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Contribution to the Study of the Church of St Matthew in Split

Ivan Basić ; Odsjek za povijest umjetnosti Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 1.373 Kb

str. 67-96

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The church of St Matthew, which stood next to the south entrance to Split cathedral until 1881, was constructed between the peripteros and temenos of Diocletian’s mausoleum, along its east-west axis. A large number of pre-existing structures in the church of St
Matthew and their degree of preservation indicate that it was erected at the beginning of the early middle ages, when the original layout of diocletian’s building had been well preserved. The church was the original setting for the sarcophagus with the epitaph of Archbishop John
from the second half of the eighth century, which can be linked to the restorer of the Salonitan archbishopric in Split, John of Ravenna, who is mentioned by Thomas, the Archdeacon of Split, in his thirteenth-century chronicle, Historia Salonitana. The analysis of the sources relevant for the burial place of Archbishop John of Ravenna (the fourteenth-century chronicle of A. Cutheis and his catalogue of the archbishops of Split) showed that the data from these records are also of early medieval origin. The chronological frame in which the formula carved on the lid of the Archbishop’s sarcophagus existed, its
epigraphic features and comparisons with the deceased’s epitaph, link it with the time when the longer inscription and the decoration of the sarcophagus front were carved - the end of the eighth century, and point to Archbishop John (c. 787) as the likeliest owner of the sarcophagus.
The choice of place for the sarcophagus of prior Peter, immediately next to the entrance to the church of St Matthew, in the ninth century, as well as the decoration and its relationship with the epitaph inspired by that on the sarcophagus of Archbishop john, corroborate that the prior’s sarcophagus was later than that of the Archbishop and the church in which it stood. The description of the church’s interior by D. Farlati in the eighteenth century, together with other indications, confirms that the sarcophagus and the church were made at the same
time, and that the Archbishop’s tomb was originally envisaged within the architectural setting of this church where an arcosolium contributed to its monumentality. The iconographic variant of the crossed-lily decoration and its specific symbolism originated in early christian Ravenna, which corresponds not only to the origin of the
Archbishop buried in the chapel but to the dedication to St Matthew, also of ravennate provenance, which creatively matches the iconographic programme of the sarcophagus. Thus, the sarcophagus, the church of St Matthew and John of Ravenna are connected to John,
the Archbishop of Split in the late eighth century.

Ključne riječi

Split, the church of St Matthew, John of Ravenna, sarcophagi, early middle ages, architecture, sculpture

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