Photograph: Mario Braun


Name of Monument:

St. Vitus Cathedral, Rijeka

Also known as:

Former Jesuit church

Location:

Rijeka, Hrvatsko primorje, Croatia

Contact DetailsSt. Vitus Cathedral, Rijeka
Trg Griviva 11
51000 Rijeka
T : +385 51 581 200
Archdiocese of Rijeka, Ivana Pavla II 1  (Responsible Institution)

Date:

1638–1659; 1725

Artists:

Designer: Giacomo Briano (1589–1649); builder and carver: Francesco Oliviera; master builder: Bartol Winterleiter [n.d.]; gallery extension: Bernardin Martinuzzi [n.d.]; painter: Valentin Metzinger (1699–1759); sculptors: Pasquale Lazzarini (1667–1731), Antonio Michelazzi (? –1772)

Denomination / Type of monument:

Religious architecture, an Early Baroque central octagonal church with side chapels and dome

Patron(s):

Society of Jesus

History:

The Jesuits arrived in Rijeka in 1626 prompted by Archduke Ferdinand II. According to the original plans, the intention was a large church with a nave and two-aisles, built alongside city walls on the sea (1633). However, because of groundwater, they opted for a dominant position alongside the castello (1636), which led in turn not only to the church having a central ground plan – not at all typical of the Jesuits – but for defensive reasons, a limitation on the height also. Giacomo Briano of Modena drew up both plans. Although the foundation stone was laid in 1638, construction continued into the 17th century (it was not until 1659 that the church was consecrated). In the 18th century, some adjustments to the original plans saw a gallery extension and a new dome, this time according to plans by the Friulian builder, Bernardino Martinuzzi.

Description:

The basic characteristic of the Church of St. Vitus is its centralisation, expressed both in the spatial proportions and in the way the architectural units interconnect. The central octagonal space under the dome opens up with arcades towards lower, oval domed chapels, those serving the chancel distinguished by only slightly greater depth. The enduring Renaissance-informed static concept is apparent in the articulation of dark-marble Tuscan pillars and arches that continue along all eight sides of the central space. According to the still-extant Briano plan, an evenly lit space required a coffered dome with a lantern, however, in the building, not only was the lighting enhanced but the plastic articulation of the exterior elaborated with freestanding Tuscan pillars at the central entrance projection. Furthermore, there was another step towards the introduction of the Baroque by way of the gallery extension, characteristic of the 18th century, and, in addition, the exterior received a new vertical accent in the shape of a high tambour and a dome encompassed by a conical roof.
The architectural quality seen in St. Vitus Church (today St. Vitus Cathedral) was never repeated in the Bay of Kvaerner area. This unique building with its parallel in the contemporary Santa Maria della Salute in Venice originates, via Sebastiano Serli, with the Brunelleschi-prototype octagonal Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence. All these influences might be a direct reflection – not only within architecture – of the international religious sensibility of the time, as shown, for example, in the never-realised plan for a central Jesuit church in Dubrovnik.

View Short Description

Today the Cathedral, once the Jesuit Church of St. Vitus in Rijeka, is the only Baroque Jesuit central-plan church in Croatia. Its spatial organisation, accomplished in 1638, is characterised by a regular octagon originally surmounted by a high dome and surrounded with oval chapels, an architectural solution influenced by the famous Italian architects, Andrea Palladio and Baldassare Longhena. The entire oeuvre of the designer Giacomo Briano, however, suggests even older origins related to his work in the framework of Renaissance Florence, suggested by the two colours used in the articulation of the interior: dark-grey marble pillars and arches in front of white walls. The church obtained its Baroque stamp only with the building of the gallery above the chapels in 1725, and with the execution of a new dome at a higher level.

How Monument was dated:

Dated on the basis of documents, the Briano plan and later architectural drawings, and stylistic features.

Special features

The High Altar

Sanctuary

1717

Pasquale Lazzarini (1667–1731)

Made of Carrara marble with polychrome incrustations, in its dimensions the high altar dominates the other six altars placed in six radial chapels. Extending towards the vault of the chapel with its high central attic “inhabited” with small angels and a central figure of the Holy Father surrounded by rounded clouds, its slanted side “wings” with side passages in the lower part, fills the whole of the sanctuary forming a concave. There is a central wooden Gothic crucifix and in the side-niches are sculptures of St. Vitus and St. Modest.

Pulpit

Left-hand side of church

1731

Antonio Michelazzi (? – 1772)

One of the most important sculptural centres in Adriatic Croatia during the 18th century, Rijeka boasted Baroque churches that today form a thesaurus of Baroque sculpture of both known and anonymous masters. Between 1733 and 1772 Antonio Michelazzi’s sculpture workshop in Rijeka employed many altar makers and sculptors from Friuli and Gorica. This pulpit – with the seated figures of the four evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and bearing Christ’s monogram on the concave front – is supported by two massive volutes. It represents a strong plastic accent in the church since all the other altarpieces are within the radial chapels.

St. Joseph with Jesus and St. John the Baptist

Side Altar of St. Joseph

1734

Valentin Metzinger (1699–1759)

In Croatia and especially in the north, there are a large number of works of the Slovene painter, Valentin Metzinger. An eclectic and accomplished painter, he was inspired by the works of the Bolognese artists Annibale Carracci and Guido Reni, and the paintings of the Venetian Mannerists. From the time of Metzinger’s arrival in Ljubljana in 1727, up to his death in 1759, his name and his works became the trademark of a large number of religious interiors throughout Slovenia and Croatia, particularly within Franciscan churches.

Selected bibliography:

Fučić, B., Sveti Vid, Rijeka, 1994.
Kudiš, N., “Projekt Giacoma Briana za isusovačku crkvu sv. Vida u Rijeci” in Prilozi povijesti umjetnosti u Dalmaciji, 34, 1994, pp. 269–283.
Matejčić, R., Crvka svetog Vida, Rijeka, 1994.

Citation of this web page:

Katarina Horvat-Levaj, Mirjana Repanić-Braun "St. Vitus Cathedral, Rijeka" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. http://www.discoverbaroqueart.org/database_item.php?id=monument;BAR;hr;Mon11;4;en

Prepared by: Katarina Horvat-LevajKatarina Horvat-Levaj

SURNAME: Horvat-Levaj
NAME: Katerina

AFFILIATION: Institute of Art History, Zagreb

TITLE: PhD, Scientific Consultant

CV:
Katerina Horvat-Levaj graduated with a BA in Art History and Archaeology in 1981 from the University of Zagreb (Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Art History). In 1985 she obtained her MA and in 1988 she was awarded a scholarship at the University of Padua. In 1995 she defended her Doctorate at Zagreb University on Representative Residential Architecture of the Baroque in Dubrovnik. Since 1982, she has been employed at the Institute of Art History in Zagreb, and is presently a Senior Research Associate. Katarina also teaches at the University of Split. At the University of Zagreb she participates at doctoral level in the Faculty of Croatian Studies and the faculties of Architecture and Philosophy.
, 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 04

RELATED CONTENT

 Timeline for this item


Download

As PDF (including images) As Word (text only)