Kraskovo / Karaszkó

The visual parts of the wall paintings were described by István Gróh in 1895. József Huszka had exposed them in 1901 and then restored them in 1906. Within the overall church renovation in years 1983-1986, the wall paintings in the interior as well as the exterior were restored by a team of Levoča State Restoration Studios (L. Székely, J. Jozefík, I. Žucha). Considering the quality of the wall paintings and the degree of their preservation, the Hungarian, Czech and Slovak historians paid attention to them: Mária Prokopp, Vlasta Dvořáková, Karel Stejskal, Milan Togner, Katarína Biathová, Ján Bakoš, Barbora Glocková and Ivan Gerát.The poet Ivan Krasko wrote a paper about them in 1932. The paintings have also been mentioned in the recently published monography about medieval wall paintings from Gemer

Figurative wall paintings made by the fresco technique cover the entire interior of the sanctuary, the triumphal arch including its east wall from the nave and the entire surface of the north wall of the nave. On the lower parts of the presbytery and the north wall of the nave is an ornamental strip with stylized plant motifs, applied through templates. Milan Togner entitled the author of the paintings The Master of the Kraskovo paintings. The north nave’s upper strip shows a narrative cycle from St. Ladislaus (the so called Saint Ladislaus Legend), under which is the epic scene of Adoration of the Kings and a couple of separately framed pictures: Lamentation over the dead Christi (Pieta) with St. John and Mary Magdalene, and on the right, Sv. Helena and St. Anne. These two paintings are works of the Master of the Ochtiná Presbytery.

On the wall of the triumphal arch, from the side of the nave, is the Announciation, placed over the width of the upper part of the wall. Archangel Gabriel is coming from the left, giving blessings with his right hand and greeting Virgin Mary, who is praying on the right side at the reading counter with books on it. There is an inscription tape in his left hand, saying: „Ave Maria gratia plena Domin(us tecum)“. This text represents not only the angel greeting (Luke 1:28), but also the beginning of the well-known prayer addressing Christ’s Mother. There is a white vase with white lilies in front of the archangel as a well-known Marian symbol referring to her virginity. On the top of this composition, there is God the Father with either a blessing or a directive gesture, also holding a book. By air, naked baby Jesus with a cross nimbus is coming to Mary and there is a dove symbolizing the Holy Ghost in front of him. The Announciation scene reminds of the gospel text (John 1:14): “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” 

Under the Announciation, there is Virgin Mary the Protectress on the left and Weighing of souls (Psychostasy) on the right. This painting represents an iconographic type where breads appear as a symbol for the redemptive weight. The nearest place to find this type of Weighing of souls is the church in Rimavské Brezovo

There are half-portraits of the prophets with the inscription tapes in the quadrilobes in the jamb of the triumphal arch. On the east side of the presbytery, in the upper part, a couple of angels is holding a Veraicon. Under this scenario, an illusional curtain is depicted on the entire wall, which is cut only by a window. On the sanctuary arch, in its east sphere, there is Christ in the mandorla (Maiestas Domini), giving blessings and holding a book in his hand covered by a cloak. By his sides, left from the nave, there is the anthropomorphic sun, and on the right, the moon. In the south field, the symbols of the evangelists holding the inscription tapes are depicted on the background of the starry sky - Luke as a winged bull and John as an eagle. The north field of the arch is filled with angel and lion figures - the symbols of Matthew and Mark, the evangelists. A view into the arch and onto Christ sitting on a throne in a rainbow mandorla, surrounded by figures, is supposed to evoke the visions described in the Old Testament texts (Iz 6, 1-4; Ez 4-28) as well as the St. John’s apocalypse revelation (Zj 4, 2-9). The west field of the arch includes a big half-portrait of Abraham holding smaller figures in a scarf (The Bosom of Abraham),  which metaforically explains the theological idea of the future chosen ones’ souls, in the words of Le Goff “the privileged deceased”  who are waiting for the Judgement day at the end of time. The Bosom of Abraham symbolizes a pre-paradise

On the north wall of the presbytery, in its upper art, there is a quadrilobe with partially preserved half-portrait of a grey haired and bearded man. Across it, on the upper part of the south wall, is a symetrically placed quadrilobe with a half-portrait, also only partially preserved, that is usually identified by explorers as Christ, or a prophet. In a more detailed view, this identification cannot be accepted. The figure has an exceptionally wide face, in which the position of the well-preserved eye and nose are shifted to the left, far from the main facial axes - which evokes the iconographical type of the depiction of the Holy Trinity with three noses and mouths as well as four eyes that we know from the churches in Ochtiná and Rákoš. The depiction in Kraskovo differs from these two examples in the fact that the lateral faces were not depicted partially from profile, but - judging from the visible eye and nose - next to each other. In favor of the three-faced depiction of the Holy Trinity speaks also the wide space between their shoulders, where presumably three necks grew from the body, just like on the depiction of the Holy Trinity in Žehra. Furthermore, there are other facts that don’t support the identification of the figure as Christ: in this sanctuary, Christ is already depicted as Maiestas Domini and this figure does not even hold a bicoloured cross-nimbus that always accompanies the portrayal of Christ in Kraskovo (Adoration of the Kings, Annunciation, Maiestas Domini, Veraicon). Even in this case, decoding the text at this figure would help to identify it unambiguously. On the north and south walls, under the arcades of walls finished with battlements, the figures of six apostles with attributes in their hands can be found: An old apostle with a latin cross (possibly St. Andrew),  St. Thomas showing the bloody fingers of his right hand, St. Peter with a key symbolically painted over the sacristy door, St. Paul with a sword, St. John holding a chalice with a small snake coming out of it, blessing it with his right hand and there is a small snake coming out of it; and a young apostle with a book and an arrow in his hand. Close to St. John is a sanctuary with a monstrance painted above it. The six apostles painted on the opposite side can be identified by the inscriptions under their feet. They only have the general attributes, though, the books. Based on the lower part of the pilgrim’s stick with a metal fitting and a pointy tip that has been preserved under the secondarily extended south window, it is possible to idetify St. Saint James the Greater. There are figures of saints on the sides of the triumphal arch from the sanctuary, possibly St. Cosmas and Damian

 There is a monumental painting only partially preserved on the left part of the facade on the east showing St. Christopher with Jesus on his shoulders, crossing a river. A 1986 photo (archive of the Monuments Board of Slovak Republic) still very well shows a mermaid at the saint’s feet.


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

Biathová Katarína: Príspevok k dejinám gotických nástenných malieb na Gemeri. In: Pamiatky a múzeá VII, 1958, 29-35.

Cipovová Miroslava – Megyeši Peter: Chlieb ako spásonosné závažie. K stredovekej ikonografii Váženia duší. In: Ars 49, 2, 2016, s. 164-171.

Dvořáková Vlasta: Kraskovo. In: Dvořáková – Josef Krása – Karel Stejskal: Stredoveká nástenná maľba na Slovensku. Bratislava 1978, s. 107-112.

Dvořáková Vlasta: Talianske vývinové prúdy stredovekej nástennej maľby na Slovensku. In: Váross Marian (ed.): Zo starších výtvarných dejín Slovenska. Bratislava 1965, s. 225-244.

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

Gerát Ivan: Nástenné maľby, Kraskovo In: Balážová Barbara – Bibiana Pomfyová (eds.): Arslexicon- výtvarné umenie na Slovensku.

Gerát Ivan: Svätí bojovníci v stredoveku: Úvahy o obrazových legendách sv. Juraja a sv. Ladislava na Slovensku. Bratislava 2011.

Gerát Ivan: Naratívny cyklus zo života sv. Ladislava v ikonografickom programe gemerských kostolov (poznámky ku vzťahu obrazov k textom). In: ARS 29, 1-3, 1996, s. 11-56.

Gerát Ivan: Naratívne nástenné cykly vo vidieckom prostredí. In: Buran Dušan (ed.): Dejiny slovenského výtvarného umenia: Gotika. Bratislava 2003, s. 148-159.

Glocková Barbora: Nástenné maľby v Kraskove. In: Buran Dušan (ed.): Dejiny slovenského výtvarného umenia: Gotika. Bratislava 2003, s. 675-676.

Glocková Barbora: Ars nova. Taliansky orientované nástenné maliarstvo 14. storočia. In: Buran Dušan (ed.): Dejiny slovenského výtvarného umenia: Gotika. Bratislava 2003, s. 138-147.

Gróh István: Középkori falképek Gömör megyében. In: Archeológiai Értesítő XV, 1895, 229-238.  

Krasko Ivan: Archanjel Michal, nástenná maľba v starobylom kostole na Kraskove In: Slovenské pohľady, XLVIII, 5, 1932, s. 301-308.

Plekanec Vladimír – Haviar Tomáš: Gotický Gemer a Malohont. Italianizmy v stredovekej nástennej maľbe. Bratislava 2010, s. 134-159.

Prokopp Mária: Középkori freskók Gömörben. Somorja 2002, s. 53-64.

Prokopp Mária: Italian Trecento Influence on Murals in East Central Europe: Particulary Hungary. Budapest 1983, s. 93, 157.

Stejskal Karel: K obsahovej a formovej interpretácii stredovekých nástenných malieb na Slovensku. In: Váross Marian (ed.):  Zo starších výtvarných dejín Slovenska. Bratislava 1965, s. 175-222.

Togner Milan: Recepcia a transformácia. Slovensko a Taliansko v stredoveku. K percepcii trecentných italizmov v stredovekej nástennej maľbe na Slovensku. In: Bakoš Ján (ed.): Problémy dejín výtvarného umenia na Slovensku Bratislava 2002, s. 54-78.

Togner Milan: Stredoveká nástenná maľba na Slovensku: Súčasný stav poznania (Addenda et corigenda). Bratislava 1988, s. 54-55.

Togner Milan: Stredoveká nástenná maľba v Gemeri. Bratislava 1989, s. 174-175.

Gallery/26 photos