Showing posts with label Török Gyöngyi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Török Gyöngyi. Show all posts

Friday, August 05, 2011

Leaf from Hungarian Angevin Legendary on view at the Louvre

Leaf from the Hungarian Angevin Legendary
Louvre, Paris
This summer, from July 7, 2011 until October 10, 2011, the Louvre is showing its Medieval and Renaissance Illuminations in an exhibition featuring seventy Italian, French, Flemish, and Germanic manuscript pages from historical, literary, or liturgical manuscripts. As the homepage of the exhibition states, "the Louvre’s collection of illuminations remains little known, despite the famous masterpieces it comprises. The publication of the collection’s catalogue raisonné is an opportunity to discover these exquisite works." 
You can read more about the exhibition at the website, as the Louvre itself does not provide a lot of information. I realized therefore from a recent article in the International Herald Tribune that a very important manuscript leaf with Hungarian connections, a leaf from the Hungarian Angevin Legendary is also on view (Département des Arts Graphiques, RF 29940). The page shows four scenes from the life of St. Francis, and can be seen here to the left (photo source: RMN).

The Hungarian Angevin Legendary is the most important 14th-century Bolognese manuscript made for Hungarian royal patrons.This lavishly illustrated picture-book of the lives of the saints contains four miniatures on each of its pages, accompanied by one-line text labels. The majority of the dismantled manuscript is preserved in the Vatican Library, but there are leaves from it in a number of other collections, most notably at the Morgan Library in New York. As of today, altogether 142 leaves from the Legendary (some of them fragmentary) are known in six different collections of the world. I am providing direct links to photos and descriptions of some of these page on my website about Medieval Hungary. It is possible that some other fragments will come to light, as the original number of folios is estimated at 176. The 549 surviving little pictures contain parts from the legends of altogether sixty-three saints, plus from the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary. The quality of its execution and its sheer size indicate that the manuscript must have been a royal commission, and its iconography – rich in Hungarian and Angevin saints – suggests it was created for the court of the Hungarian Angevin kings. According to earlier opinions, the codex could have been ordered by Charles I, king of Hungary (1307-1342), for his son, Andrew educated in Naples, or for his own library. This somewhat romantic notion, based on the naive theory that medieval picture-books were meant for children, has recently been called into question (see the study of Béla Zsolt Szakács: "The Holy Father and the Devils, or Could the Hungarian Angevin Legendary Have Been Ordered for a Pope?," In: ... The Man of Many Devices, Who Wandered Full Many Ways ... Festschrift in Honor of János M. Bak. Ed. by Balázs Nagy and Marcell Sebők. Budapest: CEU Press, 1999, 52-60.), but no new proposal has yet been generally accepted. With regards to its style, the research of Meta Harrsen, Robert Gibbs and others have clarified its connections with the Nekcsei-Bible (on which you can read my recent study, which I made available through, and thus with the circle of the Master of 1328. However, Tuscan, South-Italian and unidentified features are also present in the manuscript's style, and its iconography shows deep Hungarian influence; thus, the place of its creation might have been in Hungary. The dating of the codex, based on these hypotheses and stylistic examination, can be put between 1328 and 1345.

The leaf in the Louvre was first published in detail by Gyöngyi Török ("Problems of the Hungarian Angevin Legendary: a new folio in the Louvre," In: Arte cristiana vol. 89 (2001), 417-426), who also wrote on it in the new catalogue. A Hungarian version of her study is available here. Those with JSTOR access can read another study by Gyöngyi Török ("Neue Folii aus dem 'Ungarischen Anjou-Legendarium,'" In: Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte vol. 55. (1992), 565-577). Another study on a leaf at Berkeley is also available online (Julia Bader - George Starr: "A Saint in the Family: A Leaf of the "Hungarian Anjou Legendary" at Berkeley," In: Hungarian Studies vol. 2 (1986), 3-12). Pages from the manuscript were last on display at The Morgan Library and Museum, in 2009. Another leaf from the legend of St. Francis is at the Metropolitan Museum of New York.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hungarian medieval paintings exhibited in Bruges

Virgin and Child from Bártfa (Bardejov)
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest 

A major exhibition, titled Van Eyck to Dürer can be seen starting from tomorrow at the Groeningemuseum in Bruges (from October 29, 2010 to January 30, 2011). The aim of the exhibition is to survey the far-reaching impact of early Netherlandish painting on Central Europe. The press release states the following:

"In the fifteenth century the Flemish Primitives triggered an artistic revolution in Central Europe. Talented painters like Jan van Eyck with his brilliant eye for detail, introduced new painting styles and techniques. Their influence spread rapidly and inspired scores of artists, including the painter, draughtsman and etcher Albrecht Dürer. Van Eyck and Dürer are two great masters from the period 1420-1530. A pioneering exhibition brings together first-rate works by them and some of their contemporaries, drawn from notable European and American collections. Paintings and other art forms will illustrate the interaction between the Flemish Primitives and art in Central Europe."

No doubt, an overview of painting in this one-hundred years should be a feast for the eye, and juxtapositions of famous works could provide numerous art historical insights. The exhibition does not seem to have an extensive website, but you can read on it at the Brugge Centraal website, of which the exhibition is part of.

Crucifixion from the altar of Jánosrét
Hungarian National Gallery 
More information is available in a tourist brochure (pdf here) and images of works to be exhibited can also be seen here. A catalogue, published in several languages and edited by Till-Holgert Borchert, should also be available starting from tomorrow (link to the GermanEnglish and French versions at Amazon).

In addition to focusing only on Germany, the exhibition also includes several paintings from East Central Europe. The Hungarian National Gallery is loaning a few panel painting to the exhibition, to illustrate the impact of Netherlandish painting on 15th-century Hungarian painting. The works were selected by Gyöngyi Török, who also contributed to the catalogue. Works on loan include a wing of the altarpiece from Jánosrét (Lučky, SK) and panels from the altarpiece of Mosóc (Mošovce, SK), both dating from the 1470s. Two smaller panels illustrated here - a Virgin and Child from Bártfa (Bardejov, SK) and a Man of Sorrow from Kassa (Košice, SK) - are also in the exhibition.

Man of Sorrows from Kassa (Košice)
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest
These works are perhaps not the most sophisticated examples of Hungarian painting showing the influence of Netherlandish painting. It also has to be said that this influence was for the most part not direct, as new painterly ideas were transmitted to Hungary through Germany and Austria. Finally, some of the best works in this artistic trend - including the main altars of Kassa in Upper Hungary, or Medgyes (Medias, RO) and Berethalom (Biertan/Birthälm, RO) in Transylvania - are still standing in their original location, the same spot where they have been erected in the 15th century. One of these unmovable works is, however, evoked at the Bruges exhibition. A monumental fresco of the Crucifixion in the parish church of Nagyszeben (Sibiu/Hermannstadt, RO), painted in 1445 by Johannes de Rosenau will be shown through a large-scale copy, painted at the beginning of the 20th century, and also lent by the Hungarian National Gallery. I will use this opportunity to include a photo of this fresco here (without the upper part, which was heavily repainted in the 17th century).

(I don't think I will be able to go and see this exhibition. If you have a chance to visit it - please add a comment with your impressions. Other places to see examples of medieval Hungarian paintings include the exhibitions at the Royal Academy in London and at the Musée Cluny in Paris).