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Romanska rotunda v Selu

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Church of St. Nicholas in Selo (municipality of Moravske Toplice)

According to its cultural and historical testimony, the church is a Romanesque rotunda from the first half of the 13th century. Visitation records from 1698 report that it was built by the Templars. However, this early medieval building was substantially rebuilt in 1845 and 1846.

The provincial starting point for the material origin of the Peasant Rotunda gives this building the reputation of being the oldest building in Slovenia, in addition to the Turniška and Domanjše examples.

Until 1864, a late Gothic wing altar from around 1490 stood in the apse of the peasant rotunda, but was then transferred to Budapest. The rotunda space was not painted at first and was revived only by a shimmering brick structure. Already in the first half of the 14th century, the north wall under the dome with the motifs of the Tribute of the Three Kings was painted behind the old base. It is an early Gothic drawing style, characterized by a wide black drawing filled with flat use of colors. The tendency towards painterly modeling has not yet been detected.

Original altarpiece, National Gallery of Hungary
Around 1400, the entire interior was again covered with a thin layer of plaster and painted. The iconographic scene of the Three Kings is repeated on the north wall, while the continuation of the Passion, which begins in the lower strip of the dome, is painted on the south wall. This belt is separated from the top of the dome by painted zigzag ribbon ornaments. The central place at the top of the dome is occupied by an elliptical rainbow halo (mandorla) stretched across the entire arch, in which Sts. Trinity and Christ. Outside the mandorla are arranged symbols of the evangelists. In the lower part of the dome, scenes from Christ's suffering are arranged in rectangular fields, which then continue in a logical sequence at the bottom of the wall. The cycle of the Passion begins just above the front window with a scene of Christ in the pre-hell indicated by a personified monster with Adam in his throat. Stylistically, these paintings belong to the Gothic idealistic-plastic style.

The lower part of the wall with niches was probably painted by another master. Remains of saintly figures can also be seen, but with the exception of some (the patron saint of the church, St. Nicholas, St. Dorothea, St. Margaret, St. Magdalene) are almost completely destroyed.

Although we do not know the name of the peasant painters, their work speaks of qualities that exceed the painting capabilities of the Martian, Turnik and Velemer master Janez Aquila. The rotunda has no bells, so the bells hang in a stand-alone wooden tower.

Source: "Description of the immovable cultural heritage unit, record number 641". Reviewer of the Register of Cultural Heritage (Cultural Heritage Protection Act, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 16/2008). Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.

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