Chyžné / Hizsnyó

The medieval wall paintings in the church of Chyžné (Hizsnyó) had not been covered with neither lime nor the plaster while they existed, and according to the canonical visitation, they had been repaired in 1812 and around the half of the 19th century. The paintings were restored by Peter Július Kern in 1936.

The paintings covering the walls of the presbytery, including the jamb of the triumphal arch, have been established probably in the seventies and the eighties of the 14th century, according to Milan Togner. In the lower part of the presbytery, there is a painting of an illusive valance - a lambrequin.  

On the east side of the presbytery, in the upper register, we can find the Annunciation scene: Archangel Gabriel is on the left to the window, giving blessings with his right hand and holding an inscription tape in his left hand. A white dove is flying above the window - a symbol of the Holy Ghost - and it is coming towards the kneeling Virgin Mary on the right side of the window.  

In the upper register of the north wall, there is the Christological cycle of the Nativity of Christ. Virgin Mary is lying on a bed, there is baby Jesus behind her all wrapped in a diaper, lying in a cradle that, with its colour and shape, reminds of a stone tomb. His serious face is surrounded by a cross nimbus as a symbol of his manner of death, he is looking down to where the Man of Sorrows is raising from his tomb. In the Nativity scene, an ass, a bull and an angel are with baby Jesus. The angel is flying towards the sleeping St. Joseph, touching him with his right hand and pointing towards baby Jesus with the other hand. A picture of a shepherd in the right lower part complements the picture of the Nativity. 

The next scene from the Christ’s childhood is the Adoration of the Kings on the south wall of the presbytery, which is interrupted by a secondarily enlarged window. Because of these renovations, today we can only see the two younger kings carrying the gifts and watching the angel guiding them to the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus, sitting on a throne. The third kneeling king and a part of Mary’s and Jesus’s figures have not been preserved. 

On the west presbytery wall - on the wall of the triumphal arch, the Parable of Ten Virgins has been preserved.   The virgins are coming in two lines towards Christ on the top of the triumphal arch. There are five wise virgins holding the burning lamps filled with oil on Christ’s right, on Christ’s left there are the foolish virgins holding the lamps without the oil. The half-figure of Christ in a mandorla with raised hands, turning to the foolish virgins. The diversity of the foolish virgins’ clothes is spectacular. 

There are four Old Testament prophets in quadrilobes with inscription tapes in the jamb of the triumphal arch. In the lower register of the presbytery paintings, the twelve apostles are depicted.  On the east presbytery wall, under the Annunciation scene, there are apostles who can be identified by their individual attributes: St. Peter with a key, St. Paul with a sword, St. Bartholomew with a knife and St. Thomas showing his fingers, which he had put into Christ’s wound on his hip. There are fragments of the identification inscriptions near St. Thomas and St. Bartholomew. 

There is a figure of St. Catherine in the south window coping, St. Barbara figure in the east window coping and another unidentified saint woman (St. Helena?). In the arches shield, four Church Fathers are painted at reading counters, together with symbols of evangelists and angels who are coming to them from a bolt - symbolising Christ.  There is a lion in the east part of the arch - a symbol of St. Mark the evangelist, next to St. Ambrose; there is an ox in the north part - a symbol of St. Lucas next to the pope St. Gregory; there is an angel in the south part - a symbol of St. Matthew the evangelist next to St. Augustine; and there is an eagle in the west part - a symbol of St. John the evangelist next to cardinal St. Jerome. Such iconographical strategy came to Gemer from Italy, where its establishment connects with the bull of Boniface VIII from 1298 that pointed out the respect for the Church Fathers.


Bakoš Ján: Dejiny a koncepcie stredovekého umenia. Explikácia na gotickom nástennom maliarstve. Bratislava 1984.

Dvořáková Vlasta: Chyžné. In: Dvořáková Vlasta – Krása Josef - Stejskal Karel: Stredoveká nástenná maľba na Slovensku.Bratislava 1978, 97-98.

Gerát Ivan: Stredoveké obrazové témy na Slovensku: osoby a príbehy. Bratislava 2001.

Gerát Ivan: Nástenné maľby, Chyžné. In: Balážová Barbara – Pomfyová Bibiana (edd.).: Arslexicon – výtvarné umenie na Slovensku;

Prokopp Mária: Középkori freskók Gömörben, Somorja 2002, s. 16-20.

Togner Milan: Stredoveká nástenná maľba v Gemeri. Bratislava 1989, s. 172.

Togner Milan: Stredoveká nástenná maľba na Slovensku (Addenda et corigenda). Bratislava 1988, s. 48.

Gallery/19 photos