The Renaissance in Slovakia
The Slovak Republic - our
• The Slovak Republic is situated in the heart of Europe.
• Slovakia is surrounded by Poland, Hungary, the Czech
Republic and Ukraine.
The capital city is Bratislava. It is situated in the southwestern part of Slovakia.
Slovakia is populated by more than 5,4 million
The official language of our country is the Slovak
Our national currency is the Euro.
History of Slovakia
The Slovak territory has been settled very early. The first tribes that settled down in this area were the Celts and Dacians.
In the fist century A. D. the Germanic tribes came to the territory of Slovakia.
In the 6th century in the era of Migration of People the Slavic tribes started to settle down.
Since the 8th century the territory of Slovakia became the part of the Great Moravia Empire.
Later, mainly in the 10th century the Slovak territory started to be governed by the Magyars.
(the Old Hungarians) and from the 11th century until 1918 it became the part of Hungarian Kingdom.
In 1918 the first Czechoslovak Republic was established.
Shortly before the World War II. Slovakia was granted an autonomy within Czechoslovakia and in 1939 an independent
Slovakia , under control of the Hitler´s Germany was declared .
In 1945 Slovakia became the part of Czechoslovakia again.
In 1948 the communist party of Czechoslovakia came to power and governed the country under the Soviet Union control till
November 1989 .
In spring 1968 there was an attempt initiated by the Communist party to reform the Soviet system. The idea and hope were
over rolled by the invasion of the Soviet army as well as armies of other four Warsaw Pact countries. A strictly pro-Soviet
government was installed.
In 1989 the pro-democratic movement started in Eastern Europe. The Fall of the Berlin Wall influenced the political system
in Czechoslovakia as well.
In November 1989 „ The Velvet Revolution“ started a new stage - a parliamentary democracy - for the both federal republics
In 1993 Czechoslovakia was split into two independent countries – the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic.
The Renaissance
in general
The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
The term Renaissance means a rebirth or revival. It comes from the French
renaître (to be born again) and the Italian Rinascimento (rebirth).
This cultural movement started in Italy, in the city of Florence, in the 13th
century. To Central Europe it came later- in the 15th century.
A prominent position in this period was hold by Humanism. Humanist´s
new ideal was education, so many new types of school were established.
Ideas of the Renaissance and Humanism were spread by pilgrims and
students who came to Italian cities.
The Renaissance meant a return to the Roman and Greek Antiquity.
Terrestrial man was recognised, life on Earth was celebrated and reason
won over the backwardness of the Church.
This new epoch was associated with the increasing role of the townspeople.
One of the basic features of the Renaissance is the individualism- an
interest of human´s life.
The architecture of the Renaissance was different from the Gothic style.
Chateaux, palaces and city houses were built. Buildings were low,
horizontal division of building was emphasised. Windows and doors had
square and rectangular shapes.
In art, especially in painting , Greek art had a major influence. The beauty
of the human body was discovered, based on harmonious body proportions.
The artists showed people in a truly way, they tried to catch their typical
The period of the Renaissance is
very closely bound with The
Age of Discovery – also called
The Age of Exploration
Long overseas voyages were
undertaken. Discoveries of new
lands extended the knowledge of
the world.
Discoveries in the natural
sciences and astronomy (the
heliocentric opinion) threatened
the Church´s authority.
The Renaissance
in Slovakia
 The ideas of Humanism and Renaissance spread
to Slovakia in the second half of the 15th century
thanks to the students who studied abroad (in
today´s Italy, Germany, Austria) and to the
reformation that spread from Germany.
 Matthias Corvinus with his wife Beatrix of Naples
were „the parents of the Renaissance“ in Slovakia
The Thurzo´s renaissance house in Levoča
 After 1526 the territory of southern Hungary was
occupied by Ottoman Sultan. Many of the wealthy
aristocrats, patrons of Renaissance architecture, were
killed in the battle of Mohacs. Hungary split into three
As Buda (the Hungarian capital)
was under Turkish occupation,
Pressburg (the former name of
Bratislava) was chosen to have
been its capital in 1536. Slovakia
was more or less a buffer zone
between the Turks and the
Habsburgs. The neighbourhood
with the Turks brought a lot of
suffering to inhabitants of the
border regions in general due to
time-to-time Turkish raids.
The unsteadiness of usual life
resulted in poor economic
activity. The Turkish threat
effected Slovakia for more than
150 years. This situation is
regarded as a negative influence
on the full spread of Renaissance
in the territory of Slovakia
The Slovak Renaissance
Public buildings and aristocratic
palaces were built. At the
beginning Gothic decorative
elements were replaced by
Renaissance, for example
portals, alcoves; an example is
the Town Hall in Bardejov
(completed in 1509). After fire
the Late Gothic Town hall in
Levoča was rebuilt in
Renaissance style. There are
arcades on the ground floor; on
the western facade there is a
loggia. The hall on the ground
floor is arched by a star-ribbed
The Town Hall in Bardejov
The main building scheme of the period was the construction of fortifications and
defensive fortresses against Turks. The defensive system was completed by
watchtowers, so called 'vartovky'.
Builders and building masters of northern Italy were invited.
Renaissance fortifications were built at Branč Castle by Nyári family, at Plavecký
Castle by Fugger family.
Luxury requirements as well as the necessity of defence led to the construction of
fortified mansions. The best known realization of such renaissance mansions are the
castle in Bytča (1574)and a nearby Wedding Palace(1601) . Notable is the complete
renaissance reconstruction of the originally medieval castle Červený Kameň.
Sgraffito and attics are typical renaissance features present on our territory.
The Wedding Palace in Bytča
The Town Hall in
The Town Hall of the city Bardejov
built in 1505, was the first
Renaissance building in Slovakia. It
is situated in the centre of the
square. The lower part was
originally built in the Gothic style,
while the upper part was finished
in the Renaissance style. The Town
Hall is listed by the European
Fund of Cultural Heritage
The castle Červený
In the 13th century a stone castle
was built. This castle was rebuilt in
the 16th century as a seat of the
Palffy´s family (baron Palffy was
the Supreme Commander of the
Hungarian army). Now it is one of
the nicest museums in the area of
Renaissance painting in Slovakia
Renaissance painting in Slovakia was influenced by the Italian origin of Beatrix of Naples- the
wife of the king Matthias Corvinus - and the humanistic intellectuals who came to the
Hungarian Kingdom from abroad.
Zachariáš Mošovský was one of the leading humanist scholars . He was the initiator of the
establishment of the Diocesan Library in Nitra. He was interested in history, he wrote
biographies of the Hungarian kings and the Bishops of Nitra.
Painting was created in support of architecture - particularly sgraffito decoration of the facades
of representative buildings, but also sometimes interior wall paintings, altar paintings and
Painted epitaphs or painted decoration of wooden 'cassette' ceilings formed a specific genre of
Renaissance painting.
The typical Renaissance paintings are painted epitaphs that showed a dead person kneeling in
front of the cross and after-death cataphalque portraits.
Portraits were very popular and became a starting point for the first family galleries.
The political situation was complicated by the Turkish raids and many artists had to leave.
Renaissance sculpture in Slovakia
 Since the first half of the 16th century.
 The centre of art production at this time was western
 Under the influence of the Reformation, the
production of altar sculpture gradually faded away
and sculptural art was refocused on tomb sculpture
for the aristocratic and ecclesiastical hierarchy.
 The Renaissance art of sculpture in Slovakia is
represented by the unique Roland’s Fountain in
Renaissance fashion in Slovakia
 Beatrica of Naples – wife of
Matthias Corvinus brought
to Slovakia elements of
Renaissance fashion - it was
recognized in the 15th and 16th
century. Their wedding took
place in Buda in 1476.Their
wedding robe became the
foundation of fashion in our
country. They called it
dressing in “Hungarian Style”.
Men´s clothes had an
indication of Turkish fashion.
 Clothes of peasant people: clothes of men
consisted of shirt, linen or cloth trousers with
slit, in the town background slim fit pantyhose.
Men wore simple coats up to knees with long
sleeves with collar or without, with button up
and thigh with belt with metal buckle.
 Women` s clothes – skirts with waist, to which
also bodice could be bound. Fashion of peasant
people was mostly Hungarian (out of AustroHungarian Empire) for which the most
characteristic was decorative work, using of
embroideries, decorative laces, buttons and
 In the 17th century men wore trousers. Women
wore shirts without sleeves and short shirt with
sleeves. The clothing was moulded with other
components – men shirts, waistcoat, women` s
aprons and bodices.
The Slovak Renaissance Literature
 The development of literature during this period was associated with the development of the school system.
 Humanist-oriented literary output appears in Slovakia in particular from the 1540s until the mid 17th
 The best known renaissance writers: Pavol Rubigal, Jakub Jakobeus, Michal Insitoris, Ján Silván, Ján
Sambucus, Martin Rakovský, Vavrinec Benedikt from Nedozery , Pavel Kyrmezer. Juraj Tesák Mošovsky
 The most valuable books: Prayers of Spis , City book of Žilina, New Songs on Seven Penitential Psalms
and Other Psalms by Ján Silván, Comedy Taken from the Book of the Law of God and the Word of Ruth
by Juraj Tesák Mošovský, The Tears, Sighs and Pleas of the Slovak Nation by Jakub Jakobeus, songs
about soldiers, fairy-tales.
 used languages: Latin, Czech and Slovak-Czech language
 basic topic: history (Turkish invasion)
The City book of Žilina- the oldest
and the most important book of
language and law
Vavrinec Benedikt Nedožerský
Education and
 Academia Istropolitana was the first University in the
Hungarian Kingdom and also in Slovakia. It was
established in 1465 by Matthias Corvinus. It did not last
long. It was closed down after the death of the ruler- in
1490, but it was the beginning of Humanism. We can
easily recognize the influence of Humanism in literature.
Beside of the Christian libraries also personal, or
individual libraries were created. We can also recognize
the interest in the ancient authors. In the second half of
the 16th century there were also letterpresses in Slovakia.
 After the closing of the University – Slovakia was
almost one and half centuries without University. In
1635 clergyman Pazman set up the University of
Trnava, which became under his leadership the leading
institution in the country in the area of education.
 Similar University was also created in Kosice in 1657.
 The level of education in other cities such as Presov,
Kezmarok, Bratislava was very high.
Peter Pazmany
 Renaissance in glee, enhancing of the meaning of the musical
Artistic music is set by the school and the church. Both of them are unified
by the teacher and cantor.
The main aim of the Latin school was not to bring up composer or
virtuoso, but first of the singer for the choir.
West Slovakia – Duomo of St. Martin in Bratislava, in Trnava – Church of
St. Nicolaus,
Middle Slovakia – Banska Bystrica, Banska Stiavnica, Kremnica and Zvolen
East Slovakia – Spisska Kapitula, Levoca, Kosice and Presov.
The real era of glee started in the time from 15th to 17th century.
It is mostly represented by organ.
Arrival of the Renaissance in Bratislava
Beatrix of Naples and Matthias
Humanism and Renaissance in Bratislava is associated with
Matthias Corvinus and his wife Beatrix of Naples.
She was an enthusiastic fan of the Humanism and the
Renaissance. Her arrival went together with many scholars who
came not only to Bratislava, but also to Hungarian Kingdom
During the reign of Matthias Corvinus Bratislava obtained the
Golden bull of King Matthias in 1464 (it confirmed its privileged
position ) and a new privilege of the sword.
Bratislava was also chosen for the seat of university - Universitas
Istropolitana was established in 1465. This university followed an
example of the university in Bologna. Bratislava became known in
the Europe.
The Renaissance as an artist expression arrived in Bratislava later,
many year´s after king´s death.
The Battle of Mohács in 1526 was disastrous for our country, but
Bratislava benefited from this complicated situation. The Turks
started to occupied Buda and Hungary had to find another seat
of the royal offices. Bratislava was a prosperous town, not very far
from Vienna and still saved from Turkish attacks. From 1536
Bratislava became the capital city of Hungarian Kingdom, the
seat of palatine, supreme judge, chancellor and since 1563 the
coronation city of Hungarian kings and queens.
The coronations took place until 1830, the first king crowned in
St. Martin´s Cathedral was Maximilian II. in 1563.
The Universitas
-founded in 1465 by the King Matthias
-the first University on the Slovak territory
-the University's 3irst chancellor was Juraj
Schomberg, the provost of Bratislava
-opened in 1467
-four faculties: the Faculty of Free Arts, the
Faculty of Theology, the Faculty of
Medicine and the Faculty of Philosophy
-well-known professors: Ján
Regiomontanus (Muller) from Kráľovec, a
famous astronomer and mathematician,
who taught at the Faculty of Arts , Ján
Bylica from Olkusz (Poland), a famous
astronomer, who taught at the Faculty of
Arts , theology was also taught by Vavrinec
from Krompachy , Mikuláš Schriecker de
Huttendorf, Angelus Rangon, a theologian
from Pern, Mathias Gruber, Aurel
Brandolini, an Italian humanist, and Jakub
-the end of the university is unclear, maybe
it was caused by the lack of funds , maybe
by the death of Matthias Corvinus in 1490
-nowadays it´s the seat of the Faculty of
Fine Arts
The outstanding figures of Universitas
Matthias Corvinus
Ján Regiomontanus Muller
The Maximilian´s fountain
(Roland´s fountain)
The oldest, but the nicest and the most
popular fountain in Bratislava.
It´s situated in the Main Square, in the
centre of our city.
It was built in 1572 by Andreas
Lutringer because of lack of a public
water source. The King Maximilian II
who was coronated as a first king in
Bratislava contributed to this fountain.
During his coronation celebration there
was a fire , many buildings were
completely destroyed and Bratislava
needed a public water source.
There are two opinions of the statueone says that the statue portrays the
King Maximilian II, other says that this
is a portrait of the knight Roland.
People also believe that this statue can
The Main Square with its fountain is
very popular among tourists.
The Old Town Hall
The Old Town Hall is one of the
most important building at the
Main Square. It was rebuilt for
several times.
In the second half of the 16th
century the tower of the Town hall
was rebuilt in the Renaissance
style. Six Renaissance windows
were put into the facade.
Renaissance arcades, added in 1581,
have been preserved up to now .
The interior of the Town hall was
rebuilt in the Renaissance style in
the 17th century. The hall was
divided into two ones, which were
given new ceilings.
The Bratislava´s Castle in
the 16th century
The Renaissance restoration of the
castle started in 1552. The result of
this reconstruction was a luxurious
Renaissance seat of the King.
The reconstruction was led by the
Italian architect Pietro Ferrabosco.
Originally there were only two corner
towers, not four like nowadays. In the
south-western tower the Hungarian
crown jewels were sheltered. Since
that time we call this tower the Crown
The Renaissance style was seen also in
the interior of the castle. Italian
artists decorated the interior with
valuable frescos and wall painting..
Many of these decorations were
damaged in the first half of the 17th
century but after many years they
have been identified in a castle
chapel and successfully restored
Kol. autorov: Ottova encyklopédia, Ottovo nakladateľstvo 2006
Lacika, J.: Bratislava-visiting Slovakia, Dajama 2000
Guldan, P.: Renesančné a architektonické pamiatky Bratislavy, BIPS 1989
Kol. autorov: Maturitné otázky z angličtiny, Petra Velanová 1998

Renaissance in Slovakia