Musical Angels in St. George's Church at Lovran


  • Koraljka Kos



Of the instruments represented on medieval frescoes of Istria the most interesting are those found on the late gothic reticular ribvault in the presbytery of St. George's church in Lovran. Many instruments were painted in the fields of this vault between 1470 and 1479. String instruments represent the largest number among them; i. e. plucked instruments (three lutes, two psalteries, a harp), bowed instruments (organi-strum, viola da gamba), keyboard instruments (harpsichord, clavichord) and chose which are struck with curved beaters, padded sticks, etc. (dulcimer). The percussion instruments are represented by a kettle-drum and a »glockenrad«, the brass instruments by two busines. The shape and dimensions of some instruments are dictated by the demands of their plastic representation. In his striving for variety the artist represented the same instruments in different sizes and they are held in a variety of ways too. The psaltery appears in the form of trapezoid and triangle, whereas the lute is seen in three sizes and it is held in three different ways. In organographie respect the keyboard instruments are of special interest, while the representation of the »glockenrad« is a rarity on the European scene. The composition of musical instruments on the frescoes in Lovran belongs to the Central European cultural sphere whether it be regarded from the view-point of the history of music or the history of art. The complete group of instruments as well as the single pairs of musicians in the individual parts of the vault are not to be considered as real ensembles of performers but as a visualized celestial hymn of praise. Owing to the precision of their representation and their variety the instruments on the frescoes represent a subject for scientific research which may be in some respects interesting from the view-point of general organography of medieval instruments.


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1. 12. 1967




How to Cite

Kos, K. (1967). Musical Angels in St. George’s Church at Lovran. Musicological Annual, 3(1), 22-31.