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Stolen sculpture recovered


A BAROQUE sculpture stolen from the central Slovak town of Banská Štiavnica turned up on a list of works being auctioned by the Soga auction house, the Sme daily wrote. The sculpture, along with around 20 others, was stolen from the town's Calvary complex between 1996 and 1998.

It had a starting price at the auction of Sk150,000 (€4,440).

According to Petra Babulicová from the Regional Police in Banská Bystrica, the sculpture has been recovered and will be returned to the church in Banská Štiavnica after the investigation is complete. A resident of the town has already filed charges against an unknown suspect, whose prosecution is currently underway.

"A precise database of stolen art works would be very helpful in such cases," Soga executive director Ján Abelovský told the daily. "So far, there's not even an institution that could create one, and update it."

Therefore, it is difficult to trace the origin of artworks in Slovakia. "The seller signs a sworn statement that they obtained the art legally, but sometimes that's an insufficient guarantee," Abelovský said.

A database of stolen art exists in Hungary, and has proved a great asset to antique sellers.

Soga acquired the sculpture from a private seller, who, Abelovský said, probably never knew it was stolen art. Its author is unknown, but the sculpture may come from the workshop of prominent Baroque sculptor Dionysius Stanetti.

The Baroque Calvary in Banská Štiavnica, a town inscribed on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List, is considered to be the country's most historically significant.

The site lies on the edge of town and is not protected by a fence.



Festival revives national history


NITRA will pay tribute to the leading personalities of the Great Moravian Empire during Nitra, Dear Nitra, a three-day festival that starts on July 3. It will consist of the Festivities of Pribina (the prince of Nitra principality, who built the first-known church in what is now Slovakia), the Festivities of Cyril and Methodius (the first apostles of the Slavic world) and the Days of People of Good Will.

One of the biggest attractions this year will be the opening of the Diocese Museum at Nitra Castle. "This will be the first Catholic museum in Slovakia," Nitra Bishop Viliam Judák told the press on June 22. "We will display literary artifacts related to our Catholic and national history, and some artifacts from the cathedral's treasury."

The diocese will open the first part of the museum on July 5. The second part should open next year.

The treasury holds golden and silver chalices, crosses, monstrances, reliquaries, rings, paintings and other items from the 17-19th centuries that have been closed to the public for years. The exhibits also include centuries-old texts, such as the 11th-century Codex Nitriensis, among others.

The festival's programme features performances by folk ensemble Lúčnica, singer Lucie Bílá, singer/songwriter Miro Žbirka, and Gladiator. There will also be a market of traditional handicraftsmen and a beer fest. The traditional pilgrimage will take place at the castle on July 5. A performance of Svätopluk, rex megale Morabia will be the peak of the festivities. A fireworks display will cap the event.


By Jana Liptáková

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