Oter AHAS 9angl


Architectural sculpture of the former Cistercian church at Kostanjevica on the Krka. Its typology and its place in the Central European context

The Cistercian monastery of Fons beatae virginis Mariae at Kostanjevica (Landstrass) on the Krka river in Lower Carniola was founded in 1234 by Bernard II of Spanheim. The monastery church, built around the mid-13th century, was completely reworked and turned to Baroque style in the second quarter of the 18th century, and after the monastery was suppressed in 1786, it was left to decay. In the 1920s extensive conservation works were carried out in the church, which recovered original architectural sculpture from under the Baroque plaster. In the present paper this sculpture is discussed typologically and comparatively.

Sixty-two capitals and three brackets survive in situ in the former monastery church, whereas twenty capitals, one boss and several other pieces are kept in the lapidarium of the Gallery of Božidar Jakac housed in the former monastery. The only attempt at systematization of the materials preserved was done by Jože Gregorič in his article 'Srednjeveška cerkvena arhitektura v Sloveniji do leta 1430' (Zbornik za umetnostno zgodovino, n. s. 1, Ljubljana 1951, pp. 8–11, with French summary: L'architecture religieuse en Slovénie jusqu'à 1430). As it has been established now, his typology is applicable only partly, because only part of the surviving materials can be classified according to it, and, furthermore, the terminology also seems to be problematic. In order to give as comprehensive a survey as possible of the Kostanjevica architectural sculpture, the author proposes a new typology in the present paper. According to this typology, the materials preserved can be divided, with regard to the type of ornaments, into six groups as follows: chalice-cubic capitals with stylized corner leaves; crocket capitals; capitals with a combination of geometric and organic ornaments; capitals with organic ornaments; capitals encircled with foliage wreath; and figural capitals. The main body of the capitals of groups two to six is chalice-shaped.

Most of the analyses hitherto have seen connectedness of the discussed architectural sculpture only with the Hungarian artistic milieu. As the present research has shown, only part of the surviving materials can be linked with Hungary, since influences of St. Michael's church in Vienna can also be traced. As concerns the pieces of the highest quality of the Kostanjevica architectural sculpture, it has not been possible to find any models for or parallels with them in the Central European space. Therefore, it will be necessary for future researches to consider also the possibility of direct connections with France.