10 Interesting Facts About the Church of St. Stephen in Starigrad City, Island Hvar, Croatia ( plus my acrylic sketch and oil painting)
Today I'm sharing a quick acrylic sketch of church of Saint Stephen in Starigrad, a city located on island Hvar, Croatia. I already painted this church with oil paints, so I'll share that painting as well. What is so special about this church? For start, it played an important role in one of my favourite TV Croatian series of all times, the legendary 'Malo Misto'. I will get back to this church, but first let me explain my connection to this island that is often described as one of the most beautiful islands in the world. I don't know if you know, but my mother was born on island Hvar and I had actually spent a lot of time there, mostly during my childhood. I grew up in Split (Croatia), but before we started school we would sometimes spent months at time on the island. Not in Starigrad, though. However, Starigrad would often be the first thing I saw when I would set food on the island because that is where the ferry docks so I grew to associate Starigrad with Hvar.
Naturally, Starigrad has a special place in my heart. It is one of the oldest cities in Croatia. It was actually founded by the ancient Greeks. How this happened? After a natural catastrophe on island Faros in Greece, the habitans of that island boarded a ship in a search of a new home and they picked this place on island Hvar. I used to think it was the oldest, but in the meantime I learned that it is competing with another city so depending on the definition and the interpretation of the term, Starigrad can be considered either the first or the second oldest city in Croatia. You can see my previous visits to Starigrad (island Hvar, Croatia) here, here and here.
Lately I've been working more with acrylic paints, but I plan to return to olive painting soon. I'm working with all kinds of mediums right now. I love it but my hands are finding it hard to keep up. The soul is strong, but the body is weak- something that is suppose is true for most of us. It is hard to bring to this world what we are hiding in our hearts. I'm so full of drawing and painting ideas, that sometimes it seems like the top of my head will just pop off. Making all my art idea happen is a bit more difficult. I will probably need to take a break before I lose the use of my right hand (it hurts so much).
Interesting facts about the church of St. Stephen, located in Starigrad city on island Hvar
1. It was build at the start of the 17 century, more precisely from 1605 onward.
2. It was build on a site of an old church. That previous church was build in the 9/10 century and it had served as a cathedral for the bishop of island Hvar, until 1278 when the city was placed under protection of Venetian republic. From then on, the bishop was based in Hvar city, located not far from Starigrad (Hvar is both the name of the largest city and the island itself).
3. The church was severely damaged by Ottoman attack in 1571. One of Ottoman admirals raided the city prior to participating in the battle of Leopoldo. It was when the town managed to recover from devastation, that the construction of this church began (that is in 1605).
4. The Bell Tower was completed in 1753. It stands apart of the church. The Latin inscription of the bell tower indicates that the stone blocks used for the lower part of the tower were originally brought from Faros, Greece!
5. In the base of the bell tower there is a ruin of Roman merchant city, dating back to second century AD. I haven't actually seen it, but it is on my 'to see' list when I visit this place again.
6. The church was build from stone brought from island Korcula (Korčula) which oxides over time. This oxidation gives the stone its signature reddish brown colour. I find this stone quite beautiful and I can only hope to do it justice with my paintings some day.
7. The church is a three- nave basilica with a squire apse. It is build in a Dalmatian Baroque style. If you visit Dalmatia, you'll have the chance of seeing this style on most old churches. I personally can't get enough of it.
8. The main portal on the facade is the work of master Ivan Pomerich (Pomerić) from island Korcula (Korchula/ Korčula). Ivan probably designed the whole facade and he also worked on the cathedral of St. Stephen in Hvar city. The Baroque facade features a semicircular garble, a large portal and two smaller size portals. Above the entrance and the central portal, you can also notice a lovely rose window.
9. The Church holds several valuable works of art. The most notable work of art is a triptych depicting Saint Mary, Saint John The Baptist and St. Jerome, a work of Venetian master Francesco Gelomano de Santacroce (1516-1584).
10. On the outside of the church, you can find a stone relief of Eros, dating back to times when Starigrad was an ancient Greek city. The church itself is located on the square of Saint Stephen, in the centre of the city.
Alright, now that we talked about this church to my hearth content, here comes the oil painting of it, that I did back in 2015. I gave this oil paining to a family friend. His whole family loves painting (I was pretty sure they're into art, because they often purchase paintings from local artists). So, I think this was a good choice of a present. I think they liked it. They displayed it at the prominent place in their living room, so if that is a sure indication, they do like it. Interesting, one of those family friends took the same art course I did, years later, so we even had one exhibition together. That was just lovely! You can see how love for art can connect people.
When I look back at this old painting, all I can think is how brave I was to just jump into working with oil paints without knowing almost anything about it. In the meantime, I took a few art courses and learned a few things, but I still like my early works because they show a passion for painting, something that I hope I still have. Moreover, I hope I will be able to keep that passion for art and painting.
|work of Croatian artist/ sculptor Juraj Škarpa here|
That would be all for today! I hope you have enjoyed this post. If you would like to read more about Starigrad city or about island Hvar, let me know and I will browse my archives to prepare more posts for you. Have a fantastic day!