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Contribution to the investigation of the origin of pre-Romanesque scuipture on the islands of Cres and Rab

Mirja Jarak ; Odsjek za arheologiju Filozofski fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 6.743 Kb

str. 57-77

preuzimanja: 816



On the islands of Cres and Rab which are rich in finds of pre-Romanesque church furniture, it is possible to research different kinds of pre-Romanesque monuments, some connected to a definite context of certain church buildings, and some lacking reliable data on their original placement and belonging to early medieval churches. Generally, the original origin of the pre-Romanesque monuments is better known on the island of Cres, where a special place is held by the Late Antiquity and medieval cathedral, the church of St Mary in the Graveyard in Osor. To this building belonged numerous fragments of pre-Romanesque sculpture, of which most can be dated to the early pre-Romanesque era, at the turn from the 81b to the 91b century. Amongst these medieval fragments, there are also fragments, most likely from one pluteus, with an interesting pre-Romanesque ornamental composition of geometrical and vegetational character. On the main surface of the pluteus there are three horizontal rows of circles with large, oppositely placed leaves. Between the circles, starting with the points where they meet, lilies were placed so as to create a certain type of coffer with a prominent middle eye. The ornamental composition on the top strip of the pluteus is a typical geometrical pre-Romanesque knotwork with alternating circles and rhombi, very common on medieval monuments from different localities. An identical ornamental composition can be seen on the main preserved field of a pluteus from the Franciscan monastery in Kampor on the island of Rab. Since the existence of an early medieval church has not been established for certain in Kampor, the question of the original position of the Kampor pluteus must be left open. However, there is certainly an obvious similarity with the described pluteus from the church of St Mary in the Graveyard. Seeing as one fragment of the pluteus with the same decorations has also been found in the Zadar area, in Privlaka near Nin, it is probable that Zadar workshops also produced such plutei. Their original workshop origin was, however, in Novigrad in Istria, which is evidenced by numerous analogies between Osor and Novigrad early medieval sculpture. So the Osor pluteus with the so-called coffer of lilies motif is probably the product of the Novigrad workshop. Especially in favour of a workshop connection between Osor and Novigrad is the possibility of following the genesis of a specific motif, i.e. the coffer of lilies, preciselyon Novigrad monuments. On the Novigrad monuments which have been published or are available for inspection in a local lapidarium or parish church, can be seen two pilasters with interesting compositions of lilies. On the first pilaster are circles each filled with four lilies whose three-pe tall ed flowers are turned towards the centre forming a playful motif similar to a whirling rosette. An identical motif of lilies in a circle can be found on a pluteus from the Osor cathedral of St Mary in the Graveyard which can be dated from all its characteristics to the early phase of pre-Romanesque art at the end of the 81h or beginning of the 9th century. On the other Novigrad pilaster are also carved lilies in circles, but these are placed straighter so as to form the shape of an almost even cross. Here also three-petalled flowers are turned towards the centre of the circle and the 1ilies' stems form straight vertical arms of the cross and somewhat curved horizontal arms. This position of the lilies is very similar to the position of the blies on the Osor and Kampor plutei with the so-called coffer of lilies motif. The difference is in that the blies on the plutei are not within the circle and that the three-petalled flowers are somewhat removed from the centre towards which they are facing, thus forming the motif of a kind of coffer with a pronounced central bulge. Despite this difference, the relationship between the so-called even cross of blies motif on the Novigrad pilaster and the so-called coffer of lilies motif on the Osor and Kampor plutei point to a workshop connection of these works, and such a conclusion can be confirmed by other parallels that have been observed between Novigrad and Osor early medieval sculpture. The specific compositions of lilies on early medieval church furniture from Novigrad, Osor and Kampor enrich a well known repertaire of repeated motifs of lilies in the Pre-Romanesque art on the eastern side of the Adriatic. Also, precisely these compositions with lilies strengthen the assumption of the same workshop of origin for one piece of church furniture from Osor and Novigrad. Since Novigrad was at the end of the 81h century the most important Carolingian centre in Istria, as is clear from the quantity and quality of the church furniture from that period, and since there existed local quarries in Istria when ce the stone was extracted for the production of church furniture, it is logical for the location of an early medieval stanemasons' workshop, whose products are analysed in this article, to be in the Novigrad area. Istrian influences are generally noticeable on the island of Cres, which by its geographical position is directed towards the Istrian coast. The conclusions about the workshop connection of early medieval Osor and Novigrad sculpture can therefore be also considered in the wider context of studying the connection between Istria and the island of Cres. Translation: Nicholas Philip Saywell

Ključne riječi

pre-Romanesque plutei; church ofSt Mary in the Graveyard in Osor; Kampor on Rab; Novigrad; socalled coffer oflilies motif

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