The panels were painted and decorated
with wide-ranging figurative motifs and images, religious and
secular, by folk-artists. The medium was oil paints. Over 600
motifs have been discovered from the preserved collection of 3000
The beekeepers acquired the painted bee panels through several
means: by purchasing them at fairs or from peddlers, ordering
them from painters or travelling painters who went from house
to house offering their services.
The classical period of the beehive panels endured from 1820 to
1880; the art form of the beehive panel died by 1918. With the introduction
of a larger hive by Anton Znidarsic at the end of the nineteenth
century, the art form died out. The content of the illustrations
became trivial. The panels spread throughout Slovenia and Korosska,
except for the southern regions of Dolenjska and Bela Krajina.
The oldest panels dated from mid-18th
century were painted in a simple folk style during the time of
the Baroque. The oldest known bee-hive front board is dated 1758
and depicts the Madonna with Child. Among the religious subjects
depicted on the panels are: events from the Old and New Testaments
(creation of the world, the garden of Eden, Joseph, Job, John
the Baptist, Mary, Jesus Christ) images of the saints, especially
patron saints; amongst them St. Florijan, St. Anthony, St. Barbara,
St.Agnes, St. Hubert, St.Lucy.
The secular subject matter was inspired
by everyday life, folktales, festivities, and historical events.
The subjects included the depiction of animal and hunting motifs,
various professions, aspects of the society and the human condition.
The scenes covered a gamut of content and were expressed also
with humour, caricature, satirical comment and social criticism.There
is the devil grinding a woman's tongue, a world "turned up
side down"; of a huntsman's funeral where the animals are
the pall-bearers (the social meaning is the reversal of the master
The largest exhibit of beehive panels
is located at the Beekeeping museum at Linhartov trg 1, Thurn
Manor in Radovljica - Gorenjska.
From Steve Fallon, Slovenian
Lonely Planet travel survival kit (Melbourne,1995)
dr. Emlijan Cevc in Ida Gnilssak (ed.), Pripovedi s panjev