Showing posts with label Studia Jagellonica Lipsiensia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Studia Jagellonica Lipsiensia. Show all posts

Monday, August 05, 2013

Europa Jagellonica - Exhibiting the Heritage of the Jagiellonian Era

The Europa Jagellonica exhibition has recently finished its run, closing at the third venue, in Potsdam. I had a chance to see the show in Kutná Hora, as well as in Warsaw, and have seen all the publications accompanying it. In the following, I will provide a brief overview and review of this major European project.
As the website of the project informs, the international exhibition EUROPA JAGELLONICA is a joint Czech-Polish-German project and the first exhibition on the European dynasty of the Jagiellonians during the period around 1500, which was of great significance for Europe.

This project has been in the making for a long time. Organized by the Centre for History and Culture of East Central Europe at the University of Leipzig (GWZO), the basis for this project was the interdisciplinary and international research project, "The Significance of the Jagiellonian Dynasty in Art and Culture of Central Europe 1454–1572", which was carried out from 2000 to 2005. Dr. Jiří Fajt (GWZO) is the chief curator of the project, and Dr. Susanne Jaeger (GWZO) is responsible for the coordination. After several unsuccessful attempts, the exhibition finally got the green light as well as European funds, and was realized together by the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany. Hungary - which was originally supposed to have been part of project - did not become an organizing partner and a venue in the end, but contributed several loans to the exhibition.
Detail of the exhibition at Kutná Hora
The exhibition is quite different at all three venues. Even in the planning phase, it was decided that each venue will have a special focus: in Kutná Hora it was silver mining and economic history, in Warsaw the significance of the Jagellonians for Poland, while in Potsdam, the local theme is the marriage policy of the dynasty, and contacts with the Holy Roman Empire. In addition, there are other changes of thematic focus from venue to venue, as well as somewhat different sets of objects. The Jagiellonian period in focus of the exhibition is summarized by the organizers: 
"The time frame covered by the exhibition starts with the coronation of Jogaila (Władysław Jagiełło) in 1386 as King of Poland. Thanks to prudent political alliances, the Jagiellons ascended to the thrones of Bohemia and Silesia in 1471 and of Hungary in 1490. The resulting commonwealth of nations – Europa Jagellonica – spanned vast territories with a total area surpassing two million square kilometres, from the Baltic to the Black and Adriatic Seas. At the same time, strategic marital unions arranged for Polish princesses expanded the family’s influence to include the Reich states – Brandenburg, Braunschweig, Bavaria and Saxony. This unique amalgamation in Central Europe left its mark on not only the political atmosphere there but on the economies of the individual nations, the intellectual culture and social mentality of the day, and the arts. [The exhibition] will highlight the period’s unique circumstance of cultural diversity amidst unity – the coexistence of regional cultures and the formation of a common tradition. From such a perspective, the old Jagiellonian commonwealth becomes a fascinating reference point for reflections on modern times."

Further information about the project is available at several sites, first of all on the website of GWZO. Various flyers of the exhibition - including one in English - are available online from here. The original central websites of the project - and - are no longer online, however, the provides information on the project. The websites of the various venues also provide information and photos of the exhibition: GASK in Kutná Hora, the Royal Castle and the National Museum (MNW) in Warsaw and the Haus der Brandenburgisch-Preußischen Geschichte in Potsdam all have some information.

Kutná Hora exhibition

The exhibition was the most complete in Kutná Hora. Organized at a perfect venue, the Gallery of the Central Bohemian district (GASK), located in the former Jesuit monastery right next to the church of St. Barbara, the whole town was in effect part of the exhibition. The newly renovated building provided a great location for the exhibition, and it was comfortable to walk through the exhibition. The full list of the sections of the exhibition were unfolded here, which was easy to follow - although contained a few repetitions in my opinion.

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.