The oldest dated roof structure in Transylvania and some 14th-century frescoes at Magyarvista

The oldest dated roof structure in Transylvania and some 14th-century frescoes at Magyarvista

A push meeting was devoted to the church of Magyarvista (Viștea, Romania) at the László Teleki Foundation, to announce the final result of new investigations inside of the medieval church of the village. The following overview is published on the foundation of the press release. The Calvinist church of Magyarvista in Cluj County is one of the most well known medieval monuments in Transylvania and the location of Kalotaszeg. The stone-built, solitary-nave, sq.-apsed making with a Romanesque western doorway was most likely designed at the conclusion of the 13th century. The first documentary point out of the village dates again to 1229, and in 1291 it grew to become the home of the Transylvanian bishopric as a royal donation. The church is richly embellished with painted woodwork, the excellent features of which are the transformed late Gothic priest’s chair, the coffered ceiling above the nave supported by a beam and a wood column, the pews, the doorways of the south and west entrances, the altar, the pulpit, and the pulpit crown. An 18th-century belfry rises up coming to the making, the oldest bell in it dating from 1487, from the time of Matthias. Throughout the previous 12 months the exterior masonry of the church has been strengthened, plastered and the roof structure repaired, as has the belfry.

The building’s concealed treasures had been highlighted by many investigation findings: in 1913, István Gróh documented in watercolor copies 10 scenes of mural paintings found in the nave (they could not be restored and displayed at the time), and in 1935, semicircular foundation partitions have been observed inside the demolished sacristy, which may perhaps be aspect of a demolished medieval spherical church. One of the scenes copied by Gróh was identified in 2008 on the south wall of the nave, and following to it, on two sides of the south-east corner, two associated, earlier unidentified scenes had been disclosed: a three-figure Crucifixion and an picture of St Longinus with an attendant. The wall painting on the south wall, depicting a storm-tossed ship of pilgrims, dates from all over 1400, when the photos in the corner date from the early 14th century. It has also been discovered that the painting of the corner was at first positioned underneath a canopy and fashioned the decoration of an altar there – there are pretty several equivalent canopied altarpieces from medieval Hungary.

In 2022, with the assist of the László Teleki Basis, the uncovery of the mural paintings in the semicircular triumphal arch continued, and art historical research was also carried out. In this context, it was prompt that the intriguing stone frame of the southern entrance and the square sanctuary are not Romanesque but late Gothic, as confirmed by some analogies of the body of the vestry doorway, and that the ribbed vault with the 1498 inscription on the keystone of the sanctuary is not the outcome of a later intervention, but this full structure was, in point, built at that time. 

The excavation of the mural exposed a scene of the Annunciation on the jap wall previously mentioned the triumphal arch: on the still left, a fragmentary figure of the Archangel Gabriel and the Lord, and on the appropriate, a small element of the standing determine of Mary can be discerned. The Annunciation, arranged on the correct and remaining sides of the triumphal arch, has numerous international and regional analogies: Palermo, Cappella Palatina, Reichenau-Oberzell, St. George’s Church, Padua, Scrovegni Chapel, Karaszkó, Disznajó, etc. The scene belongs to the plaster layer of the early 14th century.

The exploration on the inside of of the triumphal arch was also a surprise: the higher fragment of the figure of the Maiestas Domini, set in a mandorla in the heart, was preserved: its continuation was on the vault of the demolished authentic sanctuary, which was a lot lesser than the a single we have currently. Hence, the fragment of the mural also proves that the present sanctuary is secondary as opposed to the nave. The figure of Christ was accompanied by the symbols of the four evangelists, two of whom, the eagle (John) and probably the angel (Matthew), the latter keeping an open ebook, partly survive. The book’s minuscule inscription is partly legible and contains a line from John’s Revelation.  The painting continued on the aspect wall with the gallery of the apostles, of which 2-3 figures have been preserved, among them St Andrew can be identified from the X-formed cross. 

Stylistically, the mural paintings of the triumphal arch are in a type perfectly recognized in Transylvania, typically called Italo-Byzantine without the need of distinction. Analogies show up in a lot of other locations: Csíkszentimre, Felvinc, Boroskrakkó, Szék, Ördöngösfüzes, and so forth. Although this breathtaking fashion is referred to as Italo-Byzantine by some students, since of its popular use it is additional suitable to converse of a Central European Gothic inclination utilizing the Italian tradition of the Duecento interval. The exact dating of the wall paintings of this group is (was) problematic, as no historic data, inscriptions or other information and facts of any variety was offered for any of the structures, so the relationship of the monuments oscillated in the literature from the 1310s to the 1340s. For this rationale, the restorer’s observation that the plaster of the fresco was in speak to with the ceiling and, by way of it, the roof, was of distinct relevance. Dendrochronological evaluation of the wooden aspects of the ceiling can ideally be used to day the mural with once-a-year (or even seasonal) precision, which can provide a write-up quem (afterwards than …) day for the mural. With the support of the László Teleki Basis, this pretty critical examine was carried out, which exposed that one of the trees of the composition, which can be dated precisely, was slice in the wintertime of 1329-30 so that the construction of the framework could have taken position as early as 1330, and the wall paintings are not able to be earlier than that. This day applies to the central beam supporting the picket ceiling as well as the wood pier in the centre of the nave. Some components of the authentic roof composition also day from this period. This details places a secure dating to the Magyarvista wall paintings, and also to the whole circle of monuments

The dendrochronological investigation was carried out in the autumn of 2022 by the Anno Domini Dendrolab crew from Csíkszereda, on the initiative of the wall portray restorers and artwork historians who were studying in the church. The examine and subsequent laboratory examination proved that the longitudinal central beam and the carved column supporting it in the nave day back to the 14th century, from the decades 1329-30. The ring evaluation of the beams created into the stone gable walls and of some factors of the present mid-17th century roof structure also indicated that the nave by itself and its previously roof composition had been built at this time. In this situation, the dating is year-unique, with oak felled in the winter season of 1329/1330 currently being employed for the former roof structure.

The dendrochronological study reveals that the picket roof of the nave and the previous roof framework of the church in Magyarvista, as nicely as the column and the learn beam supporting them, had been constructed in 1330, creating it the oldest surviving roof and slab structure in Transylvania, according to our present expertise. The 14th-century roof composition can most possibly be reconstructed on the foundation of elements reused from the before structure when the current roof was crafted, but even further field exploration and measurements are necessary. 

This discovery of specific significance encourages further more investigate into wall portray, dendrochronology, archaeology, and artwork background, which we hope will get location in 2023. With any luck ,, we will even now get to see a person day the fresco decoration of the church of Magyarvista.

Investigate and restoration of Magyarvista were being completed by Lóránd Kiss, Zsolt Sólyom, Melinda Filep, Janka Melinda Oláh, Károly Sipos (wall painting restoration, Imago Picta, Târgu Mures), Boglárka Tóth, István Botár, Denis Walgraffe (dendrochronology, Anno Domini Dendrolab, Csíkszereda), Attila Weisz (artwork background). Textual content by Loránd Kiss, Boglárka Tóth, Attila Weisz. Photos courtesy of Attila Weisz.