Hraščina and Bedenica (Zelina)

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July 8 2009

At nine we (Maja and me) met Ivan Srša, the great wall-paining restorer in front of St. Christopher on the southern wall of St. Nicholas in Hraščina. The fresco, rather damaged and poorly restored recently, is truly stupendous – ca. 4m tall! I asked Mr. Srša for advice as a Ph.D. thesis which I am reading for defense, has some funny things about the painting, and I wanted and expert opinion about the layers. It turns out that I was right, so we will have to ask for corrections. We also photographed for Branka a funny Roman stele (they look exactly like contemporary peasants) but it rained heavily and the outcome is not particularly good.

By one of the most backwater roads through a real northern Croatian jungle we drove south to Bedenica which has a lovely fortified church on a pass from Prigorje to Zagorje. The priest was away but the bell-lady opened the church for us and we took a look at leisure while outside the rain was pouring. Unfortunately, we were unable to get into the roof, since it takes several men to lift the lid, so I could not ascertain if there are traces of Romanesque windows there. I had been to Bedenica many times and now it seems to me that the only part which may be Romanesque is the aisle, unless the western section of the long Gothic choir was not originally a square presbytery. So this wonderful building reenters as an object of study.

In the Museum with Mladen and Romana we looked at the stone fragments from Zelinagrad, all written up by Zorko Horvat. Zorko’s datings are usually very late, but here even I agree. I do not think I could use any for the exhibition. We also looked at the stone brought from Moravčak and, indeed, it is a cut stone. To exhibit it as the only indication of the hypothetical Moravčak castle?

On our way home we went to Paukovec. There is a lowland hillfort left of the road linking the main road to Paukovec, barely visible in the Zelina flood plain. Another castle stood at the top of the Paukovec village hill, and will have to wait for winter.

It is remarkable how many villages in the Prigorje belong to the hilltop type, and how many of them had some kind of fortification!

I now have enough material to write a nice piece for the catalogue, and I will append it here in a day or two.

To select appropriate pieces for exhibiting is another story and I will leave it to Danko and Vjeko do struggle with.

For those who are interested ina preview here is the proposwed text for the Catalogue.


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