The exhibit Calvari e Viae Crucis in Slovacchia, held from October 19th to November 5th at the Mountain Museum of Torino, was the outcome of the collaboration of the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic and the Documentation Centre of the European Sacred Mounts, Calvaries and Devotional Complexes.
With a series of photographs, drawings and maps, accompanied by clear and concise texts, the exhibit presented the characteristics of the Slovakian Calvaries and Viae Crucis, with particular attention dedicated to the Calvary of Bratislava, that goes back to the 17th century, and the baroque complexes of , Prešov and Košice.
The show was arranged by Katarína Kosovà, Superintendent of Monuments of the Slovak Republic, and it illustrated and enriched research initiated in 2002. It started with the European culture of the recent centuries, which has been deeply influenced by the Christian religion, placing emphasis on episodes of the life of Christ, culminating in his condemnation to death and the climb to Golgotha, where he was crucified. This event, which is considered the act that redeemed the world in the Christian interpretation, has become one of the most significant acts that have inspired the creation of many interesting works. Among these, we find also the Calvaries, and later the Viae Crucis, scattered throughout Europe, that depict in various forms the stages of the path followed by Christ to the Cross.
In Northern Italy, the late-medieval tradition led to the construction in Varallo, in 1491, of a Sepulchre, which then became the prototype of the Sacred Mounts. A vast complex of buildings was erected there that contains narrative representations of the different stations with many figures. In the 16th and 17th centuries, this construction inspired the construction of other Sacred Mounts, especially in Piemonte and Lombardia: Crea, Domodossola, Ghiffa, Orta and Varese.
In Slovakia, one of the manifestations of religious life are the Calvaries and the Viae Crucis in the open, specific sacred complexes that were the exclusive subject of the show. These works, especially the architectural and the sculptures, significantly integrate the character of the entire country and at the same time, are expressions of the interior life and sentiments of the people who created them. The artistic level of these works is quite varied, but at the same time, it is an eloquent reflection of the different social, cultural and economic conditions of that environment.
The exhibit dedicated particular attention to the cult of the Passion in Central Europe and to the erection of the oldest complexes of Calvaries in Slovakia, around the middle of the 17th century. The Calvaries were presented in chronological order, according to the date of their construction. The Viae Crucis, on the other hand, were presented from their beginnings in Slovakia in the 18th century, to their gradual popular diffusion during the 19th and 20th centuries.