Showing posts with label Johannes Aquila. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Johannes Aquila. Show all posts

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Art and Architecture around 1400 Conference

As Medievalists around the US (the world?) are gearing up for this year's Medieval Congress at K'zoo, yours truly will drive over to neighboring Slovenia, to participate at the CIHA Colloquium at Maribor, titled Art and Archicture around 1400: Global and Regional Perspectives. I've gotten to like these more focused conferences, as discussions often tend to be livelier. The conference was organized by the University of Maribor, and by the Slovene Art History Society, under the auspices of a really distinguished Program Committee.
The six-day program of the conference is quite rich, with a number of interesting excursions aside from the talks, for example to see frescoes by the workshop of Johannes Aquila

Naturally, there will be a sizable Hungarian delegation at the conference, and a lot of Hungarian medieval topics will be treated in lectures and posters. A conference report with pictures will likely appear on this blog some time later. For now, a number of pictures of Slovenia's rich Gothic heritage can be seen in this gallery (the statue of St. James to the left is from the pilgrimage church of Ptujska Gora).

Gothic frescoes in Slovenia, photos from earlier this week on Flickr

The website of the conference above is no longer available, so the links above don't work any more.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New book on the frescoes of Johannes Aquila

Johannes Aquila was a painter from the town of Radkersburg in Styria, working in the last quarter of the 14th century. Frescoes by him (or by his workshop) survive in altogether five churches in the area which used to be the border region of Styria and Hungary. Today two of those places: Mártonhely (Martjanci) and Bántornya (Turnisce) are in Slovenia. His earliest known work is in the small church of Velemér, dating from 1378. Latest works of Johannes Aquila's workshop are closer to his hometown in Austria:  at the church of the Augustinian hermits in Fürstenfeld. One interesting secular fresco cycle at Radkesburg was also painted by the workshop (at the Pistorhaus). The style of his workshop is characterized by a mixture of Italian and Bohemian elements.

Johannes Aquila is most famous for not only signing his work, but also for painting his self-portrait. The self-portrait can be seen next to his signature, in a praying position (similarly to depictions of patrons) both at Velemér (1378) and at Mártonhely (1392). These are regarded as the oldest European self-portraits by a painter, and you can read more about in an article by Daniel Spanke (Spanke, Daniel, "Die ältesten Selbstbildnisse Europas? Zur Bedeutung der Malerdarstellungen Johannes Aquilas von Radkersburg in Velemér (1378) und Martjanci (1392) für eine Frühgeschichte des Porträts," Zbornik za umetnostno zgodonivo 34 (1998), 141-159, available in a pdf format).

A new book has just been published on this highly important painter, written by Terézia Kerny with photographs by Zoltán Móser (Kerny, Terézia - Móser, Zoltán: Képet öltött az Ige - Johannes Aquila freskói. Budapest, Kairosz, 2010). The book will be presented by Mária Prokopp on Tuesday, January 25 at Litea Literature & Tea Bookshop. The book is in Hungarian, but hopefully will be published in other languages as well.

I cannot post my own photos of the frescoes here, because the last time I visited these churches I still used slides - and those have not been scanned yet. To the left, you can see the self-portait of Johannes Aquila from Mártonhely (Martjanci), and you can find several other photos online, especially of Velemér:

Photos of the church, with Quicktime virtual reality views of the interior; more photos at the Fine Arts in Hungary website.

For more photos, visit the IMAREAL database of the Institut für Realienkunde des Mittelalters at Krems (search for Künstler: Johannes von Aquila [um 1400 tätig], or for Standorte: Turnisce and Martjanci. Does not seem to work in Chrome).