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Statue of Saint John the Baptist from Slatvin, 1500, 112×40×20 cm, Old Hungarian Collection
The objective of the project is to restore the statue of Saint John the Baptist, which is part of a Gothic wooden ensemble from Slatvin – a significant piece in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts – to be ready for display by the re-opening of the Old Hungarian Collection.
Our collection’s most outstanding pieces include three Gothic wooden statues originating from the medieval church dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Slatvin, a village once located in Szepes County: the graceful and slender Madonna, dated around 1380, the figure of Bishop Saint Nicholas, carved a century or so later, and the statue of Saint John the Baptist, made around 1500. Regretfully, the beautiful figure of Saint John – clad in a hair-shirt, his bare chest and right arm showing from under his richly carved cloak – is in an undeservedly neglected condition. In this depiction John the Baptist makes a small step forward with his left foot, putting his weight on his right foot, and looking downwards with his head slightly tipped down. The lavishly carved hair and beard effectively direct the viewer’s gaze to the well-defined and subtly modelled face and suggestive eyes of the saint who preached about the baptism of repentance in the wilderness.
Originally, the statue must have stood in the tabernacle of a small winged altar. Its master can be linked with numerous other sculptures of the same high quality, scale, and function originating from the side altars of rural churches in the region, including those of Kings Saint Stephen and Saint Ladislaus, also preserved in our museum. In the years around 1500 the sculptor worked on pieces of outstanding importance and artistic standard in the town of Besztercebánya and its environs. He might have been a member of the diverse workshop that received significant commissions, including the tabernacle statues in the side altars dedicated to Saint Helen and Saint Giles and the high altar in the Church of Saint Anthony the Hermit in Zólyomszászfalva, as well as the monumental carved stone ensemble of Christ on the Mount of Olives and the half-length console figures (dated 1504 according to the inscription) of the Saint Barbara chapel in the parish church of Besztercebánya.
We would greatly appreciate your support for our restoration project with a contribution of your choice.
Contributions can be sent until the end of June 2019 to the following bank account: CIB Bank 10700024-22720500-51200002.
You can make your payment by bank transfer (Szépművészeti Nonprofit Kft., bank account number: 107000242272050051200002; please write ’Friends of the Museum restoration support’ in the comments field) and on our online programme log in page.
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