For a number of reasons, I took my day-off this week today, rather than yesterday. Taking advantage of some wonderful Indian summer weather, Sybille and I drove just over one hundred kilometres south-east of Prague and explored the interesting historic town of Pelhrimov. A much longer and more detailed post about the town will follow shortly. But tonight, I just wanted to post about one fascinating discovery that we made today, whilst exploring this delightful town.
At one corner of Masarykovo námestí, the main square in the centre of Pelhrimov, is the Church of St Bartholomew – kostel sv Bartolomej. The Church dates from the late thirteenth/early fourteenth century and much of its exterior walls are decorated with sgraffiti as can be seen in this photograph. But in the small curved alcoves on the outside of the chancel walls, we found the remains of several frescos. I have no idea either as to their origin or of their age, but my educated guess is that they are probably several centuries old.
This first one is a depiction of the presentation of Christ in the Temple, as described in Luke 2. 22-40. At the top of the fresco is Simeon, holding the infant Jesus. Next to Jesus is his mother Mary, in blue. Next to her, is the prophetess Anna, whilst at the bottom left is Joseph.
This second fresco is of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before his crucifixion. Jesus is shown praying to his Father saying, ‘Yet not what I will, but what you will.’ Mark 14. 36. The artist portrays Jesus receiving angelic support from above.
This third fresco shows a scourged Jesus being presented to the people. The scene is often called Ecce homo, the Latin words for ‘Behold the man’, found in John 19. 5.
I am quite amazed as how this wonderful artwork has actually survived all these years, despite the physical elements of rain and snow, and nearly forty-two years of Communist rule.