Skoči na glavni sadržaj

Izvorni znanstveni članak


Goran Nikšić ; Konzervatorski odjel u Splitu

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 20.782 Kb

str. 263-302

preuzimanja: 580


Puni tekst: engleski pdf 20.782 Kb

str. 303-305

preuzimanja: 242



The main reason for the construction of the choir of Split Cathedral was the lack of room in the ancient building, which had over the course of years become increasingly cramped. The apostolic visitor of 1579 Agostino Valier found that laymen and canons sat squeezed cheek by jowl on the choir stalls in the narrow space before the main altar, and ordered that the church be enlarged. When in 1615 Archbishop Marco Antonio de Dominis finally built a new choir and placed the old stalls in it, he at the same time realised the ancient wish for the expansion of the cathedral and completed the long process of opening up the presbytery, that is, bringing the Eucharistic sacrament closer to the commons in the nave. De Dominis managed with very modest resources to build a new choir, although at the beginning of the 17th century the economic state of affairs in the town and in the archdiocese was crippling, the plague epidemic of 1608 having almost wiped out the population. This is a situation that certainly has to be borne in mind when assessing the value of this Baroque building. So far it has usually been repeated that it is modest, unprepossessing, even ugly, and the whole operation described as inconsiderate damage to and uglification of valuable ancient architecture. Here we shall attempt to show that the Baroque choir of Split Cathedral is not only significant in an architectural and artistic sense, but that the builders, in the given circumstances, certainly paid a great deal of attention to the values they found already present. Archbishop Markantun de Dominis had to fit into the new building of his choir the wooden backs of the choir stalls, in the form in which in the 15th century they had already been set up in the presbytery. The architecture of the Baroque choir was thus adjusted to the old choir stalls, and the lower part of the walls is completely plain and unrelieved, the level of the first stone cornice being determined by the height of the stalls. On the same wooden dais between the two wings of the stalls, in the centre of the eastern wall, very likely during the time of Archbishop Sforza Ponzoni, a wooden throne was set up, the work of a Venetian workshop. The central zone of the walls of the choir is relieved with stone pilasters featuring Ionian capitals, between which flat fields were left for the accommodation of large paintings with scenes from the life and martyrdom of St Domnius [Dujam] painted in 1683-1685 by Pietro Ferrari according to a commission by the then archbishop, Stefano Cosmi. In the western bays of the side walls there were balconies supported on stone corbels, as documented in the drawings of V. Andric (1582) and E. Hebrard (1912). The floors of the balconies made of great stone slabs were placed on these corbels, slabs which had been obtained by sawing the architraves in part of the peristyle of Diocletian's Mausoleum, from which the colonnade had been removed when the choir was built on. On a southern balcony the choir sang on very solemn occasions, and on the northern balcony an organ might have been placed. In the upper part of the choir's walls were nine oval windows bordered with stone frames that had been carved out of the slabs of the stone coffered ceiling of the peristyle, which is shown from the remains of the shallow moulding visible on 303 the external sides of the windows. The Baroque wooden gilt chandelier is extant, and above it, on a chain, a wooden relief of the dove of the Holy Spirit is affixed to the ceiling. The interior of the choir is as a whole fairly modest, with a simple volume, and relieved with a restrained classical architectural vocabulary. However, while judging the artistic value of the architecture, we nevertheless have to bear in mind the very difficult conditions in which it was created, which meant that it was built entirely of material to hand (stone from parts of the Mausoleum and the houses knocked down where the choir was built). The builder of the choir, within the slender opportunities available to him, coped very well, and thus we can point to the confidently proportioned volume of the whole and individual walls, based on the square and the golden section rectangle. The choir is adeptly fitted into the tissue of the buildings that already stood. Since it was surrounded on all sides with houses, it was raised far enough above them for the oval windows to be opened up in the upper zone of the walls, thus obtaining the necessary daylight. In this manner a large wall surface was left untouched for the placing of paintings, and the typical Baroque lighting from above was obtained. On the northern fa9ade, a drawing incised in the plaster is retained, the ground for a painting from the 17th century that shows a trompe l'oeil architectural composition. After the fire of the old archbishop's palace in 1924 and its demolition, a view was opened up onto the choir that was not originally provided for and led substantially to its aesthetic downgrading. Archbishops and canons were buried in the choir. The central tomb, facing the archiepiscopal throne, was commissioned by Sforza Ponzoni, the same archbishop that completed the arrangement of the choir. In research at the end of 1998 a coffin was found with a complete skeleton and below it the commingled bones of at least five more archbishops. After that, in archaeological probes of the pavement of the choir, a part of the front side of an antique stone sarcophagus was discovered, with an inscription and a depiction of a dolphin, a fragment of a limestone beam decorated with interwoven arcades of two stranded bands and three marble items of medieval church furnishings- two slabs and one beam of the choir screen. The slabs have characteristic ornamentation of two crosses, each under an arch, flanked with palmettes and rosettes. Because of the absence of any interlacing decoration they can be dated early, to the 81h and 91h centuries. The beam has a carved inscription mentioning St John the Baptist, and it can be assumed that it came into the choir from the nearby baptistery. Stone fragments have been found in the walls: a large Corinthian capital from one of the ancient columns of the peristyle, parts of the door and window frames from houses or ruins that stood where the choir now is, and two fragments of stone pre-Romanesque ecclesiastical furnishing- a small roughly worked stylised Corinthian capital of a pilaster and part of the ciborium of an altar with a relief of stylised birds. North east of the choir, on the site of the demolished archbishop's palace complex, a Roman mosaic has been discovered; in 1968-1972 archaeological revision work was carried out. After this the foundations of the choir were not conserved and subsequently gave way because water penetrated behind them, forcing the banked material outwards. This seriously compromised the structural stability of the choir, which was anyway constructed of relatively poor material. The walls 304 of the choir are founded partly on the firm footing of the massive base of the peristyle of the mausoleum, and partially on a substrate of heterogeneous material. All this led to the subsidence of the foundations and the cracking of the walls. In conservation works started in 1999, the foundations of the choir were injected, and then through the dozen metres long horizontal boreholes below the choir, steel rods were inserted to pull the foundation walls together. The walls were grouted with a lime-based mixture, and the most damaged portions were rebuilt. Tie rods were placed at three levels. The dilapidated roof construction was replaced with a new one, and the floor of the attic was made with three layers of boards, providing a brace against earthquakes. The remains of the one-time fresco on the northern wall was made good by mortar filleting and grouting, and the remains of the drawing incised into the plaster, previously hardly visible, were picked out with lime mortar, and now can be seen from a distance. The Baroque gilt wooden chandelier was restored. The restored wooden archiepiscopal throne was put back in the choir, as well as two of the six large paintings by Ferrari. The Gothic crucifix was put back above the throne and thus the composition of the eastern wall of the choir was rounded off. In the western bays of the longitudinal walls, which were empty after the suspended balcony of a recent date had been removed; six Ponzoni's paintings have been hung. The choir stalls were restored to their 17th century form. The fragments of medieval church furnishing found during the conservation works were placed on the free part of the northern wall of the choir. Here a kind of little stone collection has been created, bearing witness to the complex history of the cathedral and the many vicissitudes experienced by its interior.

Ključne riječi

Hrčak ID:



Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

Posjeta: 1.996 *