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The Restoration of Mural Paintings in the Choirs, the Sacristy and the Naves of the Church

During restoration, the plaster and paint layers covering the mural paintings were gradually removed, while all the overlapping pictorial surfaces have been kept. Loose plaster surfaces were fixed by selvage technique and injection (grouting), plaster gaps being filled with lime mortar. The retouch was elaborated using watercolor without adding a binder, thus the chromatic integration being reversible. The missing portions of the painted surface have been completed using velatura and ritocco techniques. The smaller lacks of plaster layer was retouched with tratteggio technique.
A total of five layers of historical plaster and paint were identified inside the church building:
– The first layer is a painted plaster, burnt to a red hue. The originally yellow plaster is the first such layer applied after the construction of the church, it covered the entire inside surface of the main choir. The yellow plaster was decorated with simple white stripes shaping ashlar masonry. It was probably carried out in the second half of the 13th century.
– The second layer consists of isolated scenes on the Northern and Southern walls of the main choir. These mural paintings were applied over a thick layer of whitewash. One of the Northern wall paintings can be identified as the martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle. On the Southern wall, above the sedilia, there is a fragment displaying Christ on a throne sided by two angels. These mural paintings are the earliest figurative paintings inside the church, elaborated earliest at the end of the 13th century, the latest at the beginning of the 14th century.
– The third layer is that of fragments on the Southern wall of the main choir. The mural paintings carried out as frescoes display chromatic deterioration caused by fire. On the best preserved, central field of the Southern wall the legend of Saint Margaret of Antioch is depicted. The figure of a saint bishop was found inside the sedilia, belonging to this layer as well. The third layer was probably carried out in the first half of the 14th century.
– The fourth layer, the last among medieval ones, layers, once covered the whole inside of the main choir and of the Southern chapel. The mural paintings on the Southern wall and pillars of the Southern nave and on the side facing the nave of the triumphal arch belong to this layer as well. The Annunciation is depicted on the Northern wall of the main choir, the birth of Christ on the arch pane of the North-Eastern apse wall, with the coronation of Virgin Mary below it. The lowest field contains fragmentary figures of saint bishops. On the Northern wall of the Southern chapel, The Last Judgment, Saint Nicholas Calming the Sea and presumably Saint Ursula are depicted. The four doctors of the church (Saint Gregory, Saint Ambrose, Saint Augustine and Saint Jerome) are displayed on the upper field of the Southern wall, and the symbols of the four evangelists are depicted on the vault. Three standing women saints are visible on the Southern wall of the Southern nave. On the Southern side of the first Eastern pillar separating the Southern aisle from the central nave the figure of Saint Oswald, while on the Western side of the pillar, bishop Saint Nicholas is to be seen. An impressive Last Judgment is painted on the nave side of the triumphal arch. The mural painting fragments preserved on the vault of the main choir belong to the same layer. This fourth layer was elaborated between the end of the 14th century and the beginning of the 15th century.
– A layer of whitewashed historical plaster covers the walls of the Northern chapel and of the sacristy, with various scratched inscriptions, those dated ranging in time between the 16th and 18th century.
– The fifth layer consists of inscription fragments from 1703, on the Northern and North-Eastern wall of the main choir and on the first Northern pillar of the main nave. As the inscription on the Northern wall of the main choir covered the scene depicting Saint Bartholomew, it was removed and placed on the Northern wall of the transept.
Fragments of mural paintings were discovered on several external surfaces of the church walls. Some of these are fragments of 14th or 15th century figurative mural paintings (on the walls of the Southern nave and on the Southern wall of the main choir) or ornamental painting adorning the architectural elements (such as the ashlar-imitation in the South-Eastern corner of the Southern side choir or the ornamental painting around the North-Eastern multi-foil window).

.: © 2015 Szeki Reformatus Templom ::: Biserica Reformata din Sic ::: Sic Calvinist Church :.