Showing posts with label Villa I Tatti. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Villa I Tatti. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Villa I Tatti at Budapest

Lino Pertile, the director of Villa I Tatti (The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Florence), as well as Assistant Director Jonathan Nelson are in Budapest these days. Villa I Tatti has had very close connections with Hungary - generally every year they had at least one Fellow from Hungary. This connection is also reflected in the research interests at I Tatti - the Italian (especially Florentine) connections of Hungarian Humanism and early Renaissance art have always been in strong focus. This connection resulted last year in the publication of the book titled Italy and Hungary - Humanism and Art in the Early Renaissance (see my review here). The book will be presented tomorrow at the Budapest History Museum.

While the presentation of the book is clearly one of the main reasons of the visit of I Tatti's directors, they are both giving lectures while here. Lino Pertile gave a lecture in the framework of the Medieval Afternoon at the Central European University, while Jonathan Nelson will give a lecture about 15th century Florentine painters at the Art History Department of ELTE tomorrow. Hopefully these events will further strengthen the ties of Villa I Tatti to Hungary.

Oh, and what else happened at CEU's Medieval Afternoon? The event marked the inauguration of CEU Medieval Radio, which you can find and listen to here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Italy and Hungary in the Renaissance (Book review)

Back in 2007, a major conference was organized at Villa I Tatti (The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence), dedicated to Humanism and early Renaissance art in the Kingdom of Hungary. The conference aimed to give an overview of the field, focusing naturally on connections between Italy and Hungary. In August 2011, the long-awaited volume of the these studies has been published by Villa I Tatti, edited by Péter Farbaky and Louis A. Waldman. The conference, the research trip to Hungary which followed it, and the volume together represent the crowning achievement of the role of I Tatti as "a bridge between Hungary and Florence in the world of humanistic scholarship for three decades" - as emphasized by director Joseph Connors in the Foreword.

It also has to be pointed out that in 2008, an entire series of exhibitions and events were organized in Hungary in the framework of the so-called Renaissance Year. Three exhibitions, in particular, have to be mentioned here: the Budapest History Museum organized a large international exhibition dedicated to the rule of King Matthias in Hungary. Titled Matthias Corvinus, the King, the exhibition was accompanied by a large catalogue, also edited by Péter Farbaky with Enikő Spekner, Katalon Szende and András Végh (published in an English version as well). A large number of the participants of the 2007 Villa I Tatti conference also contributed to this catalogue - where naturally actual physical objects are in focus. The two publications thus nicely complement each other. Two smaller exhibitions focused on more special topics: the exhibition at the National Széchényi Library, titled  A Star in the Raven's Shadow, was dedicated to János Vitéz, archbishop of Esztergom, and the beginnings of Hungarian Humanism in the middle of the 15th century. The exhibition of the Museum of Applied Arts - The Dowry of Beatrice - examined the origins of Italian majolica at the court of King Matthias, focusing on the magnificent Corvinus-plates made in Pesaro. (To get the English-language catalogues, search for item nos. 58713 and 113069 at

15th c. fresco at the Palace of Esztergom

However, the conference organized at I Tatti  was the event met with most extensive response. This was largely due to two of the the papers presented at the conference and a press conference held by the Hungarian Cultural Minister in Rome, announcing the findings of these two papers. At the conference, Zsuzsanna Wierdl and Mária Prokopp presented their theory concerning one of the 15th century frescoes at the castle of Esztergom, attributing it to the young Botticelli - a subject I have written about elsewhere on this blog.

Naturally, there is much more to the book than these sensational claims. The volume makes the lectures presented at the conference available in an edited format. The description of the book at the Harvard University Press website gives a good overview of its main topic: