baroque form. As a result, cement hard plasters caused the soft tuff stone material of the columns, rims, and other details on the chapel to be largely disintegrated, fragmented, with only a difficult to read profile. In the spring of 2018 the chapel will certainly join the other completely restored chapels.


Walkways, railings, linden alley and others

Throughout the 2016 and 2017, we have been arranging pavements with stairs in the area. During 2017, we paid attention to the section of Ecce homo chapel. In addition to the sidewalks, there were reconstructed wooden railing and continued the adjustment of the rocky terrain around the chapels no. 18 and 19, where at the same time it was thought of drainage by the stone transverse troughs. The rehabilitation of the linden alley in the area of ​​Calvary was also professionally provided. A lot of maintenance work has been done thanks to brigades or „team buiding“ company actions – cleaning the area from the debris, moving the shingles to the chapels, moving scaffolding to the necessary places, removing debris, mowing the grounds, cleaning from raids, cleaning the interior of God’s grave ect.

Work on the reconstruction of the complex of churches and chapels of the Calvary of Banská Štiavnica was possible thanks to the financial support of the VUB Bank Foundation, the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic, private donor, enthusiastic brigadiers and volunteer from the ERASMUS + program.

Katarína Vošková