Sunday, April 15, 2018

Medieval News Update

I haven't had time lately to post on the Medieval Hungary blog - but there are several interesting news which needs some coverage here. So, here is a quick update on the world of medieval art from late 2017 - early 2018.

The statue on view at Matthias Church.
Photo: MTI 

Restoration of the Buda Castle Madonna

After a three-year restoration project, a late medieval statue of the Virgin and child was unveiled at Matthias church (Church of Our Lady) in Buda castle, Budapest in December 2017. The origins of the statue are unclear - it was transferred from another church in 1975. The current restoration, which was carried out by Éva Galambos, revealed much of the original polychromy of the statue. It was also revealed that the right hand of the Virgin is a replacement from the Baroque period, along with the left arm of the church. The statue dates from the early 15th century and was most likely carved in Southern Germany. Its restoration and display make the statue available for further art historical research. Since December 2017, the statue is on view in the permanent exhibition of ecclesiastical art set up inside Matthias Church.

For more on the statue and its presentation, see this report in Magyar Kurír.

Felix Terra - Exhibition on the Bishopric of Oradea/Nagyvárad in Bucharest

The National Museum of History of Romania, under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, in partnership with the Roman Catholic Bishopric of Oradea, the Hungarian National Museum, Széchényi National Library, the National Archives of Hungary and the Museum of Oradea organized a large exhibition dedicated to the history and ecclesiastical art in the Roman Catholic Bishopric of Oradea (Nagyvárad). The exhibition was on view at the National Museum of History of Romania from December 14, 2017 until April 1, 2018. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue written in Romanian and Hungarian.
The exhibition focuses on the history of the bishopric of Nagyvárad, especially on the lost medieval cathedral of Nagyvárad, the former resting place of King Saint Ladislas and of Emperor Sigismund. Works on view include fragments of the medieval cathedral building as well as finds recovered during various archaeological campaigns. Another focus is the renewal of the bishopric in Baroque period: a series of liturgical works from the Treasury of the cathedral were on view. Along with architectural fragments and stone carving, preserved from the Middle Ages, rare medieval documents were also shown in the exhibition - such as the Dubnica Chronicle or the Zalka Antiphony.

Romanesque Hall of the Museum of Fine Arts Reopens

As I reported three years ago, the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest is currently closed for reconstruction. The architectural restoration of the building is now largely completed, so the museum opened its door in late March 2018, a few months ahead of the reopening scheduled for the Fall. The main attraction of the building's restoration is the Romanesque Hall, which has been inaccessible for visitors for the last seventy years. The Hall originally housed much of the medieval and Renaissance plaster casts of the museum - these have been moved off-site and will be in view at Komárom in the near future. The Romanesque hall, designed by Albert Schikadenz, is shaped like a medieval basilica and is decorated with a rich cycle of pseudo-medieval ornamental paint. All this painted decoration was restored along with the entire hall. Only two plaster casts remain in the Hall: the Goldene Pforte of the collegiate church of Freiberg (1225) and the southern portal of the Cathedral of Gyulafehérvár in Transylvania (now Alba Iulia). A book about the history and restoration, edited by Miriam Szőcs, was published by the Museum of Fine Arts for this occasion. The Museum of Fine Arts is again closed for now - the Romanesque Hall will be used as an event space, starting from the Fall of 2018, when the reopening of the Museum is expected.
For more information and photos, have a look at the mini-site created by the Museum:

Byzantium and the West Exhibition now open at Schallaburg

From March 17th to November 11th, 2018 the exhibition Byzantium & the West - A forgotten millennium, takes place at the Renaissance castle of Schallaburg in Lower Austria. This is the third exhibition in a series prepared by the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum in Mainz. Around 500 objects are on view, focusing on the topic of Byzantine and Western contacts, spanning the whole Mediterranean. As Hungary was one of the neighbors of the medieval Byzantine Empire, it was constantly exposed to contact and influence from Byzantium. Naturally, several important objects from Hungarian collections are also shown at the exhibition, including the Monomachos-Crown from the Hungarian National Museum and the superb 12th-century Staurotheke from the Treasury of Esztergom Cathedral (see below). For more on these and other Byzantine enameled works, see the study of Antje Bosselmann-Ruickbie from the companion volume of the catalogue. 

12th-century Byzantine Staurotheke, Esztergom, Cathedral Treasury

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