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Perforated Stone Parapets - Assembling Elements of Gothic ballatorii

Vanja Kovačić ; Konzervatorski odjel Ministarstva kulture u Splitu

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 814 Kb

str. 26-40

preuzimanja: 1.543



Because of lifestyle changes and an influx of a number of tenants into Trogir palaces, their interior courtyards were partitioned and as such, they lost their original appearance with open galleries and loggias. Skillfully perforated stone parapets decorated with medallions and bars reduce the heaviness of the entire structure, while in the visual sense, the cutouts in stone with deep and dark plans create the effect of lightness. Because of the partition of former palaces, courtyards are often smaller, while the balconies of the galleries are dismantled, so the stone elements could be reutilized in other places. Some of the perforated parapets were found in the St Francis' Monastery on the waterfront in Split and Omiš, and they were recognized as the chancel slabs, although they were not found at the entrance of the sanctuary.
During the renovation of the former Pavlović house on the south-west side of the Narodni trg in Split, a fragment of a parapet with perforated quatrefoils was found. It was built in on the first floor of the inner courtyard of a building that had been partitioned in the 18th century. The parapet was shaped in the same way as the railings from Omiš, so the profiles of the medallion and pointed outlines of the quatrefoils fully match. In the example from Split, the right side of the pilaster with flutes filled in the lower part, and similar in shape to those on the gallery of the Small Cipiko palace in Trogir, was preserved. However, Trogir pilasters were carved separately from the stone railings and installed as monolithic, so called "capitani", while perforated slabs were added to their sides. Although dislocated over a wide area, Omiš parapets, as well as those from the St Francis' Monastery in Split, together with recently found Split fragment, could form a similar architectural whole of the inner courtyard. The parapets have almost completely been removed, as is the case with numerous stone elements of the demolished Communal and Duke's palace which had formed the northern side of the same square, and for the most part had been sold at auctions, or destroyed. Thanks to their friendship with Split's mayor Antonio Bajamonti, the Radman brothers enriched their collection with prestigious Gothic lapidarium after the demolition of the Split Communal palace.
By comparing decorations of perforated slabs on Trogir's monuments, we found the same motifs on the bell tower of the cathedral and the gallery of the Small Cipiko palace. On the western and eastern sides of the second floor of the bell tower, the tracery is shaped as a slanted grille with perforated quatrefoils of pointed leaves. On the south and northern sides, there are two rows of oculi with four-lobed shapes over the doublearched windows. A detailed analysis of the architectural concept of the ballatorium (ballatoio, ballatorio, ballatorium) is given by Nada Grujić, based on the archival material about Dubrovnik's palaces, together with the reconstruction of their appearances on the representative urban residential architecture. The Florentine terminological vocabulary of F. Baldinucci from 1681, gives us a detailed description of the word ballatorium: E come una strada alta situata o fuori delle facciate degli edifici, o nella parte di dentro annesso al muro de Cortili, con sponde atorno (It is like a high street situated on the outer side of the façade of a building, or partially on the inner wall of a courtyard when it is surrounded by parapets). So, this is not just about a building form that allowed walking on its outer side, but also around the inner courtyard, the same as on the Cipiko and Lucić palaces in Trogir.
Based on the documents from Zadar's archives, Cvito Fisković was the first to conclude that the gallery, or the ballatorium, is a prominent, either wooden or stone part of a house with a stairway, and he also added that there were also galleries inside houses, and that they were also called ballatorii. Their railings were often made as a series of small columns, but also as perforated slates for which we use terms parapetti straforati and apodium straforatum.
The best preserved Dalmatian ballatorii are in Trogir on both Cipiko palaces and in the courtyard of the Lucić palace alongside southern city wall. Perforated slabs were often used as railings for the chapels as it is mentioned in the contract for the building of blessed John of Trogir in St Lawrence's cathedral in Trogir, or the chapel of St Cross in the Franciscan church in the city of Hvar.
We have discussed the origin of these lightweight prefabricated structures during the 15th century through the shaping of ballatorii of the Gothic - Renaissance courtyards. Skilled craftsmen also applied perforated slabs in monumental religious architecture creating exceptional works on bell tower loggias. They expressed particular creativity in assembling stone elements with perforated parapets and decorative window tracery.

Ključne riječi

perforated parapets; gothic palaces; ballatorii

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