Ernő Marosi
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The cathedral “Esztergom II”. The construction of the St. Adalbert’s Cathedral in the twelfth century with an Excurse: To the chronology of the Early Gothic in the middle of the Kingdom as witneßsed by the Cistercian Abbey of Kerc (Cǎrţa, Kerz, RO), Transylvania. Among at least 4 construction periods of the medieval Cathedral (not counting additional buildings) the second building cannot be dated by written sources and is only witnessed by its High Romanesque and Early Gothic stone sculpture. As in the late seventeenth and in the eighteenth century stone elements from the ruins of the Cistercian Abbey of Pilis were used as building material in Esztergom and later also medieval stone sculptures from the region (mainly from the provostry in Dömös) entered in the collection of the Esztergom Castle. The distinction among these related monuments has in recent times also determined our concept of reconstruction of the Esztergom Cathedral. This reconstruction can be based on a few authentic landscapes, on a series of surveys drawn by military engineers and a description of the ruins before their final demolition. The early book by J. B. Máthes (1827) also contains a detailed ground plan of the St. Adalbert Church – a survey drawing from the early eighteenth century with possible traces of an ideal reconstruction. In recent times more efforts were spent to hypotheses concerning the building I of St. Adalbert’s than to the second construction, the ruins of which were still standing by the middle of the eighteenth century. It was a basilical building originally with an apse (rebuilt as a polygonal choir in the fourteenth century) between two towers in the East. The levels of the oriental part of the church are well documented: as the canons’ choir in the 3 east bays of the nave was elevated by 2 steps over the aisles, the choir square with the main apse was higher than the chorus minor. As the altar of the Virgin Mary in front of the choir was dedicated in 1156, the eastern parts of the building together with several parts of the nave can be dated about this time. The sculptures belonging to this building are classicizing (Corinthian and composite) capitals, partly with figurative elements, going back to figurative capitals from Dömös and related to classicizing details from the construction of the first half of the twelfth century of the royal priory in Óbuda. It seems that the capitals have belonged to a construction both with composed piers and with columns – perhaps in a form of alternation. The nave was not vaulted until the fourteenth century, but vaulting in choir and also in the aisles seems probable. The western part of the nave was built with cross-shaped piers observed by an eighteenth century witness of the ruins. Capitals with acanthus leaves and also with elements of chapiteaux à crochet appear as typical elements of this style also present in the inferior room of the annex to the donjon of the royal Palace, which was built presumably in the 1180’s. The role of North-Italian (magistri campionesi and also Antelami) models in the transmission of stylistic elements of French Early Gothic mixed with Italian traditions has received a strong accent mainly in the art-historical literature of the last decades. The author indicates a very strong analogy of this orientation in Esztergom with the late twelfth century reconstruction of the Salzburg Cathedral of Archbishop Konrad III, the crypt of which was dedicated in 1219. The use of local red marbles – together with the polychromy of different stones – on a series of decorative works following the models of the Salzburg Cathedral in the first half of the thirteenth century is comparable to Esztergom. Recent research – supported both by analysis of sources, technical observations and also geological investigation – have proved that large surfaces of the Esztergom Cathedral were covered with red limestone plates, for obtaining a noble effect. The supposed chronology of Esztergom can be supported by a new chronology of the Transylvanian Cistercian Abbey of Kerc, where the earliest parts of the building seem to correspond to models in Esztergom and Pilisszentkereszt about the hypothetical foundation year 1202. The relationship of this workshop to the central region of the country found its continuation about 1220 as on Kerc monastery appear influences of later works of the same circle (Óbuda, royal palace, cathedral Kalocsa II) and elements of the South German Early Gothic (Magdeburg, Walkenried, Maulbronn) as well. The parish church in Szászsebes (Mühlbach, Sebeş, RO) can be considered as a parallel to Kerc Abbey. Among local followers of Kerc, in Brassó (St. Barthelemys’ Kronstadt, Braş ov, RO), and Halmágy (Holmwegen, Halmăgiu, RO) can be identified decorative and also figurative forms originating from Salzburg, maybe through the intermediary of Kalocsa. It seems, that up to the first third of the thirteenth century the model of Kerc is still valid for provincialized followers as Prázsmár (Tartlau, Prejmer, RO) and Szék (Sic, RO). The latest phase of its influence shows a modernisation following the cathedral of Gyulafehérvár (Weiβenburg, Karlsstadt, Alba Iulia, RO).

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