Showing posts with label Tóth Sándor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tóth Sándor. Show all posts

Friday, February 18, 2011

Medieval stone carvings stolen from the Hungarian National Gallery

As it was revealead on Tuesday, two highly important Romanesque stone carvings had been stolen from the Hungarian National Gallery some time in early February. Both carvings were on view in the medieval lapidary of the Gallery, located on the ground floor of the building. There is no explanation as to how or when the theft took place.

The missing stones are the following:

A cornice fragment stemming from the church of Ják, dating from around 1230. The carving, decorated with the figure of a dragon (which originally joined another dragon), comes from the west portal of the abbey church of Ják, and was most recently published in the catalogue of the collection, written by Sándor Tóth (see my earlier post on this).

Hungarian National Gallery, Inv. no. 55.1037, sandstone, 24 x 26 x 15,5 cm

Left side fragment of a relief slab from the abbey church of Somogyvár, dating from around 1150. The stone carving belongs to the Rippl Rónai Museum of Kaposvár, it was on long-term loan in the National Gallery. The carving was published in the Pannonia Regia exhibition catalogue of the National Gallery in 1994.

Kaposvár, Rippl Rónai Museum, Inv. no. MCXC, white marble, 32 x 21 x 9 cm


It seems clear that objects such as these cannot be sold on the open market. It is hoped that the carvings will be recovered soon. The images here are from the official Hungarian database of stolen artwork, maintaned by the National Office of Cultural Heritage.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Catalogue of Romanesque Stone Carvings

Red marble head of a king
from Kalocsa cathedral
Hungarian National Gallery 

The Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest has one of the most significant collections of medieval stone carvings in Hungary. The collection includes the highest quality stone carvings from cathedrals such as Veszprém, Kalocsa and Pécs, as well as fragments from  the abbey churches of Dömös or Pilis and many other places. The material is on display on the ground floor of the National Gallery, in the former royal palace of Buda. 

As the first volume of the gallery's collection catalogues, the catalogue of Romanesque stone carvings has been published late last year. The catalogue was written by Sándor Tóth, university professor at ELTE Budapest, and mentor of generations of medievalists (including the author of this blog). During the last years of his life, Sándor Tóth had a part-time job at the Old Hungarian Collection of the National Gallery, the main purpose of which was the completion of this catalogue. Tóth Sándor sadly passed away in 2007, but by that time the manuscript of this book was largely completed. The manuscript was prepared for edition by Árpád Mikó, head of the collection. 

Relief fragment from Kalocsa
Hungarian National Gallery 
The book contains a long introductory study, which essentially gives an overview of Hungarian Romanesque sculpture of the 11-12th centuries. This is followed by 46 catalogue entries, and the publication of some relevant documents about the collection. In addition to hundreds of black and white photos, the best pieces are also illustrated in color. Even though the book is only available in Hungarian, it is an invaluable resource for anyone working on Central-European Romanesque art, and is thus highly recommended. One can only hope that more medieval volumes cataloguing the Gallery's collections will appear in the near future. 

Tóth Sándor: Román kori kőfaragványok a Magyar Nemzeti Galéria gyűjteményében. A Magyar Nemzeti Galéria szakkatalógusai I.1. Edited by Árpád Mikó. Budapest, 2010. Pb., 200 pages.

To learn more about Sándor Tóth, read In Memoriam Tóth Sándor (1940-2007), by Ernő Marosi here (Hungarian-language pdf from Ars Hungarica 2007/1).

To browse highlights from the collection of the Hungarian National Gallery, click here.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Architecture in Medieval Southern Hungary

A long-awaited book has finally appeared last week. Dedicated to medieval architecture in the southern part of the Kingdom of Hungary, the book has been in the making for about 10 years. In a sense it is a continuation of a volume focusing on the southern area of the Great Plains, published in 2000.* Both books were edited by Tibor Kollár. This new publication is quite wide in focus: geographically it encompasses territories ranging from the north-eastern corner of present-day Slovenia all the way to southern Transylvania in Romania. Most of the monuments discussed are located today in Croatia and Serbia. These southern counties of the Hungarian Kingdom flourished during the Middle Ages, but got largely devastated during the 150 years of Ottoman rule and the wars of the period. Nevertheless, as this book proves, there is still an enormous amount of surviving material, much of it quite unknown for modern research - either in Hungary or elsewhere.

Some of the monuments discussed in detail (and in several studies) include the Benedictine abbey of Dombó (located near Rakovac in Serbia), the prior of Arad (Arad, Romania) and the cathedral of Zágráb (Zagreb, Croatia). In addition to architectural monuments - mainly churches and castles - and their stone carvings, a number of important wall-paintings are also published in the volume, such as the frescoes of the former Pauline monastery near Csáktornya (at Šenkovec in Croatia) and of the former parish church of Pozsega (Požega, Croatia). There are overviews of medieval churches in the Prekmurje region of Slovenia (parts of the medieval Hungarian counties of Vas and Zala), of castles in the area between the rivers Drava and Sava, and of Pauline churches. Most studies, however, are monographic articles dedicated to single monuments. Overall, the book contains 26 long studies.

While the majority of the authors are based in Hungary, there are also important studies by Slovene, Croatian, Serbian and Romanian authors. Hungarian authors include such noted scholars as Ernő Marosi, Imre Takács, Béla Zsolt Szakács. Sándor Tóth, who sadly passed away while the book was in preparation, also contributed an important study on the Gothic rebuilding of Dombó monastery. All the studies are published in Hungarian, but there is a section containing English summaries of them. It also has to be mentioned that the book is 1080 pages long, and contains over 600 illustrations, most of them new photographs taken especially for this volume by Attila Mudrák.