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The Church of Virgin Saint Mary Assumption by Bernardin Monastery in Budslau was built in 1767-1783 (the dates were published by art-historians at the prewar time and were confirmed by many archives sources). Constantine Pats was considered to be the author of the first project, but an acceptable hypothesis has been made by Voyteh Baberskey, the member of Art Institute of Polish Academy of Science, that the project of church in Budslau belonged to Iosiph Fontano. Fontano came from the famous family of Polish architectors, he was working a lot on the north-east of Belarus. Although he considered to be the author of the first project, but his role during the constructions in Budslau is not clear, especially on the closing stage.He used to perform the function of observer, but on the closing stage that function was fulfilled by Joahannes Kadyn (1778-1781). Joahannes Kadyn was a monach-architector from Bernardin Monastery of Vilensk ("Architecto de Ordine nostro Observantum"). That chronicles is the source of further information about building works and frescos of the church.


All interior works were finished in 1781 and in 1782 the church was plastered. On the seventh of September, 1783 the church was solemnly consecrated by The Second Bishop of Troy. In 1782 a contract with Kazimir Antashevsky was signed. Kazimir Antashevsky was a painter who was to do the optical (imitating) altars and according to the chronicles the contract was fullfilled.The following altars were done: the main altar, St. Francisco's altar, St. Anthony and St. Anna's altars, St.Varvara's altar, St. Fade and St. Iosiph's altars and St. Kazimir's altar, this altar Kazimir Antashevsky had done for free as far as St. Kazimir was his Heavenly Father, for all other altars he had been paid. The altars were mentioned in the inventory books by 1827, 1837, 1839, 1851 and 1929. According to inventory of 1937 all paintings of lateral altars (besides Crucifixion of Jesus) were done on linen and put into the gilding frames. All complex of the optical altars has come to our days without any serious changes.


The second group of paintings using Grisaile method was done by the unknown painter approximately by 1801. According to the chronicles two masters - a painter and an architect took part in this project.The architect was defining the positional part of the plot and the general size.

The scenes of Jesus' Journey to the cross begin on the right site of the main altar and stretching across the lateral arch to the exit by the way of the sun. The independent row of Apostles are spaciously connected with the scenes thus the first scene (Jesus in front of Pelat) adjoining Apostle Peter; the second seine-the unknown Apostle, the third sine - "Apostle with the ax" (Matphey), the fourth sine - Ian Baptist.

Calvariysky cycle is continuing across the walls of the north arch, beginning from the entrance: on the right site from the altar of St. Fadey - "The unknown Apostle", above the fifth scene, on both walls from the Jesus' altar - "Evangelist Mark" and "Evangelist Luke". Further on, the four scenes are stretching (VII-XII) and correspondingly to them the Apostles are drawn on the inner arch's piles.

Fragment 'Miracles of the icon of the Mother of God of Budslau'
Pope Clement VIII presents the icon of the Mother of God to Jan Pac.
To this group of painting using Grisile methods stylistically belong 8 scenes on the theme of miracles of Budslausky Icon of Lord's Mother. They were mentioned in the monastery chronicles in 1822. The icon, that is now places in the main altar and has got wide recognition, had been brought from Rome in 1598 by Voevoda Ian Pats, and after his death presented to the monastery, where recently became glorified by its miracles and became one of the most famous in The Great Lithuanian Kingdom. In 1659 the book "Zwierzyniec na ziemy niebieski..." with the description of the history of the icon and its miracles was published. Perhaps, that book, and also oral and written stories made the literary base for the describing group of frescos.It is rather hard to concretizes the given group of scenes, as far as their great majority is similar in its compositional diversity. The scenes are put into the frames and on the bottom they have semicircular shape, in the middle all frescos are semetrically divided by rose and all 16 stories are illustrated in the identical manner. The composition is also identical: the Icon of Budslausky Lord's Mother is on the top of the cloud, people of different ranks and classes are standing in front of it in the prayer of worship. There is one scene that differs in its plot and composition from the rest, it is the scene where the process of getting the icon by Voevoda Ian Pats is shown. High professional level of the drawing should be stressed.


The inventory of 1812 states that the frescos on the dome were finished, but more logical looks the hypothesis that the dome was finished before 1801.Unfortunatly there are no facts about the time when the frescos on the dome were whitened and coated with plaster.

The painter Kazimir Antashevskey is not a very famous figure in the history of art of Belarus. "Slownik artystow polskich" referes to him as to the author of the frescos in Minsk Cathedral. At first, all frescos were done by Volosevich, former teacher of Vilens Gymnasium. In the middle of 19th century the icons were reconstructed by Targonskey.The write Vladymir Syracomlia was writing in his famous book "Sketch about Minsk" : " all tree domes were ordered to decorate with frescos and symbols from the New Testimony, but they were painted so insignificant that did not move and impressed anyone". Syrokomlia also stated that one of the icons of " Jesus Journey To The Cross" was painted by Antashevseky.


In recently published edition of description of Minsk hierarchy, done by Radvan, is stated that in the church of St. Apostle Fadey all walls and five altars were covered with frescos done by Antashevskey. Antashevskey left after himself frescos in many different churches of Minsk. In the main altar the sculptural crucifixion was placed, in the lateral altars-icons of St. Anthony, St. Anna and St. Fadey. Unfortunately, all frescos were completely redesigned.

Limited archives and literal sources are not allowed us to say whether it is one and the same Antoshevskey or namesakes. It is embarrassing that the best painter of Minsk remained unknown to Edvatd Rastotskey, the author of the first "Slownik malarzow Polskich" (Warszawa, 1859). But recently Denisov found the archives singes, proving the name and location of Antashevskey.

The information from the monastery chronicles is very useful for the identification of Antashevskey's personality. He was a painter by The Court of Lord Lopatskey. Probably, that is one of the reasons why at the time when the frescos were created he was living not far from the place in Sharkovshena. Later on he moved to Minsk, probably after the death of his Patron, Lord Lopatinskey. If all frescos in Budslausky Church belong to Antashevskey, then we could not but notice the stylistic changes that he had undergone in his works. There is a high probability that there were two painters.

In any case, the polylaveled complex of Budslausky Church is a unique one in number of monumental frescos that are in good condition and the church is also an interesting sample of baroque and classical epoch.

Basedonthe article "Rospisy Budslauskaha kasciola"
(Mural Painting of the Church in Budslau)

by Aliaksandr Yarashevich, Nasha viera No 16 (2-2001).
Photo by M. Mielnikau.

Copyright (c) 2001 - Pro Christo

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