Časopis ARS 52 (2019) 1

Peter Megyeši - Lenka Megyeši Ďurčeková

Mundus Symbolicus: Emblémy v Kostole Nanebovzatia Panny Márie v Ľubici


The Parish Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Ľubica, Spiš region, is known mainly for its medieval architecture. Less attention has been paid to its modern interior and furnishings, which arose during alterations in the second half of the 18th century. Changes in the Gothic interior also affected the choir stalls from 1511 located on the sides of the presbytery, which were transformed into a rococo style: paintings in rectangular, illusive gilded frames were painted on the high backrests above each seat. Seven paintings were made on the backrest of the south choir stalls, and eight on the opposite backrests of the north. Paintings on the wood are accompanied by inscription strips with Latin mottos. The current state of paintings is making the readability of some scenes more difficult, especially details and inscriptions. Above each framed picture there is a Latin text, which is meaningful to the representation below. The combination of a symbolic picture (pictura) and a short text (motto) makes it clear that we can recognize emblematics in these fifteen paintings, an art genre on the border between literature and fine arts, which was extremely popular and widespread at the time of the origin of these paintings. Thirteen emblems from the church in Ľubica come from the book Mundus Symbolicus by Filippo Picinelli (1604 – 1667), which is a significant and monumental work important for the knowledge of the visual culture of the 17th and 18th centuries. The most extensive emblematic encyclopaedia was first published in Italian language (Mondo simbolico) in 1653 in Milan and in 1681 in Cologne in Latin translation, followed by other editions. In the 18th century, the file was widely spread in Hungary and its reception has been confirmed in the teachings of emblematics in Trnava and in the period sermons of István Illyés. Recent research has shown that the Mundus Symbolicus emblem also appears in the work of Levoča’s goldsmith Ján Siláši (1704 – 1782). The presumed author of the iconographic program in the presbytery of the church in Ľubica is the local pastor, the Polish Piarist Jan Wiśniewski, who in 1764 also hired an unknown master to paint the murals in the church. The identification of the book, which had been the basis for the painted emblems in the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Ľubica and the clarification of their meanings, is yet another contribution to the progressive clarification of the period reception and usage of emblems during the Baroque period in the territory of today´s Slovakia.