Tone Kralj, paintings in the St. Lucy’s Church

Tone Kralj, paintings in the St. Lucy’s Church

  • Author: David Štulc Zornik
  • Author: David Štulc Zornik
  • Author: David Štulc Zornik
  • Author: David Štulc Zornik
  • Author: David Štulc Zornik

You are Tone Kralj – a painter renowned both locally and internationally. Not long ago your works were exhibited in Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Belgrade, Ljubljana and Vienna. After a long period, you return to Most Na Soči in 1940. A lot has changed since 1927 when you were restoring the altars in St. Lucy’s Church: you are married now and you have a daughter. The parish priest Abram, a writer and mountaineering enthusiast who you got along very well with when you first worked with him, has been relocated due to fascism. The changed landscape also surprises you – once popular among tourists, the confluence of the Idrija River and the Soča River has been submerged by the lake.

Work of great significance
In the last few years you have been painting in the territory of Slovenia that was annexed to Italy after World War I. When painting churches, you often used national symbols which was very risky. Your artistic endeavours, carefully chosen motifs and your presence alone nevertheless built up the nationhood, while your paintings and a comprehensive approach to reconstructing St. Lucy's Church created a monument, which experts will not recognize until half a century later.

Owl challenge

How many churches in the Primorska Region were painted by Tone Kralj?


Apart from his rich oeuvre of paintings and sculptures, Tone Kralj also painted over 40 churches along Slovenia’s west ethnic border. This puts him in a unique position not only at the European but also at the international level.

Did you know?
Not a single church painted by Tone Kralj is without anti-fascist motifs or Slovenia’s national symbols.

How to recognize Kralj’s works?
His Mary is usually dressed in Slovenia’s national colours (white, blue, red), while Christ represents the Slovene nation.

His Pontius Pilate often has Mussolini's face and his helpers hold fascist symbols in their hands (a bundle of wooden rods and an axe), and are dressed in the colours of Italy's flag (red, white, green).

St. Cyril and Methodius are representatives of the Slavic identity. They are often depicted as holding an open book in their hands with a text in Glagolitic script. They represent the presence of Slovenians in this area.

Interesting history of the church
During his visit of the Soča region in 1583, the Archbishop Paolo Bisanti also visited the confluence of the Idrija River and the Soča River, because the locals bestowed upon him a request to be allowed to build a new church, even though the St. Maurus’ Church (now: burial church) had already been erected on the hill overlooking the confluence of the rivers. As the Archbishop was originally from Kotor, he also understood the Slovene language. The locals told him they wanted to build a new church below St. Maurus at Mirišče, where a small castle where St. Lucy’s Church had already once stood. This is where a spring of water was said to be, which could heal those with eye disorders. Two “prophets” also testified that the remains of an ancient church are buried underground at Mirišče. The Archbishop verified the location and was surprised to find the remains of walls. He granted the locals permission to build the church and the construction soon began. At the time, this was a majestic church that was consecrated to St. Lucy in 1612. After that, the town by the confluence of the Idrija River and the Soča River was no longer named St. Maurus’ Bridge but was renamed Bridge at St. Lucy’s.

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