Showing posts with label Sigismund. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sigismund. Show all posts

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Upcoming medieval exhibitions

In this brief post I would like to call attention to two upcoming exhibitions relevant for the art of medieval Hungary. The exhibitions will focus on the two most important rulers of 15th century Hungary: King Sigismund and King Matthias. There is still plenty of time to make plans to see these exhibitions! More information will be posted here as it becomes available.

Matthias Corvinus and Florence. Art and Humanism at the Court of the King of Hungary
Firenze, Museo di San Marco, 10 October 2013 - 6 January 2014

Marliano, Epithalamium, Milano, 1487
Volterra, Biblioteca Guarnacci, Cod. lat. 5518
The Museo di San Marco will host an exhibition entitled Matthias Corvinus and Florence. Art and Humanism at the Court of the King of Hungary, focusing on the splendid period of 15th century Humanism at the court of Buda and on the powerful personality of King Matthias Corvinus, a keen lover of books and patron of the arts who was a personal friend of Lorenzo the Magnificent and who sourced his illuminated codices in Florence. The exhibition also investigates the many Florentines who flocked to Hungary, such as the mysterious "fat woodcutter" lampooned by Brunelleschi or mercenary captain Pippo Spano, and helped to strengthen the ties between the two Renaissance centres.
The aim of this exhibition is to develop the theme of the relationship that King Matthias Corvinus established with Florence and its artists, its illuminators and indeed with the entire cultural circle of Lorenzo the Magnificent. The exhibition sets out to reconstruct some of the contacts that played a crucial role in determining the Hungarian court's cultural and artistic choices. Thus it will illustrate the trends in the king's taste, setting them against the backdrop of the Florentine context of his time, while also endeavouring, by drawing a number of parallels, to identify the possible influence on those choices exercised by Lorenzo the Magnificent and his entourage of thinkers and artists. In this context, special attention will be devoted to the libraries of Matthias Corvinus and of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and thus pride of place will be given to the precious illuminated codices commissioned by Matthias Corvinus for his library, now sadly dispersed.
The exhibition and the catalogue are curated by Magnolia Scudieri, Lia Brunori, Péter Farbaky, and Dániel Pócs.

More information is available in English or in Italian(summary taken from the Un anno ad Arte 2013 website)

The Council of Constance. 1414 – 1418. A Medieval World Event
Konstanz, Konzil, 27 April - 21 September 2014

From 2014 to 2018, the town of Constance celebrates the 600th anniversary of the Council of Constance, and invites Europe to Lake Constance again. The main event of the celebrations will be a Landesaustellung organized by the Badisches Landesmuseum of Karlsruhe and held at the Konzilgebäude (Council building) in Constance - the actual site of the Council meetings 600 years ago. Major works of Western art and civilisation from the time around 1400/20 and from the great museums of Europe will be on view at Constance. The fifteenth-century world event will come to life again, tangible in its historical significance and potency. The key figure of the Council was Sigismund of Luxemburg, King of Hungary and King of the Romans: a brilliant diplomat who managed to keep the entire western world, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Caucasus, together until the Council could be successfully concluded. The exhibition will naturally showcase a number of important works connected to his personality, and will also feature and important selection of objects from Hungary.
The project leader of the exhibition is dr. Karin Stober.

A website has been set up for the series of events during the next four years, and also for the exhibition itself.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Tale of Two Lovers and an Unknown Image of Emperor Sigismund

Pisanello: Portrait of Emperor Sigismund, 1431-33 
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Emperor Sigismund was one of the most frequently depicted historical personalities of the 15th century. His real and disguised portraits can be found in countless panel paintings, frescoes and miniatures. Entire volumes - such as the Chronicle of the Council of Constance by Ulrich Richental or the Recollections of Eberhard Windecke - are filled with images of Sigismund. You can browse some of these portraits on the website of the 2006 exhibition on King and Emperor Sigismund. Despite this wealth of images from every part of the Holy Roman Empire from Siena to Görlitz, it seems that French and Netherlandish illuminators of the second half of the 15th century really had no clue as to what Sigismund looked like. He is often depicted in historical manuscripts, especially in images of the disastrous Battle of Nicopolis (1396). See, for example the lavishly illustrated copy of Sebastien Mamerot's Chronicle of the Crusades, Les Passages d'Outremer, completed by Jean Colombe around 1474, and held at the Bibliotheque nationale de France and recently issued in a facsimile

A particularly amusing example in this respect is the so-called Pageants of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, which can be studied in this 1908 edition. Completed in 1485, this manuscript is the only illustrated biography of a late medieval secular figure, and features the Earl's various encounters with rulers, including Sigismund. Pageant 35 (on page 138 of the Roxburghe Club facsimile) for example shows the Earl and Sigismund exchanging gifts, and Sigismund is depicted as a fairly young, beardless figure, with a fancy three-tiered crown (see below). More information on this manuscript is available on the website of the British Library.

The visit of Sigismund to England
The Beauchamp Pageants, 1485
London, British Library
I went through a lot of effort to gather such images for the 2006 Sigismund exhibition and its catalogue, but no doubt several manuscripts escaped my attention. I would like to mention just one of these, which is currently on view at the Getty Center's exhibition on Fashion in the Middle Ages. The book is a French manuscript from around 1460-1470, containing the popular Tale of Two Lovers by Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (a story he wrote in 1444, obviously before he became Pope Pius II). The story of the two adulterous lovers is set in Siena, at the time of Emperor Sigismund's visit and lengthy stay there on his way to his imperial coronation in Rome (1432). The story is dedicated to Kaspar Schlick, imperial chancellor of Emperor Sigismund (and later of Emperor Frederick III), who is also the main character - Euryalus - of Aeneas’ tale.

You can read an English translation of the entire story on this website; I am quoting the beginning of the story from there, too:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Konzilstadt Konstanz

Last week I traveled to Konstanz (Constance), Germany, to participate in a meeting to prepare a major exhibition dedicated to the Council of Constance. This event, which took place between 1414 and 1418 was the most important ever to take place in that town, and it was also the high point of the career of King Sigismund. He had been king of Hungary since 1387, but after his 1410 election as King of the Romans he became a major player on the European political scene. You can follow the route he took to get to the Council, and also through Western Europe to negotiate at the website of the 2006 Sigismundus-exhibition.
In order to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the Council, five years of events are planned for 2014-2018, each dedicated to a specific theme. A special event has been set up to coordinate these events, and you can find a lot of information on their website. The local paper also wrote about the preparation of the exhibition, as you can read here.

While there, I had a chance to see the newly restored frescoes of the Dreifaltigkeitskirche (former Augustinian church). Sigismund and his court stayed in this monastery during the Council, and he commissioned these frescoes in 1417. Of course he had his patron saint, St. Sigismund, depicted - resulting in a famed portrait of the king himself (see above). The German Wikipedia entry on the church is quite useful, and you can also see some of my photos of the frescoes below.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Reviews of the Sigismundus exhibition catalogue

One of the most important medieval art history exhibitions organized in Hungary was the one dedicated to King and Emperor Sigismund in 2006

Shown first in Budapest and later in Luxembourg, the exhibition was accompanied by a catalog published in Hungarian, German and French. Several other publilcations were also published in conjunction with the event, including the acts of a conference held a year before. The full list of publications can be seen on the website of the exhibition. A few photos of the exhibition are available on my website.

The exhibition catalogue, titled Sigismundus - Rex et Imperator: Kunst und Kultur zur Zeit Sigismunds von Luxemburg, 1387-1437, was edited by Imre Takács, with the assistance of Zsombor Jékely, Szilárd Papp, and Györgyi Poszler. It was published Philipp von Zabern of Mainz (ISBN 978-3-8053-3626-0).
Over the years, a number of detailed reviews have been written of this exhibition catalog. I am listing a few of them below. Some reviews also discuss the conference volume, edited by Michel Pauly - François Reinert and titled Sigismund von Luxemburg: Ein Kaiser in Europa. Tagungsband des internationalen historischen und kunsthistorischen Kongresses in Luxemburg, 8-10. Juni 2005.

In addition, there is a long review by Štefan Oriško in, Ars (Bratislava), 39 (2006/1), 31-52 (abstract here) and also by Matthew Palmer in Acta Historiae Artium, 48 (2007), 341-349, neither of which is available online. 

An important review by Klara Benešovská is not only about the Sigismundus exhibition, but also about another important venture dedicated to the Luxemburg dynasty, the exhbition
Prague - The Crown of Bohemia, shown in New York and Prague. It was published in Perspective, La revue de l'INHA 2008/1, 138-145. For more on the Luxemburg dynasty, you should also read the review of the conference volume Prague and Bohemia, edited by Zoë Opačić, in The Medieval Review. This period, one of the high points of Central European Art, will also be the subject of an international colloquium organized in Maribor, Slovenia, early next year.