Kveto Hecko Headshot KVETO HECKO

St. Barbara’s Chapel

(1995) 20min

A time lapse account of a four years restoration and reconstruction of an abandoned and hidden Baroque chapel

This documentary shows in 20 minutes the process of four years restoration of a relative small place that was hidden for years in the Grassalkovich Palace in the center of Bratislava, capital of Slovak Republic. You won’t hear a word of commentary in this movie, but you can enjoy the Baroque sonata scored by a contemporary composer Anton Kubasak in the same style that someone could hear more than two hundred years ago at this very same place. The restoration of this beautiful and historically relevant Baroque place is a work of three artists and restaurateurs. They did an amazing job during the multiple hot summers and harsh winters performing complex work both from architectural and artistic point of view. They restored trompe l’oeil walls, ceiling paintings of genesis, tall altar picture of St. Barbara, doors, window frames, as well as hundreds of other small details. They had to take down the tertiary and secondary wall layers to reveal the oldest primary layer, then dug hundred of thousands dips in that layer and recreated the inner facade into its original state that even W. A. Mozart might have been able to see. The St. Barbara’s Chapel is located in the palace that had become a coronation place for Hungarian kings and queens, when Budapest was besieged by Turks. Surprisingly after the WWII the palace became a Public Children Playhouse for the new generation of socialist children growing in the communist Czechoslovakia. In a certain way the chapel got forgotten for tens of years, because the Catholic religion had been in conflict with ruling communist doctrine and chapel slowly had turned into a storage room full of flags, banners, float propaganda - regalia of the future communist youth - pioneers.

After the Velvet Revolution in 1989 during the general restoration research of the whole palace this small gem of a forgotten chapel had been found and eventually restored to its original beauty.

If you are interested in watching a movie that explores another type of architectural approach, used in contemporary theatre arts and scenography, watch the movie Scenographic Attack on Groningen.

Director, Writer
Kveto Hecko
Nina Heckova, Kveto Hecko
Film Festivals
Artfilm Trencianske Teplice, Slovakia, 1997; Bangkok, Thailand, 1997
Slovak Television
Telemuse Award for the Best Documentary 1996, Slovakia; Slovak Government Award 1996, Slovakia