Photograph: Miro Dvorščak


Name of Monument:

Church of St. Barbara

Location:

Velika Mlaka, Zagreb County, Croatia

Contact DetailsChurch of St. Barbara
Župa sv. Barbare
Školska 33
10408 Velika Mlaka
T : +385 16 234 761
Parish of St. Barbara, Velika Mlaka  (Responsible Institution)

Date:

c. 1650

Artists:

Unknown architect

Denomination / Type of monument:

Religious, church

Patron(s):

Noble District of Turopolje

History:

Velika Mlaka was once the centre of the Noble District of Turopolje. The church itself, built in the middle of the 18th century as a graveyard chapel, belonged to the Parish in Odra. Archival sources, the so-called Canonic Visitations, first mention the Church of St. Barbara in 1692, but the fact that the bell in the bell-tower was produced in Graz in 1642, indicates that the church itself was built in the first half of the 18th century. In 1976, it became the parish church.

Description:

The Church of St. Barbara is an example of folk architecture built of common oak, which grew in nearby woods. The interior originally comprised a simple square with a three-sided apse and a large porch topped by a bell tower. The porch was incorporated into the newly built nave in the first half of the 18th century. The new tower just above the west entrance and the sacristy, were additions of 1876 as was the wooden choir. In 1912, the small, south porch was built.
The painted interior of the church creates a strong contrast to the brown monochromic exterior. It is completely wood panelled and was painted throughout the 17th and 18th centuries with floral and figurative motives. On the upper panels of the side-walls are painted saints and martyrs (St. Andrew the Apostle, St. George Slaying the Dragon, St. John of Nepomuk, St. Apolonia, St. Peter, St. Frances Xavier, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Agnes, the Evangelists, the Immaculate Conception, Christ on the Cross, St. Kümernissa and St. Mary the Protector). Among these are scenes from the Life of St. Barbara. The main altar dates to the late 17th century but it is still in the form of a Late Gothic winged retable decorated with cartilage ornaments. Both the central altarpiece and the painting above it represent the saint and martyr, St. Barbara, one of north Croatia's most popular saints. Four paintings of the Life of St. Barbara are on the open wings, while on the closed wings and outer fixed parts of the retable there are eight scenes from the Passion of Christ. There are also two side altars, one dedicated to St. Anne (the Holy Family) and the other to the Ascension.
Among the rest of the inventory there are four Roman Missals dating from 1712, all printed in Venice, and the final one by Elisabetta Picicni (Venice, 1648–1734), a well-known graphic artist and member of the Franciscan Order.

View Short Description

The Church of St. Barbara is the best-known “representative” of wooden Baroque architecture in North Croatia. Small and modest, it stands today in the middle of a field in Velika Mlaka, not far from Zagreb. Wooden churches were a typical feature of the landscape of North Croatia in the 17th and 18th centuries because building in wood was not expensive and, furthermore, there was no need to employ an architect, as craftsmen with some knowledge of building houses could do the job. These churches, still preserved in some villages, are distinguishable from secular houses of the time only by a bell tower and simple, one “nave” interior. For the poor peasants of the region it was the only way to have a church in each village.

How Monument was dated:

Dated by archival sources.

Special features

St. Kümernissa

South panel painting

c. 1690

Unknown painter

The bearded St. Kümerrnissa was particularly popular in Tyrol. She was known variously as Liberatrix, Wilgefortis, Ontkomer and Hülpe and can be traced back to the Middle Ages. Her unusual looks relate to the Volto Santo from the Tuscan city of Lucca (a wooden cross bearing the corpus of Christ cloaked in the long priest's robe – colobium). The development of trade and dissemination of graphic prints representing the famous Tuscan sculpture resulted in an incorrect interpretation of the figure and replacement of the iconography with that of St. Kümerrnissa.

Selected bibliography:

Laszowski, E., Povijest plem. Općine Turopolja, Zagreb, 1911.
Kapela sv. Barbare u Velikoj Mlaki, (ed) Sanja Cvetnić.,,Zagreb, 2008.
Cvitanović, D., ''Turopoljske ljepotice'' in Kaj, časopis za kulturu i prosvjetu, Zagreb, year 7, 5–6, 1974., pp. 65–104.
Kapela sv. Barbare u Velikoj Mlaki, Cvetnić, S., (ed.), Zagreb, 2008.

Citation of this web page:

Irena Gessner, Mirjana Repanić-Braun "Church of St. Barbara" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. http://www.discoverbaroqueart.org/database_item.php?id=monument;BAR;hr;Mon11;23;en

Prepared by: Irena Gessner, Mirjana Repanić-BraunMirjana Repanić-Braun

SURNAME: Repanić-Braun
NAME: Mirjana

AFFILIATION: Institute of Art History, Zagreb

TITLE: PhD, Scientific Consultant

CV:
From 1981 to 1982 Mirjana Repanić-Braun was a curator of the Academy’s collection of sculpture in the Gliptoteque of the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences; from 1983 to 1998 she worked in the Croatian Academy’s Archives for Visual Arts. Mirjana has been employed as a researcher at the Institute of Art History in Zagreb since 1998: from 2001, as head of the scientific project Baroque Painting, Sculpture and Crafts of Continental Croatia, and since 2006, as head of the scientific project Baroque, Classicism and Historicism in the Arts of North Croatia. Mirjana teaches Art History at the universities of Rijeka and Split. At the University of Zagreb, she participates at doctoral level in the Faculty of Croatian Studies and the Faculty of Philosophy.

Translation by: Graham McMaster, Mirjana Repanić-BraunMirjana Repanić-Braun

SURNAME: Repanić-Braun
NAME: Mirjana

AFFILIATION: Institute of Art History, Zagreb

TITLE: PhD, Scientific Consultant

CV:
From 1981 to 1982 Mirjana Repanić-Braun was a curator of the Academy’s collection of sculpture in the Gliptoteque of the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences; from 1983 to 1998 she worked in the Croatian Academy’s Archives for Visual Arts. Mirjana has been employed as a researcher at the Institute of Art History in Zagreb since 1998: from 2001, as head of the scientific project Baroque Painting, Sculpture and Crafts of Continental Croatia, and since 2006, as head of the scientific project Baroque, Classicism and Historicism in the Arts of North Croatia. Mirjana teaches Art History at the universities of Rijeka and Split. At the University of Zagreb, she participates at doctoral level in the Faculty of Croatian Studies and the Faculty of Philosophy.

Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: HR 32

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