The oldest panorama of the Tatras' northern side

It was in the time when a mountain landscape was not an interesting subject for artists. An outline of a mountain can only be seen in the backgrounds of the scenes painted on the church walls or ceilings. read more

It was in the time when a mountain landscape was not an interesting subject for artists. An outline of a mountain can only be seen in the backgrounds of the scenes painted on the church walls or ceilings. The oldest painting of the Tatras seen from the Polish side can be seen in a wooden church in Trybsz.Why should anyone paint mountains if no one was enraptured by them? The Alps were only "discovered" in the 18th century, and so were the Carpathians a little bit later. Geologists and local historians drew their maps and panoramas. It was then, when the intriguing pictorial landscapes of Jan Nepomucen Głowacki and other artists were created.

Earlier, mountains did use to appear but... in a background. When a biblical scene was being painted or some saint was being portrayed, outlines of peaks were visible in the distance. This could be seen in great masters' work as well as in small country churches.

The oldest, imprecise image of the Tatras was painted on a wall of St. Giles's church in Poprad, nearly 600 years ago.

In Trybsz there is a slightly more recent (it comes from 1647) painting, but it is the oldest one of the Tatras from the northern side. Only decades agio, the paintings in the old, wooden St. Elizabeth of Hungary seemed beyond saving. And yet saved they were!

The images we are interested in are placed on the ceiling. Above the presbytery The scene of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven is depicted over the presbytery. Researchers see in it – as Andrzej Skorupa wrote – "the Pieniny landscape, with the castles in Czorsztyn and Niedzica, as well as the panorama of the Belianske Tatras visible from the nearby hills, transfigured by the painter's imagination".

Just like in the works of great masters, Mary is accompanied by choirs of angels during this solemn moment. Numerous musical instruments are visible in their hands.

An even more famous depiction of the mountains can be found in another scene, placed on the ceiling above the nave, which shows The Final Judgement. Framed by two angelic trumpets, waking the dead during the end of times, three peaks are visible, identified today as: Havran, Ždiarska vidla and Ľadový štít.

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