Dear friends, Despite of having long-term experience in publishing in other areas, through the AXIS MEDIA company I have for the first time entered the environment of medal production. There have been several reasons for this decision. The topic is going beyond the borders of not only Slovakia but the ones of Europe as well. The genuine work of the academic sculptress Ľudmila Cvengrošová, an admirable and nice artist. The fine text by the Bishop Viliam Judák. The “Popes in history” edition in this range is a unique work in the world. It proves our potential to offer a work eliminating borders through its mission. Literally and metaphorically, too. The fabulous processing of noble metals and miniatures produced with the smallest details possible will for sure attract the interest of antiquarians but also of those interested in this topic. Although this is a limited edition I am convinced that it will be provided to everybody who wants to commemorate significant part of the historical continuity and Christian civilization. I am pleased to have become part of this unique project, and I believe that whether the medals or this lovely book will present a good message on us in the world and on the world in us.
There is one thing we always know for sure – that by having set a target for himself/herself an artist actually opens a wonderful world of invention and creativity. In the recent years the academic sculptress and medal maker Ľudmila Cvengrošová has devoted herself to marvellous group projects including a precious cycle of male and female monarchs of the House of Habsburg crowned at the St. Martin’s Cathedral in Bratislava in times when our capital of Slovakia had been the capital of the Hungarian Empire for several decades, too. An example of another splendid and invention challenge is a set of coloured reliefs depicting women who came to be known in the position of monarchs or saints by having done something useful or by having lived exemplary lives which attracted the interest of other people; however, those were also women who proved courage and irrepressible ambition to pursue their will. Ultimately, there is a last challenge to which our excellent creative artist has responded in the form of the cycle titled Popes in history. As the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic I have the honour to state that it was exactly the academic sculptress Ľudmila Cvengrošová who in the Great Jubilee of 2000 was provided with the opportunity to portray the face of the Slavonic Pope John Paul II. As usual, our unique Slovak artist managed this assignment with amazing care, consistence, and honesty. Therefore, I am not surprised that the recent project of Cvengrošová titled Popes in history depicts 134 portraits of Roman pontiffs reaching from Saint Peter to the current Pope Francis in minute space of seven medals. I am pleased to have the honour to contribute to this book with a few lines and thus to express my deep respect to our noble Slovak artist Ľudmila Cvengrošová. Unfortunately, the Slovaks usually appreciate their artists as late as when they lose their creative abilities or even when they are not alive anymore. I am delighted to state that the work of the academic sculptress Ľudmila Cvengrošová drew attention of Ivan Gašparovič, the President of the Slovak Republic, who in 2007 awarded her the Order of Ľudovít Štúr. It was exactly Štúr who was an example of personal devotion and unselfish love for the Slovak nation; therefore, I am pleased by the fact that this subtle woman with a great creative heart has been acknowledged by the Slovaks while still being alive. That is the way it should be!
The history of papacy, respectively the history of popes, is a unique phenomenon in the world history. At the first moment, a true Catholic thinks of a successor of St. Peter to whom Christ entrusts his small community with an assignment to strengthen the faith of his brothers. Undoubtedly, this feature has been preserved in the history of papacy; however, we can and must observe how this work has been spread in history and in what manner the office of the St. Peter’s successor has been formed, and in what way it has been embedded in the individual historical stages. The blessing hands of these successors of Peter the Apostle remind us of words of Jesus Christ that he said to Peter: “Do to others as you would have them do to you”. I think this is a benefit through which we can solve problems of the current globalized world.
The work of Ľudmila Cvengrošová responds to many topics. However, substantial part of her production is devoted to history which had fascinated the sculptress already at a young age and which has become her real love and inspiration for all of her life. From the artistic and social points of view the history-related topics undoubtedly constitute the most important part of her work. The academic sculptress Ľudmila Cvengrošová was born and grew up in the municipality of Radošina,
in a region of future discoveries of significant monuments of the Great Moravia in the neighbouring municipalities of Nitrianska Blatnica or Bojna. Her natural interest in exciting discoveries of ancient life already in the 1970s was stimulated by contacts with archaeology. The results of this kind of science inspired her to make many plastic sculptures, reliefs, and medals being inspired by significant discoveries or periods of Slovakia historically known or vanishing in the darkness of ancient times.
The interest of Cvengrošová in arts, history, and society is not limited to Slovakia only. She aids her marvellous creative potential also at persons and personalities of the European history whom
she combines into comprehensively drafted cycles of plastic sculptures, reliefs, or medals. In terms of visual arts this cycle of papal medals undoubtedly belongs to the author’s best works. I believe that by its ambitious engagement and excellent content value this work will become a permanent contribution to the Slovak and European medallist production.