This Hungarian church has blue skies painted on its tiled ceiling

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There's a small church in the Hungarian town of Szentgyörgyvölgy, which has blue and white clouds and flowers with yellow, Sun-like floral motifs all over its tiled ceiling.

Calvinist church in Hungary

Unlike most Calvinist churches, the one in Szentgyörgyvölgy has colorful decoration on its ceiling and balcony (Photo: Anita Diós)

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Unlike most of the Catholic churches and chapels, Calvinist churches rarely have any conspicuous paintings and decoration on their walls and ceilings. The Calvinist church of Szentgyörgyvölgy is an exception, though – its eye-catching ceiling built of wooden cassettes resemble the cloudy skies, and also depicts some mainly yellow and orange colored flower motifs.

Calvinist church in Hungary

(Photo: Anita Diós)

The single-nave church was built in late Baroque style in 1787, only a few years after the decree of Joseph II on religious tolerance, but the tower was only finished in 1806. Before that, a small wooden belfry – as typical in the region – was erected near the church. The pulpit and the cassetted ceiling were also completed by 1828.

Calvinist church in Hungary

(Photo: Anita Diós)

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Each of the wooden cassettes were painted separately, most of them are depicting clouds in bright blue and white, but there is also a central floral motif, that resembles the Sun with its vivid orange and yellow colors and almost flame-like “petals”. There are smaller orange floral motifs, too. The balanced use of the complementary colors make the whole artwork lively and strikingly dynamic.

Calvinist church in Hungary

(Photo: Pásztörperc / Wikipedia.org)

Not only the ceiling, but also the parapet of the balcony and the pillars that support this structure are painted. The latter has mostly smaller, white and blue floral decoration on blue background.

Beside the clouds and floral motifs, written text can also be seen on the painted cassettes. There are two quotes from the Scripture – one from the The First Book of Moses (28:17), the other from the Psalms (84:1) –, and also a few words about when, and by whom the painted cassettes were made.

Calvinist church in Hungary

(Photo: Anita Diós)

Calvinist church in Hungary

(Photo: Pásztörperc / Wikipedia.org)

As it is stated, András Patkó painted the cassettes in 1829, and it's also noted that István Hais was the pastor by that time. András Patkó was not a professional artist, but a teacher for the Reformed Church in the small town, who was 77 years old and retired by the time he completed the cassettes. The renovation of the church began in 2000.

Calvinist church in Hungary

(Photo: Anita Diós)

Anita Diós

May 2018

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