Silvia Fedorová, Boa, 2000 (photo by Jana Hojstričová)

Visual arts

Visual arts traditions in Slovakia reach far into the past. In the course of centuries the visual expression of our ancestors was combined with the crafting excellence of artists from foreign countries. These traditions blossomed into the suggestive expression of the Gothic, the pompous magnificence of the Baroque, but mostly into the awakening national consciousness of the 19th century which was accompanied by an interest in Classicism, Romanticism, Historicism and Realism. The interwar period brought a great shift forward, paving the way for developments in the late 1960s when, thanks to some outstanding people, the visual arts in Slovakia reached a European standard.
When Slovak spirits were freed from barriers and the borders with Europe and the world were opened, there arose a great opportunity for Slovak visual artists, not only to receive motivation from outside, but also to present the values of Slovak visual arts abroad. The current picture of Slovak visual arts development is one of overlapping efforts by some generations and by numerous opinion orientations embracing the whole spectrum from classical tendencies to intermedia subjects and processes that make use of computers and video appliances. Visual happening is supported by various artistic and professional organisations, interest associations and state, regional, municipal and private galleries as well as other devoted individuals, artists and lovers of this form of artistic expression.

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Colonnade Bridge, Piešťany, 2014 (photo by Tomáš Manina)

Architecture

by prof. Henrieta Moravčíková

The majority of visitors perceive Slovakia as a country of castles dominating the mountain ridges alongside the former trade routes or on the borders of historical kingdoms which possessed this land in the past. It’s nothing to be surprised at. After all, the organic structures of these fortifications line most of the roads to this day, dominate numerous settlements and rank among the most important monuments. Some of them – e.g. Bratislava Castle, Spiš Castle or Trenčín Castle – have made Slovakia famous internationally. However, valuable architectural works in the territory of Slovakia are much more heterogeneous than just the aforementioned fortifications from the Middle Ages. The variety of styles is the trademark of Slovak architectural heritage. In a relatively small territory, a visitor can find not just the oldest monuments in the form of Roman or ancient Slavic remains of buildings and Gothic or Baroque masterpieces, but also some extraordinary works of twentieth -century modern architecture. The distinctive feature of these works is that they are not concentrated in one place, because they were built in particular parts of the country that were prospering during a particular period. This is why the most magnificent works of the Middle Ages emerged in the northern parts of Slovakia, in the territory of towns of the Spiš region (henceforth referred to as “Spiš towns”), while the most valuable Baroque or Modern architectural works can be found in the western parts of the country. Slovak architectural heritage is also very distinctive as it emerged on the eastern border of Central Europe under the influence of various cultural centres and value systems affecting Slovakia both alternately and simultaneously depending on the specific time period.

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