Franciscan monastery

Hvar, Croatia

On the cape to the south of the Hvar lies the Franciscan Monastery with a church of Our Lady of Mercy, built in the late 15th century. Hanibal Lucić's grave is under the main altar in the church. The cloister, with its monumental rounded arches with a well in the middle, dominates the whole of the Renaissance monastery. The bell tower, in Renaissance style, is the work of an artist from Korčula.

Within the peace and quiet of the monastery walls, you can enjoy a rich display of museum exhibits (collections of Greek, Roman and Venetian coins, liturgical items, atlas of the ancient cartographer Ptolemaeus, rare exhibits of amphora, etc), as well as paintings of Venetian artists like Francesco Santacroce and Palma Junior. The monastery is known for its magnificent painting of the Last Supper (2 x 8 m) which leaves everyone breathless. Some critics believe it is the work of a painter from Ravenna Matteo Ingoli, whilst others think that the painting belongs to the school of Palma Junior. One more rarity that makes the monastery famous is the 300-year old cypress that is located in the garden of the monastery.

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Details

Founded: 15th century
Category: Religious sites in Croatia

More Information

www.visit-hvar.com

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

benjamin kilin (4 months ago)
it's nice to be visited
Karlo Šunjo (5 months ago)
They have museum worth visiting. There's a great collection of coins all the way from antic Greece. Archeological collection of antic dishes from Roman ships is mind boggling. Also, relief from Meštrović is awe inspiring. Church is beautiful with beautiful iconostsis-looking wall between choir and the pews. Must see
Louis Friedlander (6 months ago)
Nice place, well preserved. Unfortunately museum was closed when we visited.
David Bisset (2 years ago)
The church is a stunning landmark with an interesting interior. The museum is interesting with mostly nautical exhibits. The large painting of the Last Supper is an important work of Venetian art. There is also a small shaded garden with sea views. We had a long - and useful - conversation with the custodian.
Dave T (2 years ago)
Lovely little monastery in a stunning spot on your way out of town. Small museum and a few relics inside but not much else. Small, nice, but nothing spectacular pop in of passing, but don't go out of your way
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Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

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The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.