Showing posts with label Evelin Wetter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Evelin Wetter. Show all posts

Friday, September 16, 2011

Late Medieval Goldsmith Works in the Kingdom of Hungary

A new book by Evelin Wetter has been dedicated to late medieval goldsmith works from the historical Kingdom of Hungary. The book was published in the series Studia Jagellonica Lipsiensia, published by the GWZO at the University of Leipzig. The series consists of art historical volumes about the time of the Jagiellonian dynasty (broadly interpreted as Central Europe during the 14-16th centuries). Of the eight books published so far in the series, this is the first one dedicated entirely to medieval Hungary.

Evelin Wetter currently works at the Abbeg Stiftung in Riggisberg, and is a noted expert on late medieval liturgical textiles and goldsmith works. She has published extensively on these subjects, and contributed to various major Central European projects, such as the 2003 exhibition on Gothic Art held in Bratislava, or the 2006 Sigismundus-exhibition in Budapest. The present book is based on her Habilitationsschrift at the University of Leipzig.

Reliquary bust of St. Ladislas from Várad cathedral
Győr, Cathedral Treasury 
Titled Objekt, Überlieferung und Narrativ - Spätmittelalterliche Goldschmiedekunst im historischen Königreich Ungarn (Object, tradition, and narrative - Late medieval goldsmith's art in the historic Kingdom of Hungary), the book represents a major milestone in the research of Hungarian medieval goldsmith works. Unlike most other works published in this field, the book is not dedicated to details of technical questions, but rather focuses on the use and afterlife of the medieval objects. Significant chapters are dedicated to the survival and later use of liturgical objects and reliquaries, often in circumstances quite different from the time of their creation. Another focus of the book is the historiography, display and later interpretation of these objects. The chronological range of the book is thus from the early-15th century to the early 20th, while the territorial focus is largely determined by the survival of the objects, and is thus mainly Upper Hungary (roughly the present-day Slovakia) and Transylvania. The subject of the analysis includes such key works as the reliquary of St. Ladislas, as well as lesser-known objects, giving an overall view of the field. The often hard historical situations, the destruction of major medieval centers and the changing confessions of the population are equally treated, resulting in a complex analysis of Central European history. The chapters on 19th century historiography - especially in connection with such questions as filigree enamel - are similarly captivating. Another chapter is dedicated to profane goldsmith works, including those luxurious items which entered the Museum of Applied Arts from the Esterházy-treasury. The book is beautifully illustrated with 20 color plates and numerous black & white illustrations. All in all, the book represents a much-needed complex approach to the creation and afterlife of medieval Hungarian goldsmith works, and thus comes highly recommended.

Decorative flask from the Esterházy Treasury
Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest 


Bibliographic data:
Evelin Wetter: Objekt, Überlieferung und Narrativ. Spätmittelalterliche Goldschmiedekunst im historischen Königreich Ungarn (Studia Jagellonica Lipsiensia, Bd. 8). Ostfildern: Thorbecke, 2011. Hardcover, 312 pp. ISBN: 978-3-7995-8408-1

P.s.: Notice the similarity of the cover image to my sidebar image? Yes, it is the same object, the chalice of Benedek Suki, today at the Cathedral Treasury of Esztergom - photos by Attila Mudrák.