Artibus et Historiae no. 79 (XL)

2019, ISSN 0391-9064

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RAFAŁ QUIRINI-POPŁAWSKI - On the Adriatic-Hungarian Origins of the Style of Capitals in the Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec (pp. 23–43)

The Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec, which now lies within the administrative borders of Cracow, was founded in all likelihood in 1044, and the abbey church of Sts Peter and Paul was probably erected between 1090 and 1100. Among the remains of the abbey one finds a set of twin capitals as well as nine halves of such capitals with floral and interlace ornaments, decorated, to a lesser degree, also with geometrical and animal motifs. Their original function and location within the abbey (church? monastery?) remains unexplained.

Up until now, there prevailed a conviction that the a stampella type capitals from S. Tommaso monastery in Genoa and a capital from Prague Cathedral bore closest resemblance to the style of the capitals in the Tyniec abbey. Yet many features of the Tyniec capitals find their immediate counterparts in the Hungarian sculpture from the period of the 1060s (Szekszárd, Visegrád and Zselicszentjakab) to the mid-twelfth century (Somogyvár, Óbuda and Pécs), and many elements of the Hungarian sculptural decoration, in turn, derive from contemporary sculpture of the Veneto-Adriatic region. There are also numerous similarities between the architecture of the Tyniec church and many Hungarian Benedictine churches (in Somogyvár, Sárvármonostor and Dombó) which exhibit decorative elements that are similar to the Tyniec capitals. Yet the links between the Tyniec capitals and the Hungarian works boil down to purely typological similarities which are not sufficient to suggest any workshop ties between them. Artistic connections of Lesser Poland with Hungary in the eleventh and twelfth centuries are quite understandable, yet bearing in mind the orientation of the contemporary Hungarian art, we may speak of an indirect influence of the Veneto-Adriatic style on the Tyniec capitals. The dating of the church and of the comparative Hungarian examples suggests that the capitals in question may have been executed in the first half of the twelfth century.

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