Around Varaždin

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February 15, 2010.

Our first foray this winter!

We met Vesna and Ivana in Bartolovec and went to see the church at Šemovec. It is an aisled building with a rounded apse of the same width as the nave. There are potentials for an early date, but nothing can be said definitely without a thorough investigations. Put it on “to explore” list.

In Bartolovec we saw the interior of the Parish Church, i.e., the old church with a rectangular sanctuary enveloped by an early 20th ct. monster with monstrous interior “embellishments.” In as much as one can see, the old church was very late, ca. 1500, as possibly the youngest of its family (the interesting part, the eastern half of the sanctuary showing a section of the vault can be reached through a door next to it in the eastern wall. That area serves as a messy storage.

Then in Varaždin we visited the baroque crypt of the Parish church, a huge underground area recently stripped of the plaster revealing a large number of spolia, sandstone (Romanesque), limestone (late Gothic). A careful investigation is called for which may eventually lead to reconstruction of a sizable and sophisticated Romanesque building. The big “bear” from the tower (in the City Museum) is made of sandstone which in the light of what we saw, confirms its Romanesque date.

In Sračinec the small Gothic church was enveloped by a quality early 20th ct. and is in general quite decent. There we picked the keys for Svibovec. And what a treat!

It is indeed a “triconch” with a square nave, a triple triumphal arch, a western tower, two adjacent rooms (of different sizes), and a sacristy at the northern conch. Disregarding the latter and the additions at the tower we may have:

1. An aisleless Romanesque church to which two extra conchs were added in baroque, when the nave was expanded sidewise to form a square, and a Gothic tower evidently added to an earlier façade (there is a fine small Gothic window a the western face of the tower, and not even very late Gothic). This seems most likely, but not certain.

2. One half of a hexaconch with a square entrance hall to which the Gothic tower, etc. was added. Since a triconch this is not! And we most likely have a hexaconch at Kamenica! The position of the conchs, and the way there were “cut” really indicates a hexaconch.

Be it as it may, the church should be urgently and carefully explored.

Next, the Vinica pranger was a sort of disappointment. Its central obelisk is a very well-wrought piece (it has some “roman” flavor” although formally it is rather “gothic”). The three wonderfully funny heads, which I had believed to be Romanesque are of a piece with the rest, and the “rest” has a date of early 17th ct. inscribed around the top (1604 if I remember correctly). What a mess! It will take a lot of ingenuity and studying to decipher! It deserves it as, be it what it may, it is wonderful!

We passed by Nova Ves where there is a very fine ca. 1500 church (tower, nave, pointed sanctuary) all in a piece. There we parted and left for Zagreb.


As I started reading proofs of my article on the Three Header from Vaćani in Dalmatia (for SHP 2009) it dawned on me that in Vaćani we have an early Slavic work showing three heads attached to a rounded tapering column. In Vinica we have three massive heads around a tapering “obelisk”, strangely protruding from the concave surfaces of the “obelisk”, and not at all in harmony with its refined carving. So, what if we here had originally a COLUMN with three heads, Celtic, early Slavic or Early medieval, a massive piece which was finely recarved removing a lot of bulk, turning convex body of the column into tall concave cavities, adding, at the end, the inscription which commuted the three-header into a “pranger!” Now we at least have a theory! And we need to do some very careful examination of the carving of the heads and the rest looking for possible recarvings at the area of the necks, and some very careful measuring! Will do so when the weather gets warmer!

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