Saturday, December 18, 2010

The exquisite Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Ljubljana

The Church of Saint Nicholas - Ljubljana, Slovenia
 Dashing off Castle hill to get as far away from Ljubljana Castle as fast as possible, in fierce need of something to marvel at, Draga and I slam into the banana yogurt yellow wall of an enormous cathedral. It’s the famous Church of Saint Nicholas. I’m comforted at once. Nicholas is after all the patron saint of fishermen and sailors, and I am one. A sailor I mean.

Nicholas Church, Ljubljana - Bronze door in southern facade
 The Church of Saint Nicholas was built in the early 18th century, although bits and pieces were added over the years. The dome, for instance, wasn’t put up until 1841, and the impressive bronze doors were installed as late as 1996 but that was because of the visit of Pope John Paul II to Ljubljana on May 18, 1996.

 That the church of Saint Nicholas has a distinct Italian feel to it is not so strange. The original design was made by Andrea Pozzo, an architect from Rome, who based it on existing churches in his home town.

Nicholas Church, Ljubljana - Western or Main door; detail
 The door in the South façade of the church was created by local artist Mirsad Begic. It portraits the deceased Christ from whose body rise six bishops of Ljubljana. A crowned Madonna with Child is depicted in the upper right corner.

The main door, in the western wall, was made by Tone Demsar. It shows the history of 12 centuries of Christianity in Slovenia.

The Annunciation of Mary by Giulo Quaglio
 The frescoes inside the church of Saint Nicholas were created by Giulio Quaglio and Matevz Langus. Giulio Quaglio also painted the fresco on the soutern wall, depicting the annunciation of Mary. On the east wall is another fresco, but it’s unclear who created it or what is shows. The only reference to this piece that I could find occurs in The Bradt Travel Guide, 2005, reprinted in 2008 by Robin and Jenny McKelvie.

The Angel's Proclamation of Zahriah Wolf by Janez Wolf (?)
 According to the McKelvies this fresco was done by Janez Wolf and is called The Angel’s Proclamation of Zahriah Wolf. That artist and model have the same last name may be a cute coincedence, but who Zahriah Wolf might be is a mystery. The Internet’s never heard of Zahriah Wolf, and is also very silent about a connection between the painter Janez Wolf and the Church of Saint Nicholas, or even Stolnica Svetega Nikolaja, as the building is known as in Slovenian.

Copy of a 15th century Pieta - Church of St. Nicholas, Ljubljana
  Also on the south wall is a beautiful copy of a 15th century pieta, a sculpture depicting Mary with the deceased Christ. Another, younger, pieta can be found inside the church.

Interior of the Church of Saint Nicholas - Ljubljana, Slovenia
 The Cathedral of St. Nicholas is located at Dolničarjeva 1

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post! It was really helpful.

    I just got back from South Central Europe and was writing my own post about the doors in Ljubljana and found the information on your blog very helpful in writing my post.

    Thanks again!


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