Sunday, October 06, 2013

Gothic Ivories in Hungary

Diptych, Paris, 14th century. Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
At the most recent update of the Gothic Ivories Project, coordinated by The Courtauld Institute of Art, medieval ivories in Hungarian public collections were also added to the database. You can now look at photos of about a dozen Gothic ivories from the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest, as well as one single example preserved in the Sculpture Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts. With the 700 ivories added with the most recent update, the database now includes 3800 objects.

It is to be hoped that the next update will add some more objects from Hungary: in particular, it would be great to see the three late Gothic bone saddles from the collection of the Hungarian National Museum. Many other saddles from the period of Emperor Sigismund are already online - including the Batthyany saddle stemming from Körmend in western Hungary (and now at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston).

There are a few more great ivories in Hungarian ecclesiastical collections - in particular the wing of a diptych at the Cathedral Treasury of Győr (illustrated below). The Gothic Ivories project is of course a great resource for the research of ivory - it helped me to identify a surviving part of the other wing of this diptych, kept today at The Art Institute of Chicago. Hopefully, the wing at Győr can be added to the database soon. In the meantime, we can also find photos of some complete diptychs on the Gothic Ivories Project website, which can help us reconstruct the Győr-Chicago diptych as well: such as this image. (See on this subject the article by Katalin Dávid, published in Ars Decorativa vol. 7 (1982), and available online here.)

Right wing of a diptych with scenes from the Life of the Virgin. Győr, Cathedral Treasury
To read about more medieval ivories once in Hungary, have a look at my previous post about the Fejérváry collection!

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