Kyjatice / Kiéte

The wall paintings in Kyjatice (Kiéte) had been discovered and partially uncovered by István Gróth in 1894. Jiří Josefík and Ladislav Székely later continued with uncovering in 1980 and 1985 and the complete interior of the Kyjatice church was finally restored between 1986-1989 (L. Székely, J. Josefík, I. Žucha and Levoča State Restoration Studios). Vlasta Dvořáková and Milan Togner mainly studied the wall paintings, they have also been the subject of the latest monography about wall paintings in Gemer (a collective work).

The wall paintings that originated throughout two periods cover the inner coping of the presbytery, the triumphal arch from the side of the presbytery and the north wall of the presbytery. 

There is a painted lambrequin in the lower part of the presbytery, above which are ten medallions with half-figures of prophets with inscription tapes. On the east side of the presbytery, there is God the Father and two kneeling female figures with halos, praying to him. God the Father in a mandorla is blessing the figures on his right. According to Milan Togner, this scene represents the Annunciation.According to the authors of the recent monography, the two praying figures represent Virgin Mary and St. John. Ivan Gerát assumed that it probably shows an image of a mystical vision specific for religiousness of women of the Late Middle Ages.

In the deep jamb of the east round window, there is a figure of an angel with two royal crowns, similar to the one in the south window coping of the Ochtiná presbytery. Milan Togner considered this a figure of Saint Louis of Toulouse. In the lower paintings register on the east side, there is a group of four female saints and an apostle: from the left to the right there are an old apostle with a book, St. Barbara with a tower, St. Ursula (or St. Christina) with an arrow, St. Mary Magdalene with a skull and St. Agatha with a cut off breast in her hand. Seven figures of the apostles have been preserved on the south wall. Originally, there were eight of them, however one of them disappeared within the window enlargement process. Based on their typical attributes, we can identify St. Jacob with a walking stick and St. Paul with a sword. 

On the north presbytery wall, there is a partially preserved painting of the Man of Sorrows (Imago pietatis) with visible and bleeding wounds on his hands, feet and his hip. He is putting one of his left hand fingers into a significantly bleeding wound on his hip and based on his body position as well as the stream of blood, it is clear that the blood had been retained into a painted chalice, which hasn’t been preserved, and was placed over the sanctuary. The painting points out Christ’s sacrifice and its iconography as well as the placing in this part of the presbytery has a clear Eucharistic context. 

In the triumphal arch jamb, wise and foolish virgins with oil lamps are depicted. On the wall of the triumphal arch, from the side of the nave, the paintings are divided into two registers. From left to right, these scenes are depicted in the upper register: The Arrest of Christ with a scene of Judas’s kiss, where similarly to Koceľovce and Ochtiná, Judas is depicted with a dark halo. The scene of Christ before Pilate follows, where we can see a figure of a servant bringing Pilate water in a jar to wash his hands. A towel is visible in Pilate’s hands, which he uses to wipe his hands with. 

After it, the Annunciation scene follows. Archangel Gabriel is coming with an inscription tape in his hand, the figure of God the Father is raising from behind a cloud above him with a blessing gesture of his right hand, and in front of him, a small naked figure of Jesus is coming to Virgin Mary. A white dove is flying over Virgin Mary as a symbol of the Holy Ghost. Virgin Mary is kneeling at a reading counter with an open book. 

The scene of Christ carrying his Cross accompanied with a big crowd, follows, whilst it has been only partially preserved on the right side of the composition. In the left lower part of the triumphal arch, we can see the Crucifixion scene that has been only partially preserved. Under it, there is a group of three Marys, St. John the Evangelist and a group of soldiers. In the right lower part of the triumphal arch Pietà with a group of lamenting women an St. John is depicted. Body of the dead Christ is presented in a way that all his five wounds could be visible: on his hands, feet and his hip. All Christ’s body is covered with many blood traces. This significant emphasis on Christ’s blood is present within the whole interior paint of the presbytery as well as the triumphal arch (bleeding Christ, Christ carrying his Cross, Crucifixion, Pietà). In literature, the paintings from the older period date to the seventies and the eighties of the 14th century. 

On the north wall of the nave, there is a large multi-figural and atypical composition of the Last Judgement with many inscription tapes. This painting belongs to the later period and is dated with an inscription: Anno dm 1426. The round part of the composition is divided into nine parts, with Christ on a throne in its centre, in a mandorla, showing his wounds. There are angels with Arma Christ by his sides. In the lower part, the dead are raising from their graves, and a sorting of the damned and the saved begins. The Last Judgement in Kyjatice carries the signs of a theologically difficult composition.   


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

Dvořáková Vlasta: Kyjatice. In: Dvořáková Vlasta – Krása Josef – Stejskal Karel: Stredoveká nástenná maľba na Slovensku. Bratislava 1978, s. 113-114.

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

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

Plekanec Vladimír – Haviar Tomáš: Gotický Gemer a Malohont: Italianizmy v stredovekej nástennej maľbe, Martin 2010, s. 120-133. Autorky textov Edita Kušnierová a Monika Skalská.

Prokopp Mária: Középkori freskók Gömörben. Somorja 2002.

Togner Milan: Stredoveká nástenná maľba v Gemeri. Bratislava 1989, s. 175-176.

Togner Milan: Stredoveká nástenná maľba na Slovensku (Addenda et corigenda). Bratislava 1988, s. 59.  

Togner Milan: Recepcia a transformácia: Slovensko a Taliansko v stredoveku. K percepcii trecentných italizmov v stredovekej nástennej maľbe na Slovensku. In: Bakoš Ján et al.: Problémy dejín výtvarného umenia na Slovensku, Bratislava 2002, s. 73-75.   

Gallery/26 photos