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Original scientific paper


Radoslav Bužančić ; Konzervatorski odjel u Splitu

Full text: croatian pdf 22.823 Kb

page 77-110

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Full text: english pdf 22.823 Kb

page 111-112

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The Chapel of StJohn of Trogir, bishop and patron saint of the city, of the 11th century, is first mentioned by Bi shop Treguan at the beginning of the 13th century, describing the miracles of the saint. This oldest chapel or oratory of St John was probably a building of Later Antiquity alongside the older cathedral, remodeled and renamed, becoming the Early Romanesque chapel of the Trogiran saint. The saint`s body lay in it from 1175 to 1348, when it was transferred to the Gothic chapel erected in front of the northern apse of the cathedral. The Early Romanesque oratory of St John was outside the perimeter of the Romanesque cathedral alongside the northern wall, on the site of a Renaissance chapel of the 15th century. It was knocked down in 1468 for the sake of the construction of the "new chapel" of StJohn of Trogir. Fragments of its reliefs are found built into the frieze of the Gothic forecourt of the cathedral. The stone frieze was erected as spolia at the time of the demolition of the old chapel in 1468. Its ornaments are typical of the 12th century, containing stylised palmettos, floral and animal decorations, as well as numerous fantastic beings. Some of the motifs of the frieze were taken over by later masters, such as the allegory of licentiousness, in which serpents devour the limbs of a woman. This scene, carved on the Romanesque-cum-Gothic circular transenna of the atrium of the cathedra l, was taken over from the relief of an Early Romanesque frieze. The allegory from the frieze was part of a larger unit, symbolising hell through the gaping jaws of the Leviathan devouring the sinners in an iconographic structure of the Last Judgement. On the frieze is the coat of arm s of Bishop Desa Makarelo, begetter of the rebuilding of the oratory of St Ursula into the first chapel of St John and the restorer of the old Early Romanesque cathedral in 11 75, incorporated into the zoomorphic ornaments of the frieze. The contract for the construction of the second, Gothic, chapel of St John of Trogir was signed in 1331, with two Venetian carvers. Seventeen years later the chapel was finished in front of the northern apse of the Cathedral, and in 1348 the relics of the civic patron were translated. The third in order, a Renaissance chapel, was built in the 15th century, and to it the body of the saint was moved at the end of the 17th century. The Gothic chapel was demolished in 1694, and the Altar of Holy Cross was erected on the site. From the fragments of mouldings and sculpture of the old chapel of St John preserved partially in the cathedral, and partially in the Stone Collection of Trogir City Museum, the appearance of the demolished monument has been reconstructed. The attic of the chapel was decorated with reliefs and pillars on which Gothic finials alternated with gables decorated with floral motifs. Only two reliefs of the who le composition are known, one with a picture of Christ from the Stone Collection of the City Museum and the Archangel kept in the origin al place. The relief had with a picture of Christ in the centre between Michael and Gabriel, repeating a Byzantine iconographic scheme. The stone coffered barrel vaulted ceiling covered the old chapel, and traces of its mortar are still visible on the pylons of the cathedral. The chapel was divided from the chancel by a colonnade of marble pillars of a complex cross section, with a wrought gilt grid, from which the doors were also made. Alongside the tabernacle, alongside the northern frame of the apse, was the ducal throne, while the bishop`s throne was to the south, symmetrical to the main axis of the church, the position of which is occupied by the Baroque gilt sedes. The throne was of marble. Only the moulded architrave of the gable decorated with crabs and the background painted alfresco on the stone wall of the chancel have been preserved. It is decorated with an imitation of marble slabs, with alternating red and green fields. The sedes was raised over the steps, the marble armrest was carved, as can be seen on the throne of the Madonna from the Church of Our Lady of Pojišan in Split of the same period. The sarcophagus of Bishop John, the sculpture and the stone moulding of the trecento chapel bear a powerful seal of the Venetian art of the period. The ark belongs among the typical graves of the bishops and saints of 14th century Venetian Gothic, featuring the incrustation of coffered fields with coloured marble, the use of the motif of the Assumption, the mouldings decorated with dentate ornaments and the formal treatment of the upper cornice as sima recta with stylised acanthus leaves. Still, in spite of the incontrovertible influence of the expression of Venetian art in the ark of St John, as on the ciborium and the pulpit of Trogir Cathedral, the impacts of the art of Pisa and Tuscany can be sensed in the figure of the saint from the lid of the sarcophagus.


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