One thing you’ll notice about Ljubljana is that everything is closeby. It will probably not take you by surprise that in such a tiny city different spaces flourish one next to the other – and it so happens that the central market in all its livelihood stands by the main cathedral and seminary, places of quietness and religious contemplation.
The seminary inhabits an early 17th-century building. The library hidden within (it is possible to organize a group visit) holds great “treasures” of baroque splendor, such as the beautifully painted illusionistic ceiling done by Guilio Qualio. There is, however, a telling link between the outside and the inside – the stone portal.
Adorned by two giants guarding the knowledge inside and carrying the portal’s crossbeam, the portal itself represents the passage from secular to sacred. The inscription above that reads “VIRTUTI ET MUSIS” inclines that this institution honors virtues and the arts (muses). To me, the true magnificence of this portal created by stonemason Luka Mislej and sculptor Angelo Putti is the combination of symbols coming from different eras and ideologies. I understand the two Atlantes as holders of the Earth as they remind me of Atlas from Greek mythology. Angel or putto as a symbol co-exists in both worlds – as a heavenly creature and as Eros, the son of Aphrodite. But here is my challenge for you: can you find the fourth figure representing St. Nicolas? Hint – you will find it if you wish to open the door.