Saturday, July 20, 2013

St. Francis Church - Dubrovnik

St. Francis Church, part of a Franciscan monastery, is at the west end of the old walled town of Dubrovnik, just inside the Pile gate. It is along the main street, the Placa, and its tower is one of the distinct architectural elements of the town as you view it from within and from above along the town walls. 
From the east, looking back along the Placa, the church bell tower stands out.
From the town wall, the bell tower, the Pile Gate and Ft. Lawrence, over the west harbor, in the background. 

From the south wall, kayaks head toward the west harbor with Ft. Lawrence above them in the background. 
The Franciscans first came to Dubrovnik in 1234. Their first building was outside the walls in the Pile gate area. When threatened with war, it was demolished to avoid its use by the enemy in a siege, and the Franciscans started a new building inside the walls in 1317 that was added to over the years. A major earthquake, estimated at 7.7 on the Richter scale, on April 6, 1667, killed 5,000 people and destroyed most of the buildings in the city, including the Franciscan church. At the time, Dubrovnik was the capital of the Republic of Dubrovnik (or Ragusa as it was known in Italian and Latin), that existed from 1358 to 1808 when it was conquered by Napoleon. However, the cloister, as viewed below from the town wall, built in 1360, did survive the earthquake and the garden within it is the oldest garden in Dubrovnik. Note, the cloisters and bell tower were damaged in the attacks on Dubrovnik by the Serbians and Montenegrans during the 1991-1992 war. We did not visit the cloister or the garden and had to enjoy our only view of it from above. 
The cloister viewed from the west wall.
The garden within the cloister viewed from the west wall.
From the south wall, St. Francis and the bell tower are viewed in the foreground and the west wall is viewed to the left going to the Minceta tower, the high point of the wall at the northwest corner. 
One of the few elements rescued from the pre-earthquake building was a relief which stands over the south portal door. It was done by Leonard and Petar Petrovic, brothers who ran a local workshop in Dubrovnik, in 1498. It shows the pieta, Mary with Christ in her lap, at the center. God the Father stands over them, but un-involved in what is going on below. St. Jerome is to the left holding a model of the church (the pre-earthquake church) and John the Baptist is to the right. 
God the Father stands above the Pieta, Jerome to the left and John the Baptist to the right.
The Pieta
The marble pulpit, from the 15th century, is another element which survives from the pre-earthquake church. 
Marble pulpit from 15th century.
Detail from marble pulpit.
St. Francis is a single nave and very baroque. Beautiful, beautiful.
Looking toward the main altar from the back.
Looking toward the back and the organ above.
The main altar with the statue of the resurrected Christ was done by the sculptor Celia from Ancona in 1713. 
Main altar
Resurrected Christ
Baroque pillars
Baroque pillars and portion of altar.
Portion of main altar.
Above the main altar.
Five altars were were sculpted by the Venetian Giuseppe Sardi between 1684 and 1696. The altar pala of St. Francis was done in 1888 by the painter Celectin Medovic. 
Three side altars on one side.
One of the more unusual altars.

Marble pillars at side of altar.
Beautiful marble on an altar.
More marble on an altar.
One of many angels hanging out above an altar.
Another great angel.

1 comment:

  1. I love this church for the span of time and art styles it includes. I especially love the Pieta with all its stiffness of figure but also with Mary's wonderfully expressive face.