Research ordered by the Monuments Board in Trenčín at St Elisabeth’s Church in Beluša in the Púchov district has uncovered a series of rare 17th century Renaissance frescoes. According to preservationists and historians, this unique discovery in the Považie (Váh River) region, could turn out to be the first of its kind ever found in Slovakia. Perhaps the most notable element in the find is ornamental painting dating from 1631 that decorates the entire dome of the church. The work consists of ornamental geometrical patterns containing plant motifs painted with authentic fresco technique. Through the centuries the frescoes had been painted over a number to times, the last being in 1940.
“The original idea here was to restore the church according to the plan of 1940,” said Marek Kotlárik, the administrator of Beluša parish. “After the original frescoes were discovered that plan was pushed aside and the historical preservation of the Renaissance decoration took precedence along with the retention of the sacred character of the church.”
“Apart from the paintings, silhouettes of angels with wings were also found in the patterns,” conservator Marián Keleši told the TASR newswire, adding that each day of research has brought new findings. One startling discovery was a painting representing God’s Eye. Near the main altar, a well-preserved tabernacle was found, which was once walled up but now has been opened as part of the presbytery.
Mária Ružôňová of the Monuments’ Board in Trenčín said that the discovery is unique in that there is no original Renaissance decoration of a church’s interior in the entire region. “Similar paintings can be found in Orava Castle and in the wedding mansion in Bytča. Whether the Beluša decoration is unique in all of Slovakia only can be determined after the conservation research is completed,” she added.
The Beluša church was built in 1570, close to St Anna’s chapel from the 13th century.