St. James Cathedral in Šibenik
19 Sep 2016

St. Jacob’ cathedral located in Šibenik is one of the premier examples of 15th and 16th century architecture in Croatia. Protected by UNESCO, it is a world heritage site.

Its uniqueness stems from the fact that is was made entirely out of stone.It is also well known for its iconography. The best example is the frieze of 74 head sculptures (individual portraits of the contemporaries of Juraj Dalmatinac), famous all around the world. Take a look at the exterior of the cathedral!


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In her book, Delightful Dalmatia, Alice Lee Honor Moque writes thus about the cathedral:

Of the famous cathedral associated with his name, Jackson says: “It is worthy to rank with any Italian work of its date and class that I know, and tho there are churches as beautiful on the other side of the Adriatic, it would be difficult to match it in singularity of construction. Indeed, riot only Italy but Europe may be challenged to show another church of this size in which neither timber nor brick is employed, everything being constructed of good squared stone, marble and metal.”

I confess that neither John nor I know very much about “wagon-roofs” or shafts which the archeologists tell us are “Monoliths without entasis, resting on Attic bases with angle leaves, or toes.” But even without a knowledge of its technical perfections we
could agree with Dr. Neal, who declares the cathedral to be “the most striking and most Christian of all Dalmatian churches.” Having been built entirely of marble and stone, it has withstood the centuries. It is built in the shape of a cross, and has Giorgio’s famous Renaissance stone dome. But, unlike almost every other cathedral with a stone-vaulted ceiling, it has no outer roof of either timber, tiles, or lead.

The doors of the cathedral are particularly famous. The one at the eastern end of the side wall is the most magnificent. At least the authorities, whose word is law about such things, say so. ::: The molding of carved leaves around the doorway is exquisitely done, and
the delicately arabesqued columns twisted and fluted, which support each side, are worthy of much more  time than we were able to spare them.

The west door, with its scroll work and pinnacled canopies, as well as this Lion’s Doorway, were the work of a celebrated Venetian sculptor, Antonio, who is believed to have been a son of Pietro Paolo of Venice, who designed and constructed the beautiful choir-screen in St. Mark’s Cathedral. Antonio’s work here in Sebenico is said to resemble in many
of its characteristics the work done by Peter Paul, his famous fattier. But notwithstanding his beautiful designs, his lovely scrolls and wealth of fanciful decorations, he couldn’t suit the church authorities; for they became dissatisfied with him and his work and sent him off. Then it was that Giorgio, the famous “George of Sebenico,” was invited to come
from Venice and finish the duomo.

That’s it for now!


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