Spectacular Cycle of Medieval Frescoes uncovered at Visk

Spectacular Cycle of Medieval Frescoes uncovered at Visk

Spectacular Cycle of Medieval Frescoes uncovered at Visk
At a push meeting on Oct 30th, 2019, the Teleki László Basis offered the early 15th-century fresco cycle uncovered in the Calvinist church at Visk (Vyshkovo, Ukraine). The wall paintings – which experienced been identified in 2001 and partially revealed in 2012 – were being uncovered with the assistance of the Rómer Flóris System. This is a Hungarian government software released in 2015 and aimed at preserving features of Hungarian cultural heritage across the borders. The wall paintings of Visk were being offered to the push by Prof. Ernő Marosi, restorer József Lángi, and myself (Zsombor Jékely). 

Visk is situated in the Zakarpattia Oblast location of Ukraine – and spot which was part of the Kingdom of Hungary until eventually 1918. The medieval church at Visk was designed in the initially 3rd of the 14th century and is a uncomplicated Gothic edifice with a rectangular nave and a polygonal sanctuary. The city alone was a single of the 5 royal settlements in Máramaros county, an location recognized for its salt mines. Practically nothing continues to be currently of the medieval castle after guarding the settlement. Considering that the mid-16th-century, the population of Visk experienced converted to Calvinism, which led to the reconfiguration of the medieval church as nicely. In 1717, the town was burned down in the course of the final raid of the Crimean Tatars into Hungary. When the church was rebuilt, the medieval frescoes were being no extended obvious – they ended up eventually coated by wealthy decorative paintings executed in 1789.
Push conference with Ernő Marosi, József Lángi and Zsombor Jékely (picture: Magyar Kurír)

The medieval wall paintings of the church have been preserved in the sanctuary. Their existence experienced been recognised for some time, and their existence underneath later layers of plaster was recognized in 2001. Numerous facts had been uncovered by restorer József Lángi in 2012, which led to a approach for their finish recovery. When the group of the church was also convinced of the value of these frescoes, work could commence with the help of the Rómer Flóris Program. In September – Oct 2019, the whole surface of the sanctuary wall has been cleaned and wall paintings have been uncovered on the northern and southern wall of the sanctuary, as well as all around the eastern home windows.

Passion cycle on the northern wall of the sanctuary

The ensemble recovered by József Lángi is fragmentary: a large Late Gothic window opened in the southern wall wrecked a significant portion of the wall paintings. The vaults collapsed (most very likely in 1717) and had been replaced by a flat ceiling – as a result a extremely essential element of the former ensemble is missing. A 19th-century gallery mounted in the sanctuary for an organ induced even more destruction. In spite of all this, a remarkably full cycle of wall paintings has occur to light. The northern and southern wall of the sanctuary was embellished with a detailed Christological cycle, narrating the story of Christ from the Annunciation by the Passion all the way to the dying and Coronation of the Virgin Mary. 

Massacre of the Innocents
The cycle was arranged in four registers in a wrap-around pattern (so operating remaining to correct on the northern wall, continuing on the southern wall, then jumping back to the northern wall and so on). A lot of of the scene endure reasonably intact, like monumental compositions of the Massacre of the Innocents and the Entry into Jerusalem, as perfectly as numerous episodes from the Passion of Christ. Although there is a great deal of problems to the cycle, and the fireplace of 1717 changed the coloring of the paintings, the electrical power of the storytelling is nevertheless distinct to see now. Remarkable and expressive scenes – these as the Arrest of Christ or the scene of Christ being nailed to the cross – include to the richness of the narrative. On the eastern walls, in the areas involving the home windows, a gallery of saints was painted in a number of rows. Most of them seem to be female martyr saints: Catherine, Barbara, and Margaret can be discovered now.

The floor of the wall paintings however requires to be cleaned and they will need to be restored – a undertaking which can ideally be finished all through the upcoming two decades. In the meantime, we can by now establish that the fresco cycle was painted for the duration of the second portion of the reign of King Sigismund (1387-1437) – most probable in the 1420s. No other is effective are regarded by the same workshop in the Higher Tisza Valley, so the discovery of these frescoes is a significant addition to our understanding about medieval portray in north-eastern Hungary. Artwork historical analysis on the fresco cycle will start in the in close proximity to foreseeable future, and hopefully, original outcomes will be revealed before long.


You can browse much more about the push conference (in Hungarian) in this overview by Magyar Kurír. To master far more about the medieval churches of the area, have a search at the web page of the Route of Medieval Church buildings. Shots in the put up are by Attila Mudrák.