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Memoriae of cruciform ground plan in Istria and Dalmatia

Pavuša Vežić ; Department of Art History, University of Zadar, Croatia

Puni tekst: hrvatski, pdf (2 MB) str. 21-52 preuzimanja: 1.186* citiraj
APA 6th Edition
Vežić, P. (2013). Memorije križnoga tlocrta na tlu Istre i Dalmacije. Ars Adriatica, (3), 21-52. Preuzeto s
MLA 8th Edition
Vežić, Pavuša. "Memorije križnoga tlocrta na tlu Istre i Dalmacije." Ars Adriatica, vol. , br. 3, 2013, str. 21-52. Citirano 04.07.2020.
Chicago 17th Edition
Vežić, Pavuša. "Memorije križnoga tlocrta na tlu Istre i Dalmacije." Ars Adriatica , br. 3 (2013): 21-52.
Vežić, P. (2013). 'Memorije križnoga tlocrta na tlu Istre i Dalmacije', Ars Adriatica, (3), str. 21-52. Preuzeto s: (Datum pristupa: 04.07.2020.)
Vežić P. Memorije križnoga tlocrta na tlu Istre i Dalmacije. Ars Adriatica [Internet]. 2013 [pristupljeno 04.07.2020.];(3):21-52. Dostupno na:
P. Vežić, "Memorije križnoga tlocrta na tlu Istre i Dalmacije", Ars Adriatica, vol., br. 3, str. 21-52, 2013. [Online]. Dostupno na: [Citirano: 04.07.2020.]

Generally speaking, paleochristian memoriae have emerged out of the funeral traditions of the pagan world of Antiquity with its particular expression of the cult of deceased, sustained with the culture that had come out of Christian theology and aesthetics. It came together with
new architectural forms some of which were characterized with cross-like forms, not only as a general symbol of new faith, but also as the spatial projection, model after which one had to build. It is defined by two axes that cross at the right angle, the framework of the overall architectural
composition, factor of building’s extension in its entire length and width, as well as the height of the building that is dominated and marked by a dome. This particular structure of the building expresses its own essence, memorial use and the Christian paradigm. Through form and function, these buildings have become a distinguished phenomenon of the Christian civilization, valued in the architecture from the late antiquity to Romanesque period.
Mature form of the space intended for the cult of the deceased, particularly when small cruciform churches are in question, is remarkably expressed in the preserved chapel of St. Lawrence, widely known as the mausoleum of Galla Placidia, one of two identical buildings once located at the ends of the narthex of the Ravennate church of the Holy Cross. The lower space of Theodoric’s mausoleum in Ravenna is also cruciform, however one should also remember emperor Justinian’s cruciform tomb
in Constantinople church of the Holy Apostles. It was demolished in the 15 century, together with the whole complex, and is known only through historical sources.
Together with the Ravennate memoriae, such tombs could have – directly or indirectly – influence the formation of the cruciform memoriae in the Adriatic cultural landscape from Late Antiquity to Romanesque period.
This paper elaborates the group of approximately fifteen buildings that demonstrate – through their forms and funerary functions – perseverance of particular cruciform plan of a memoriae within the Adriatic ambiance. A particularly numerous group is that of southern Istria, which consists of the Pula cathedral baptistery, two chapels by the basilica of Sta Maria Formosa and St. Mathew’s chapel in Pula, that of St. Catharine on a nearby islet and the supposed cruciform church of St. Andrew on an island in front of Rovinj. To such a concentration of the paleochristian memoriae one should link two early-mediaeval chapels, that of St. Clement in Pula and St. Thomas’ near Rovinj. The latter’s forms were already commented by Ivan Matejčić to follow and repeat paleochristian features. Among these features there are three protruding apses similar to those of St. Catharine’s. Therefore, it seems that the forms and the
measures of pre-Romanesque chapels were taken from those of the nearby Byzantine buildings, rather than from the distant Carolingian examples in Italy or France. Earlier and later southern Istrian memoriae are treated here as a typological group with emphasized regional features and continuity. Their forms differ only in some less important details, e.g. facades being either flat or articulated with lesenes. Their common features are, on the other hand, elementary architectural composition, spatial structure that consists of four branches and the dome hidden in the drum, as well as their dimensions and proportions. An element of
particular interest is the octagonal upper part of the dome on Pula baptistery, that on St. Catharine’s on an islet in front of Pula as well as one on St. Andrew’s on an islet in front of Rovinj. These are probably reconstructions of the older solution. Within the supposedly later construction, there is a dome, a trula, as Pietro Kandler has named it, relating it with the Longboard architecture. It is carried by squinches.
This solution is, actually, the Byzantine tradition in the area of Ravennate influences. A similar dome is constructed above the cruciform chapel consecrated to St. Mary Mater Domini (Theotokos), built next to the church of St. Felix and Fortunato in Vicenza, in 6 century. It seems that the same tradition was followed by very similar buildings, Paduan chapel of San Prosdocimo, and the memory erected by Santi Apostoli in Verona. On the other hand, St. Clement’s in Pula did not have a dome of such type and this church had yet another significant difference from the other Istrian chapels, the rectangular extension of areas in front of the apses. Another example that stands out from the group is the church of St. Euphemia at Saline bay in Lim channel. It is an Early Romanesque chapel with three apses at the rear. Lateral branches are reduced; they are much shorter than the front one, and give an impression of a transept rather than cruciform branches, as in other churches of the group. The upper part of the walls give no evidence of neither vaults nor a dome.
Differently from the typological unity of the paleochristian and early mediaeval Istrian memoriae, those in Dalmatia show significant variability of the theme, already noticeable at the physiognomy of the earlier examples. For instance, the small baptistery in Baška on the island of Krk is an orderly cruciform building with relatively short branches and unarticulated flat walls, similar to Pula baptistery. The ground plan of St. Martin’s on the island of Cres is considerably different. It was a considerably larger building, probably in a memorial function related to a nearby villa rustica. It also has the rectangular extension in front of the apse, like St. Clement’s at Pula. Its walls show no traces of vaulted constructions. In a later phase, it was probably used as a parish church, like some examples of Dalmatian triconchal churches. A particular articulation of the walls, different from all of the Istrian and Dalmatian
cruciform memoriae, was that of St. Cyprian’s chapel at Gata. Its short branches are rectangular on the outside, while on the inside they have inscribed round apses. Therefore, the outer surfaces have narrow round niches as relief of the thickened angles. Memory of the Holy Cross at Nin also has a round apse inscribed in the rectangular body of its rear branch. However, it is flanked by two smaller protruding apses, i.e. three in total. Other branches are vaulted with a half-dome on angular squinches that are also constructed below the drum with the dome inside. Ivo Petricioli has long ago suggested that its proportions indicate influences of the early mediaeval Byzantine architecture. This is further corroborated by its outer surfaces articulated with shallow niches. These features do not appear in Carolingian architecture, so it seems that the Holy Cross should be dated into the 10th or the 11th century. It also should be related to
the influences from nearby Zadar - contemporary capitol of the Byzantine Theme of Dalmatia - with the church of St. Vitus whose features, both general form and details, are of the same type of the building. Furthermore, they should be compared with the chapel of St. Donatus at Kornić on Krk Island. This small church is of apparently different ground
plan, but one could still consider it a cruciform type. Its front and rear branches are rectangular, and there are indications that the rear branch had a round apse inscribed, similarly to the memory of the Holy Cross at Nin. However, its lateral branches are relatively small round apses, protruding from the sides of the chapel. Among them, there is a relatively
spacious central section with the dome constructed on the squinches. Miljenko Jurković has plausibly dated the church in 12th century, while I believe that it confirms the continuity of the paleochristian cruciform type of the Christian memory in Istria and Dalmatia from Late Antiquity to the
Romanesque period. This is proven by some contemporary constructions, such as the chapel of an unknown title at Crkvina near Kašić, near Biljani Donji, that has also been dated in Romanesque period.
In spite of some individual differences all of the memoriae compared in this paper, both groups are assembled by numerousness and similarities of both cruciform plans and funerary functions. Also, the influence of Adriatic Byzantine centres, particularly that of Ravenna, Pula and Zadar, is noticeable in formation of the regional characteristics of memorial architecture in the cultural ambiance of Istria and Dalmatia, within the context of long-lasting continuity of its forms and functions, from Late Antiquity to Romanesque period.

Ključne riječi
cruciform; chapel; memoriae; apse; squinch; drum; dome

Hrčak ID: 112024



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