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Rare relief restored

A BAROQUE relief of the Virgin Mary under the cross from Banská Štiavnica Calvary hill is now on display in the town's Church of St. Katharine after almost two years of restoration.
The restoration of the relief, which is one of the most significant Calvary reliefs in Europe, was recently restored by the Local Restoration Workshop in Bratislava (ORA), a part of the Monument Board of Slovakia. The complete installation of the work in the Banská Štiavnica church should be completed by the end of August, the Monument Board's spokersperson, Karol Vlk, said.


VIRGIN Mary under the cross.
photo: Juraj Müller

A BAROQUE relief of the Virgin Mary under the cross from Banská Štiavnica Calvary hill is now on display in the town's Church of St. Katharine after almost two years of restoration.

The restoration of the relief, which is one of the most significant Calvary reliefs in Europe, was recently restored by the Local Restoration Workshop in Bratislava (ORA), a part of the Monument Board of Slovakia. The complete installation of the work in the Banská Štiavnica church should be completed by the end of August, the Monument Board's spokersperson, Karol Vlk, said.

"The relief is from the chapel of the same name, which is one of the stops on a path leading from the Lower Church [at the base the hill] to the Upper Church at the top of the steep Calvary hill. It has been placed at the church only temporarily, as the whole complex is going to be reconstructed," Vlk said.

Built between 1744 and 1751 by Jesuit priests, the complex of buildings on Calvary hill in Banská Štiavnica is considered to be the most significant collection of late-Baroque buildings in Slovakia. The 23 chapels and associated sanctuaries built on the side of the hill feature some of the finest polychrome wooden reliefs in Europe.

According to the conservationists, the buildings are in desperate need of structural stabilisation and conservation of their reliefs is also needed. The American Samuel H. Kress Foundation, which devotes its resources to monumental restorations, mainly in central and eastern Europe, funded the restoration of the first relief.

A project to stabilise and restore the whole Calvary complex is under preparation. To stabilise a smaller chapel and conserve its interior decoration would cost around €1,800 and €5,300, respectively. However, the conservationists are not able to estimate how much the whole restoration will cost.

"At the moment, the Calvary is enjoying the entire attention of the town's restoration, which is on UNESCO's World's Heritage List," said Zuzana Benčeková, the head of ORA.

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