After 32 years, the main altarpiece returned to the church of St. George and St. Martin in Martínkovice in the Broumovsk region. It is a copy of the stolen original altarpiece Saint George before the Emperor Diocletian by Felix Antonín Scheffler, a Baroque painter working in the service of the Czech Benedictines. The replica was made by the Czech artist Jan Bohuš. Picture from March 14, 2023.
Martínkovice (Náchod Region) – After 32 years, the main altarpiece returned to the church of St. George and St. Martin in Martínkovice in the Broumovsk region. It is a copy of the stolen original altarpiece Saint George before the Emperor Diocletian by Felix Antonín Scheffler, a Baroque painter working in the service of the Czech Benedictines. The replica was made by Czech artist Jan Bohuš, Broum parish priest Martin Lanži told ČTK today.
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“Thus, the church from the end of the 17th century partially regained its old-fashioned beauty, which it lost during communism and the subsequent looting in the early 1990s. Our effort is to unify the interior of the church in terms of decoration,” said ČTK Lanži.
From in 1999, the altar was decorated with a replacement painting of St. Martin and St. George by the Ukrainian painter Vyacheslav Ilyushenko, who works in the Czech Republic.
“The painting by Vyacheslav Ilyushenko is also nice, but it didn't fit into the space, it had a distracting effect. The painting by Jan Bohuš shows Saint George before the emperor. The copy was installed during the winter. The altar painting by Jan Bohuš is 250 centimeters high and 250 centimeters wide 160 centimeters,” said ČTK Lanži.
The main altar represents a quality work of art and craftsmanship from the beginning of the 18th century, which included an original painting by F.A. Scheffler. Scheffler is also the author of the wall paintings inside the church in Martínkovice, the oldest of the Broumov group of churches.
The original painting was stolen in 1991 by an unknown thief, who sold it three years later at the Viennese Dorothea auction. “Currently, no one knows the owner or the place where the famous painting is located,” Adam Baštinec, spokesman for MEP Tomáš Zdechovský (KDU-ČSL), said in a press release. Zdechovský has been supporting the restoration of Broumov churches for a long time. The preservationists approved the request to place a copy of Scheffler's painting.
The main altar is an integral part of the immovable national cultural monument, the Church of St. George and St. Martin, which is decorated with frescoes depicting subjects from the lives of both saints. The main altar is from the end of the 17th or beginning of the 18th century. On the sides of the altarpiece are statues of St. Lawrence and St. Stephen.
The Broumov churches from the group called the Broumov group of churches are national cultural monuments. There are 11 of them and, according to the Ministry of Culture, they form an interconnected architectural ensemble. It is an exceptional unit due to its stylistic integrity, architectural uniqueness, authenticity and scale, but also due to its urban impact on the landscape. Their authors are prominent Baroque builders Kryštof Dientzenhofer and his son Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer.