Showing posts with label exhibition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label exhibition. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

An Antonio Tempesta rediscovered in Budapest


The following news does not have much to do with medieval art in Hungary, but it is a very significant discovery made at a Hungarian museum - specifically, at the Museum of Applied Arts, where I work - and I believe that the story is of interest to readers of this blog. So here it goes - the text below is based on the research and exhibition texts of Miklós Gálos, curator of the exhibition:

A rare, two-sided painting by Antonio Tempesta was rediscovered and restored at the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest. The painting was painted on lapis lazuli, a rare and precious stone from the Middle East, which is the raw material of ultramarine, the marvelous deep blue color of paintings. This prestigious semi-precious stone was used by Antonio Tempesta, a painter active in the early 17th-century Rome, as support of paintings made for aristocratic patrons. Tempesta’s paintings on various types of stone are real curiosities. Only three paintings on lapis lazuli survived – one of them is housed in the Louvre in Paris, the other has recently been published by Alberto and Alessandra di Castro (the work is in private collection).


Another of them – a hitherto unknown lapis lazuli painting by Tempesta – was discovered in one of the storage areas of the Museum of Applied Arts some years ago. This work actually consists of two paintings: both sides of this thin, scarcely one-millimeter thick, translucent slab present scenes from the Old Testament. One side shows the Creation of Eve, and the other the Crossing of the Red Sea. Both depictions demonstrate a perfect collaboration between nature and art. The stone slab used as support is not painted on the entire surface, therefore, its color and patterns form an integral part of the depictions. The boundaries between the natural patterns of the stone and the artist’s work are imperceptible. The frame, with its mother-of-pearl inlays, is also unusual because of its complicated, contrived image field.

Antonio Tempesta: Crossing of the Red Sea (Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest)

In January 2016, the artwork was discovered in a ruined state in one of the storage areas of the Museum of Applied Arts. The inlays of the broken frame were missing, and the stone support had been shattered with some pieces lost. Plaster infills made up a fifth of the painted surface. The shoddy inpainting on the plaster areas created a sharp contrast to the artistic quality of the original. The object did not appear in the museum’s inventory. During the next few years research managed to shed light on the provenance of the painting and later its deletion from the records. Fortunately, it was possible to determine the identities of the painter and, with considerable certainty, the original commissioner of the work. Thanks to the enthusiastic support of the Museum of Applied Arts’ Friends of the Museum, restoration was also carried out. The restoration of the lapis lazuli panel and the paintings on both sides was carried out by Ágnes Kuna. The frame was restored by Mária Szilágyi of the Museum of Applied Arts. As a result, this once-forgotten work of art has now regained its former glory. 


Antonio Tempesta: Creation of Eve, during and after restoration (Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest)
Now, the results of this work are presented to the public, in the form of a temporary exhibition at the György Ráth villa. Besides Tempesta’s painting, the exhibition includes some goldsmith works which, just like Tempesta’s painting, are examples of the fusion of an object of nature and an exceptional product of artistic talent. Like the Tempesta painting, the goldsmith works are from the former collection of Miklós Jankovich, a renowned Hungarian art collector of the early 19th century.

A detailed publication of the newly discovered Tempesta paintings - including a reconstruction of its history - was published by Miklós Gálos in volume 32 of Ars Decorativa, the Yearbook of the Museum of Applied Arts.


Miklós Gálos: An Antonio Tempesta Rediscovered in the Collection of the Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest, Ars Decorativa 32 (2018), 7-36.






Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Exhibition on Medieval Towns in Magdeburg


The new exhibition of the Cultural History Museum is titled 'Faszination Stadt  - The Allure of Cities,' and is dedicated to the network of medieval towns following Magdeburg law. The topic is broadly framed, starting with city development in antiquity - but then it focuses on the development and spread of Magdeburg town law in the Middle Ages. The Magdeburg law originated in the twelfth century and spread in the course of the German east settlement across Central Europe, particularly to the areas of Poland, Bohemia and the Kingdom of Hungary. It is a characteristic feature of urbanization in this regiou and its peculiarity is that it divided the local power between the council and a jury appointed by the ruler. This made it easier for territorial rulers such as the Teutonic Order in the Baltic States and the kings of Poland and Hungary to control the cities they established and granted freedoms to. The legal framework was provided by the Sachsenspiegel, codified in 1230, which was a summary of existing legal knowledge. Starting from the story of Magdeburg law, the exhibition presents the legal framework, the day to day operations and daily life in medieval towns of Central Europe.

Stove tile from Besztercebánya, c. 1500, Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

The 250 objects on view are varied, ranging from luxurious gift items to objects of daily life. Given the subject, it is not surprising that a large number of loans from Hungary and the neighboring countries are featured in the exhibition.  The exhibition is accompanied by an 800-page catalog and by a volume of studies dedicated to the topic. It remains on view until February 2, 2020. You can find more information on the special website set up for the exhibition or in the flyer provided by the museum.

View of the exhibition, with the tombstone of a painter from Buda
(Budapest History Museum)

The results presented in the exhibition rely on a research project coordinated by the Museum. A website was also set up to provide information about Magdeburg law - it is a very useful resource, providing, among others, a map of European towns using Magdeburg law.

Copy of the Sachsenspiegel, Heidelberg University Library

(Photos by Kulturhistorisches Museum Magdeburg)

Late 15th century Passion panel from Thorn/Torun



Sunday, December 02, 2018

Exhibition and Database of Corvinian Manuscripts

A new exhibition at the National Széchényi Library puts the famous library of Matthias Corvinus (1458-1490) in focus again. This time, the title and the theme of the exhibition is the Buda workshop of Corvina manuscripts  The aim of the exhibition is to present the joint efforts of humanists, illuminators, bookbinders and the scribes of Buda, in order to create luxurious royal manuscripts in the capital as well.  For this exhibition, A lot of splendid Corvinian manuscripts have arrived in National Széchényi Library from various parts of the world, from New York, Paris, the Vatican, as well as from Hungarian collections. In fact, Visitors of the exhibition have the unparalleled opportunity to look at almost all the Corvinas, nearly fifty codices, preserved in Hungary. together. The exhibition demonstrates that in addition to the splendid Renaissance codices ordered from Italy, similarly precious and decorative manuscripts were made in the royal court of Buda as well. The exhibition is very well organized, beautifully installed, and is equipped with various interactive tools, enable for example the browsing of manuscripts on display. The first part presents the precursors of the Buda workshop - especially the books, including Greek manuscripts of Janus Pannonius, which were later incorporated into the king's library. The Graduale of King Matthias, one of the important non-Italian books commissioned by the king is also on view here (OSZK Cod. Lat. 424). The second part presents a number of Italian illuminators who worked at the Buda court, not just for the king but also in the service of high-ranking prelates. The main focus of the exhibition is on the last five years of the rule of King Matthias (who died in 1490) when production greatly increased. This was the time when uniform leather bindings were made for the manuscripts as well. Among the highlights on view, I would point out the Cassianus Corvina from Paris (BNF Cod.Lat. 2129), the Vatican Missal (Urb. Lat. 110), or the National Library's Philostratos Corvina (OSZK Cod. Lat. 417).

The Breviary of Domokos Kálmáncsehi, 1481

The curator of the exhibition is Edina Zsupán, and the exhibition will remain on view until February 9, 2019. You can read more about the exhibition on the National Library's website.




At the time of the opening of the exhibition, the newly redesigned and updated Bibliotheca Corviniana Digitalis was launched. It is a great improvement compared to the earlier version, with a much nicer interface and - most importantly - with a lot more digitized manuscripts. All the manuscripts held in Hungarian collections are available right on the website, while links point to digitized manuscripts all over the world (finally making my own little list unnecessary). A new image-viewer and thousands of new photographs - including superb details - make the manuscripts much more accessible than ever before. The database also includes the complete bibliography of the Corvinian Library, with direct links to publications available online. With this new version, the website can truly serve as the starting point for all research focusing on the Bibliotheca Corviniana of King Matthias.






Friday, June 01, 2018

Exhibition of Medieval Stove Tiles at the Budapest History Museum

Tile from the knight-figure stove.
Buda, 1450s. © Budapest History Museum 

A major exhibition on medieval stove tiles from Hungary is on view at the Budapest History Museum in Buda Castle. The exhibition is titled Heartwarming Middle Ages - Stoves and Stove Tiles in Medieval Hungary, and its chief curator was András Végh, the director of the Castle Museum. The use of stove tiles (unglazed or glazed) was a Central European invention and such stoves became increasingly common in Hungary starting from the early 14th century. The exhibition presents the development of tile stoves at the royal court and in aristocratic castles, and it also provides an overview of the most popular motifs - biblical, historical, heraldic, etc. - on stove tiles. These motifs are explained through comparisons with other media - books, prints, seals and other objects. The exhibition also discusses the techniques and development of the making of tile stoves.

Because of the durability of glazed tiles and because of the relatively clear dates we can assign to them, these objects are favorites among archaeologists. The Budapest History Museum - which preserves all of the archaeological finds from the royal palace of Buda - has a very extensive collection of tiles, which formed the basis of the exhibition. The local material was extended through a large number of loans from Hungary and abroad alike. Taken all together, the exhibition provides an unprecedented overview of the development and richness of this medium.

 St John on a stove tile, from the Bothár-house, Besztercebánya
© Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Figural stove tiles from late medieval houses in Besztercebánya (Banská Bystrica, Slovakia) are among the most interesting sets displayed in the exhibition. The so-called Bothár workshop made good-quality glazed and unglazed tiles depicting saints and other figures. Most of the pieces are preserved today in the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest - you can browse these and other tiles from that collection in the Museum's collection database.



The exhibition will remain on view until September 2, 2018. A catalogue is in preparation. An exhibition website (sadly only in Hungarian) provides more information and photos of the exhibition.








Additional photos:

Stove tile from the Sigismund-period. © Budapest History Museum

© Budapest History Museum

© Budapest History Museum



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.




Sunday, July 16, 2017

Second part of Seuso Treasure returns to Hungary

Three years after first part of the Seuso Treasure returned to Hungary, the second half of the Roman-era silver objects were acquired by Hungary, it was announced by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and László Baán, director of the Museum of Fine Arts on July 12th. Over the past few years, the government had negotiated with two family foundations on compensation for handing back the treasure, which Hungary claims rightfully belongs to the state. The government paid 28 million euros for the second tranche, paid as "compensation fee" rather than a purchase price.


The 4th century Seuso Treasure was found in the 1970s near lake Balaton, and then smuggled abroad. You can read more about its history in my post from three years ago. For more information, read this two-part overview written by Mihály Nagy for Hungarian Review, published after the return of the first half of the Treasure: Lifting the curse on the Seuso Treasure, Part I. and Part II.


The second batch recovered by Hungary consists of seven objects, including the so-called Achilleus and the Meleagros plates, the animal-figure ewer, the Hyppolytos-ewer and two buckets with similar decoration, as well as an amphora. Now that all 15 known objects from the treasure are in Hungary, more research will commence on this unique ensemble. This will include archaeological excavations on the site where it is suspected the objects were originally found. The full treasure is believed to have consisted of a lot more pieces. The recovered pieces are currently on view at the Hungarian Parliament building, and will be shown later at the Hungarian National Museum.

Photos: Kormany.hu





Monday, June 26, 2017

Grammar and Grace - Exhibition on the Reformation at the Hungarian National Museum


Perhaps the most important event of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is the major exhibition organized by the Hungarian National Museum, titled Grammar and Grace - 500 Years of Reformation. The exhibition, which will be on view until November 5, 2017, offers a look at the ever-changing, complex relations of the Hungarian Reformation, and includes a series of unequaled treasures. The exhibition was brought to the audience by the exemplary collaboration of museums, collections and parishes in and out of Hungary, and its co-curators represent the most important ecclesiastical collections in the country. 

While the topic of the exhibition is post-medieval, the exhibition itself provides a wide range of medieval objects as well. This is partly because the narrative focuses more on continuity and connections rather than on radical breaks and destruction. Thus topics of the exhibition include the survival and reuse of medieval liturgical objects in a Protestant context, as well as the transformation of some pre-reformation artworks for later use.




The introductory part of the exhibition specifically focuses on medieval art: it provides an overview of European religious beliefs and practices of the late 15th century, so the eve of the Reformation (see image on the right). As explained in the overview of the exhibition, "Europe in the 15th century was bursting with anticipation, fear and hope. The plague epidemics – the evil feasting in the world – decimating the secular society and the church alike, the evil feasting in the world made the majority of the Christian community find new ideas to follow. Searching for salvation created forms of piety never seen before and launched new social-spiritual movements. Prophets popped up everywhere preaching about the end of the world closing in, encouraging conversion and purification of the church and declining the practice of paying money instead of acting in the right Christian way." This is illustrated in the exhibition with a series of late medieval altarpieces, statues, devotional books and prints and other objects.

Following the introduction, the exhibition surveys the appearance and rapid spread of the Reformation in Central Europe, specifically in Hungary. The theses of Luther made it to Hungary and to the royal court in Buda itself as early as the 1520s by merchants, German noblemen and Humanists. The Kingdom of Hungary fell at the Battle of Mohács in 1526, and starting from the 1530s Protestant preachers had been wandering about in the country, and new churches and religious communities came into life. By the second half of the 16th century the country was lost in the political sense due to the Turkish occupation and being torn into three parts. The permanent and threatening presence of the Turkish power, the cooperation they forced with Hungarians in the occupied regions and the power vacuum all led to an unprecedented level of freedom of speech and religion resulting in the Carpathian Basin turning into the most diverse parts of Europe in terms of denominations. The exhibition surveys these historical developments, focusing on different Protestant churches, and also chronicling religious debates and conflicts. Later parts of the exhibition tell about the role of Protestant churches in various communities: in cities, smaller towns and villages, and also focus on the role of these churches in the cultural life of Hungary. 


Loans from all over the Carpathian basin, as well as from western Europe result in one of the largest historical art exhibitions of recent year, the organization of which was no small feat for the National Museum and for its chief curator, Erika Kiss. Just as units of the exhibition focus on community and cooperation, the exhibition itself is the result of the cooperation of curators and collections. A lot of objects come from the National Museum itself, and the Széchenyi National Library was also one of the major lenders, but there are objects from about 100 lenders in the exhibition. This includes ecclesiastical collections (the National Lutheran Museum in Budapest, the Ráday Collection of the Calvinist Church), the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Museum of Fine Arts and the National Gallery, the Museum of Applied Arts and many others. In addition, several small ecclesiastical collections and church communities have lent their treasures, many of which have not been exhibited in decades. It is a carefully organized, beautifully installed and very interesting exhibition. It was designed by Tibor Somlai, who has already proved his talent with several other major exhibition designs.




Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Connecting Early Medieval European Collections Project

Avar-period round fibula from Kölked (Hungarian National Museum)
Connecting Early Medieval European Collections (CEMEC) is an EU-funded cooperation project that aims to create a collaborative network, and a cost-effective business model, between eight European museum collections and six technical partners. The goal is to examine both the connections between Early Medieval collection objects (300-1000 AD) and the objects’ regions of origin with the aid of innovative IT solutions.

Drawing on objects from participating museum collections, the project will produce ‘CROSSROADS’, a travelling exhibition focusing on connectivity and cultural exchange during the Early Middle Ages (300 -1000) in Europe. The ’CROSSROADS, Europe (300-1000)’ exhibition will focus on the Early Middle Ages in Europe. This period is often defined as ‘the Dark Ages’, however the exhibition will shed new light on this misconception, presenting the period as a time of exchange, in objects, people and ideas. The exhibition will open at the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam (October 2017-March 2018). It will then move to the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens (April- September 2018) and end at the LVR Landesmuseum in Bonn (October 2018- April 2019).

The Hungarian National Museum is a partner in the project, and already staged a small display about Avars in the Early Medieval Carpathian Basin. The exhibitions Avars Revived was on view during March 2017.

You can read more about the CEMEC project on their website. On the website of the Hungarian National Museum, you can see one of the 3D models created in the framework of the project.

View of the exhibition Avars Revived (Photo: Hungarian National Museum, Budapest)

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Previously unknown image of Emperor Sigismund identified

Emperor Sigismund and the Electors,
German-language copy of the Golden Bull of Charles IV
Stadtarchiv Ulm A Urk. Ve. 1356 Januar 10, fol. 1v  

At an exhibition held last year at Neuburg an der Donau, the chief work in focus was a 15th-century Bible, the Ottheinrich Bible. Regarded as the earliest surviving illustrated manuscript of the New Testament in the German language, it was originally commissioned around 1430 by Ludwig VII, the Bearded, Duke of Bavaria-Ingolstadt. It was illuminated by three Regensburg painters, but its decoration remained unfinished - only to be completed by the artist Mathis Gerung in 1530–31. The manuscript was later split up into eight volumes, and after a rather complicated history, now all of its parts are at the Bavarian State Library in Munich - on their website, you can browse the digitized volumes of the Bible. 
The exhibition, titled Kunst und Glaube, contained lots of interesting objects, as far as I can tell based on the catalogue. I was most interested in objects dating from the period of Ludwig VII of Bavaria (Duke of Bavaria-Ingolstadt between 1413-1447), a contemporary of King and Emperor Sigismund, and a noted patron of the arts. Perhaps the most well-known of his commissions is the small-scale model of this tombstone, made by Hans Multscher around 1435 (Munich, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum). This tomb was never executed in full size. The Ottheinrich Bible was also one of his important commissions, which remained unfinished. 

Double page from the Ottheinrich Bible, c. 1430 (vol. 2.)
One of the objects in this section was a fragmentary manuscript of the Golden Bull of Charles IV, which was illuminated by the workshop of the Ottheinrich Bible (the so-calle Matthäusmaler). The manuscript was executed in Regensburg, and its surviving fragment is kept at the Town Archives of Ulm (See catalogue record). The fragment was identified as dating from this period by professor Robert Suckale, who provided a study about the Ottheinrich Bible for the catalogue (and also contributed to the catalogue entry in question, cat. no. 5.18). The fragment consists of only three leafs, containing a German translation of the Golden Bull issued in 1356. On the verso of the first folio, a group portrait of the Holy Roman Emperor with the Electors is depicted (see above). As Sigismund was also the King of Bohemia from 1419, only six Electors are depicted around the Emperor. On fol. 2r, the fragment also includes the full page depiction of coat of arms of a certain Hans Kastenmayer of Straubing - an image very similar to those included on armorial letters issued by the imperial chancery at that time, and the fragment also contains a nice initial. 

Decorated page of the Ulm fragment

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

K700 - Exhibition on Emperor Charles IV and his Era in Prague and Nuremberg


Ten years after the most recent major exhibition about Emperor Charles IV and the Luxembourg dyansty (shown in New York and Prague), the National Gallery in Prague and curator/director Jiři Fajt returned to the topic, and organized a major exhibition dedicated to the Emperor. The occasion was the 700th anniversary of the birth of Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor - hence the short logo-title of the exhibition: K700. The exhibition was jointly organized by the National Gallery in Prague and the House of of Bavarian History, and will be shown later this year in Nuremberg as well. I managed to catch it in Prague before it closed on September 25, 2016, at the Waldstein Riding School.


Titled Emperor Charles IV 1316-2016, the topic of the Czech-Bavarian exhibition is summarized in the press release of the National Gallery:
"Charles IV is among the most frequently portrayed medieval monarchs. Not only was he a wise and pious ruler, but also a successful collector of royal crowns. He liked to dress in the latest Paris fashion and participated in jousting tournaments. One of them was nearly fatal, permanently affecting his appearance as shown in his many portraits. The first Czech-Bavarian Land Exhibition Emperor Charles IV 1316–2016, held at the Waldstein Riding School of the National Gallery in Prague, not only gets to the heart of the traditional Charles IV themes but also focuses on the less popularised ones. About 200 precious exhibits will present the emperor’s personality, a perspective on him by his adherents and opponents, art, and Jewish pogroms." Along with other materials, this press release can be downloaded from the website of the National Gallery.


What follows is not a proper review of the exhibition - I would merely like to summarize a few of my observations about the exhibition. As the court of Charles IV was one of the most important artistic centers of 14th century Europe, it is no surprise that the exhibition was full of beautiful, even breathtaking works of art. The highlights for me were some of the reliquaries commissioned by the Emperor, as well as the statues and paintings made for Prague or Karlstein castle. Some monumental works also made it into the exhibition hall, including the tympanum relief with Passion scenes from the north portal of Tyn Church (Prague). Given the partnership with Nuremberg, one of the richest section of the exhibition consisted of works stemming from Nuremberg, including the monumental Waldstromer’s window from the hospital church of St Martha in Nuremberg, which rose over 5 meters high in the exhibition space. Further sections focused on other artistic centers in Bohemia, apart from Prague and Karlstein, as well as on artistic developments in the northern German areas of Brandenburg and neighboring territories. Special attention was given to the French upbringing of Charles, and the influence of Parisian court art at his court - high-quality loan objects illustrated the types of objects likely available in Prague, and one of the last sections focuses on the final journey of Charles to Paris in 1378.


Cat.04.08. - Ewer for the tablecloth
 of the Last Supper
A special section was dedicated to the contemporaries and opponents of Charles IV - however, I felt that rather little attention was given to his Central European neighbors in Vienna, Cracow or Buda. I would like to make a few small observations about objects with Hungarian connections. One of these was a centerpiece of the display of reliquaries: a rock crystal ewer once holding the tablecloth used for the Last Supper. The relic was a gift of Hungarian King Louis the Great before 1350. Some high-quality goldsmith works commissioned by Louis the Great are also on view: a mantle clasp and escutcheons with the coat of arms of Hungary, coming from the Hungarian chapel by Aachen Cathedral. The chapel was established in 1367, and these objects are part of a larger group donated by the ruler. Contrary to the label in the exhibition, Hungarian art historians have long disproved the identification of their makers as the brothers Martin and George of Klausenburg (Kolozsvár/Cluj). Next to these objects the wonderful Fonthill vase was on view (from the National Museum of Ireland) - which is the first documented Chinese porcelain object in Europe. Unfortunately, it has no connection either to Charles IV or the Hungarian Angevin Court - it has long been demonstrated that the object was mounted in the Neapolitan Angevin court (as I summarized it here in this blog a few years ago).

These are minor points. Another issue is a bit more significant - unfortunately, the catalogue of the exhibition has not yet been published. As far as I know, the catalogue is in preparation, and will be published for the second, Nuremberg venue of the exhibition. So far only a guide to the exhibition is available (In English, German and Czech editions), which includes the text of the exhibition labels and illustrations (Emperor Charles IV 1316-2016, Exhibition guide. Jiří Fajt, in cooperation with Helena Dáňová. Prague, 2016, 188 pp.). The exhibition, however, has its own website, and an illustrated visual and audioguide is also available, as well as additional publications.

Cat. 08.11. - Tympanum of Tyn Church, Prague

It should also be mentioned, that at the occasion of the 700th anniversary, a series of other exhibitions were organized in Prague by the Prague Castle. These include an exhibition dedicated to the Cathedral of St. Vitus, with life-size replicas of the famous triforium busts, as well as a display of the burial costumes of Bohemian rulers. Another exhibition focused on royal coronations in Bohemia. Information on these exhibitions is available on the website of Prague Castle.
Cat. 09.06. Panel from Retable of the Virgin, Nuremberg, St. Clare

The main exhibition, now simply titled Charles IV., will be on wiew at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg from 20 October 2016 until 5 March 2017. See also the website of the Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte, one of the co-organizers.

Photos in this blog post come from the websites associated with the exhibition, and linked to above. In addition, I have collected a number of objects included in the exhibition on Pinterest. Some images come with links to fully digitized manuscripts.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Exhibitions of the St. Martin Memorial Year in Hungary

St. Martin and Pannonia - Poster 
A historical and archaeological exhibition titled St. Martin and Pannonia opened at two venues, in Pannonhalma and Szombathely. The exhibition is the most important scholarly element of the Saint Martin Memorial Year, held in commemoration of the 1700th anniversary of the saint's birth. The exhibition focuses on five centuries in the life of Pannonia - from the time of the Roman Empire to just before the Hungarian conquest, and provides and insight into the spread of Christianity in the region. 

Saint Martin was born in 316 in the Roman province of Pannonia near the city of Savaria, what is now Szombathely. The son of a wealthy military officer, he was required to join the cavalry when he turned fifteen. He became baptized in 339. His good deeds and his compassion and empathy for the poor became legendary and by popular demand he was appointed to bishop of Tours in 371. He was always regarded as one of the most important saints in Hungary, and now the anniversary of his birth provides a chance to have a look at the era when he lived, and also the centuries following the fall of the Roman Empire. 

This twin exhibition of international significance gathers hundreds of objects, largely stemming from Pannonia (nowadays western Hungary), coming from a number of Hungarian and foreign collections. The exhibition opened on June 3rd, and will remain on view until September at both the Iseum Savariense Museum in Szombathely and the Museum of Pannonhalma Archabbey. At Szombathely, visitors can trace the history of Pannonia and Savaria back to the Roman roots of the time when Saint Martin lived, whereas in Pannonhalma the age of Saint Martin, the Christian monk and bishop is in focus, as well as the subsequent centuries.

Fondo d'oro, 4th century (Hungarian National Museum)
The exhibition features a number of unique objects: the earliest piece is beautifully executed bronze statue of Fortuna from the 1st century. A large blue glass vase from the 4th century represents the sophistication of Roman culture in Pannonia (pieces of the Seuso Treasure could represents this as well - but none of those were available for loan). 

Blue jug, glass, 4th century (Kaposvár, Rippl Rónai Museum) 

The exhibition also presents a great selection of objects from the Migration Period: finds from a hun grave of Pannonhalma from the 5th century, or a unique Early Byzantine bronze jug with hunting scenes, found in an Avar period cemetery at Budakalász (for a 3D view, click here). Objects with Christian symbols (especially the cross) are featured from several early medieval treasure finds, such as the golden Treasure of Nagyszentmiklós (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum). 

Jewelry of a Germanic woman, 5th century (Hungarian National Museum)
Bronze jug with hunting scenes, c. 500 (Szentendre, Ferenczy Museum) 

Dish 9 of the Nagyszentmiklós Treasure, 7th century (Wien, KHM)
The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated scholarly catalogue, and English-language edition of which is in preparation.

Further information (and advance tickets): www.szentmarton-pannonia.hu and on the website of the Via Sancti Martini European Cultural Route.


Sunday, April 03, 2016

Exhibition on Buda and Kraków in the Middle Ages

 Poster of the exhibition 

A new exhibition, titled On Common Path - Budapest and Kraków in the Middle Ages opened last week at the Budapest History Museum. It is the result of a common project of the Hungarian institution and the Historical Museum of the City Kraków, and was realized in the larger framework of the cooperation of Hungary and Poland, as the first step of the Hungarian Cultural Year in Poland.

The exhibition surveys the parallel histories of Buda and Kraków from the period of their foundations to the high points of their development in the late Middle Ages. Both towns were among the major cities of medieval Europe. The exhibition presents common events in the history of the town, as well as personalities who played an important role in the history of both towns. Among other things, it focuses on the Anjou and the Jagiellonian dynasties, as well as on Stephen Báthory, Prince of Transylvania and King of Poland. Through these historical figures, the exhibition illustrated that not only the two cities, but also the history of the two nations is closely linked. The last period surveyed is the 16th century, which represents a break, especially in the development of Buda, which came under Ottoman Turkish occupation in 1541.

Most of the objects in the exhibition give insight into the everyday life of city dwellers as well as into festive occasions. A large number of archaeological finds are presented, including many objects never before shown (expecially from Buda). The parallel histories of the two cities are installed on two sides of the exhibition rooms, while showcases placed in the center of the rooms features historical figures and institutions - such as the University of Cracow - which represented points of contact for the two towns.

View of the exhibition - Buda (Photo: BTM - Bence Tihanyi)

The exhibition will remain on view until July 24 in Budapest, and later will be presented in Kraków as well, It is accompanied by a detailed and useful exhibition catalogue, which will also be published in and English-language edition.

View of the exhibition - Kraków (Photo: BTM - Bence Tihanyi)

Exhibition: Közös úton - Budapest és Krakkó a középkorban. On Common Path - Budapest and Kraków in the Middle Ages. Castle Museum of Budapest History Museum, March 19 - July 24, 2016. The poster, seen above, features the emblem of the Krakow Rifle Association, the "Rooster Company," a work of Gian Giacopo Caraglio from 1564/65. Krakow, Museum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa.
Photo: Nol.hu

Catalogue: Közös úton. Budapest és Krakkó a középkorban. Kiállítási katalógus. Ed. Judit Benda, Virág Kiss, Grazyna Lihonczak-Nurek, Károly Magyar. Budapest, 2016, 335 pp.

Martin Kober's portrait of Stephen Báthory from Kraków, 1583