AN EPISODE OF COUNTERREFORMATION IN VIDZEME: THE TOMB OF PATRICIUS NIDECKI AS A NEW PARADIGM IN THE ART OF LATVIA (Kontrreformacijas epizode Vidzeme: Patricija Nidecka kapene ka jauna paradigma Latvijas maksla)
The diocese of Livonia was founded by Stephen Batory with his decree of 4 December 1582 and the status of St. John's Church in Cesis was upgraded to serve as the Livonian bishops' cathedral. The king nominated Andreas Patricius Nidecki to be the bishop who took up the position on 20 May 1585. The episode of counterreformation has left an undoubtedly significant artwork to Vidzeme and the art of Latvia in general - the tomb of bishop Nidecki immured into the wall of the Cesis Cathedral. This type of burial was known already in Italy since the 14th century but presumably, it was not widespread in the territory of Latvia. The tomb of Patricius Nidecki reveals an attempt to create an architectonic construction where order has been used in the arrangement. The base of the monument (130 cm high) is divided by five pilasters, which uphold the profiled cornice. There is a folded quadrate niche on the large base, extended horizontally (102 x 190 cm) and adorned by order motifs. The stone plaque is placed with a figurative relief depicting the recumbent bishop with his sceptre in the left hand and an open book by his right hand. The sculptural solution is worthy of special attention apart from this particular feature. Not only the wall tomb as such, but the peculiar pose of the dead (similar to Etruscan burial examples where the deceased is no longer depicted lying horizontally, but rising a little from this position, leaning on one elbow) is also considered to be a significant novelty in the evolution of Latvia's sculpture. The first author of this type is Italian sculptor Andrea Sansovino. His idea was brought by Italian masters to Krakow during the first decade of the 16th century and the bearers of the ideas of counterreformation also brought this arrangement with them to the territory of Latvia.
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