Showing posts with label non-Hungarian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label non-Hungarian. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Two discoveries of medieval painting

Cimabue, Christ Mocked, c. 1280
This post has nothing to do with the art of medieval Hungary, but the information presented below is so fascinating that I decided to create a small post about it. New started circulating this week about the discovery of some spectacular medieval paintings, which had been hitherto unknown. The most famous discovery concerns a small panel attributed by Cimabue, which was found hanging in the kitchen of French woman. The painting will be auctioned by Acteon in Senlis on October 27, with an estimate of 4 to 6 million Euros.
The small panel depicts the Christ being Mocked and was identified as part of a dismembered small altarpiece. Its reconstruction shows a diptych, with four small panels on each wing. So far, two other paintings of the left wing have been known: the Virgin and Child Enthroned with Two Angels at the National Gallery, London and the Flagellation of Christ at the Frick Collection. The two panels have been exhibited together at the Frick Collection in 2006. The newly identified painting dates from around 1280, along with the dismembered former altarpiece.

The Cimabue panels in  London and New York

Also discovered in France, the second painting originates from Central Europe. It is a small panel of the Virgin and Child, attributed to one of the most famous - but anonymous - masters of medieval Czech painting, the Master of Vyšší Brod. Active in the middle of the 14th century, the master received his name from the altarpiece now preserved in the National Gallery in Prague. The background of the small panel has been repainted but could be cleaned and restored by a potential buyer (see the image in the article in La Tribune l'Art). The painting will be offered for sale by Cortot & Associés in Dijon, on November 30, with an estimate of 400.000 to 600.000 Euros.
For more information, see for example La Gazette Drouot.

Master of Vyšší Brod, The Virgin and Child, c. 1350

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New medieval art websites VI.

A number of very useful online image databases have been launched recently, dedicated to late medieval / northern Renaissance painting. Also, access to digitized medieval manuscripts is getting more and more easy. Here is a selection - the following descriptions are based on texts given on the websites themselves.

Museum Mayer van den Berg

Flemish primitives - This website was created by the association of Flemish art museums, The Flemish Art Collection, and so is a collaborative project of Belgian museums in Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges. The goal is to present a website that is a reference point for the painted arts in the Burgundian Netherlands in the 15th century and early-16th century. Visitors can search paintings from Flemish museums or follow thematic collection presentations. It seems that over 400 paintings are available in the database now - I hope that image management and viewing options will improve later on.

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna 
A lot more information and much more images are provided by the newly launched Cranach Digital Archive (cda). This is "an interdisciplinary collaborative research resource, providing access to art historical, technical and conservation information on paintings by Lucas Cranach (c.1472 - 1553) and his workshop. The repository presently provides information on more than 400 paintings including c.5000 images and documents from 19 partner institutions." The Cranach Digital Archive is a joint initiative of the Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf and Cologne Institute of Conservation Sciences / Cologne University of Applied Sciences, with several partner institutions. It is highly recommended (via 1100sor).

University of Pennsylvania 

More and more medieval manuscripts are also being made available online. Last Fall, the University of Pennsylvania finished the digitization of their manuscripts collections, making the books (including over a thousand medieval and renaissance manuscripts) available at the Penn in Hand website. The University of Chicago is providing online access to the Goodspeed manuscript collection, comprising 68 early Greek, Syriac, Ethiopic, Armenian, Arabic, and Latin manuscripts ranging in date from the 5th to the 19th centuries. Yale (Beinecke Library) and Harvard (Houghton Library) have been providing access to their early codices for quite some time now. Meanwhile, it has been announced that the union catalogue of medieval manuscripts in America is returning to the University of California, Berkeley. It is now at the url:

Hungarian Academy of Sciences 
While we are on the subject of manuscripts, I would like to call attention to a special resource from Hungary (it is not new, but perhaps not too many people know about it). It is the Kaufmann-collection of medieval Hebrew manuscripts in the Oriental Collection of the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The website provides an introductory study on the collector, Dávid Kaufmann and his collection, and the complete facsimile of five manuscripts. All of this is available in Hungarian, English and even Spanish. The manuscripts include the famous Kaufmann-Haggadah, originating from 14th century Catalonia, which has already been published in a print facsimile.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Nativity Tapestry from Brussels (Merry Christmas!)

I would like to wish Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all my readers with a detail from the most beautiful late medieval tapestry in the collection of the Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest. The central field of the tapestry depicts the Nativity, or more specifically, the Adoration of the baby Jesus - these beautiful angels hover over the scene. The Nativity image is of a type which became widespread upon the influence of late medieval mysticism: the newborn Saviour lying on the ground is adored by his mother the Virgin Mary and angels. On either side a sibyl is standing holding a scroll with the text of her prophecy in her hands. In the top left corner the Adoration of the Magi, in the right corner the Annunciation are seen. (see the full image below).

An exact analogy of the tapestry can be found in the Museo Diocesano in Trento, as the first piece of a seven-part cycle depicting Christ’s Passion. That cycle was purchased by Bernardo Cles, the prince-archbishop of Trento (1514–1539) from Joris van Lickau, a merchant of Antwerp in 1531. The tapestries were made earlier: the piece showing the Carrying of the Cross features the date 1507, and in another one the name of the leader of the Brussels weaving workshop, Pieter van Aelst (ca. 1450 – 1531/1533) can also be read.

The origins of the images on the tapestry can be traced to 15th century Flemish painting: the Annunciation follows the popular composition of Rogier van der Weyden (1399/1400 – 1464), while the central depiction was influenced, among others, by Robert Campin (ca. 1375 – 1444). The prototype for the Adoration is a print in Albrecht Dürer’s engraved cycle of the life of the Virgin (about 1500 – 1502). Based on the stylistic features of the tapestry, the composition can be attributed to Jan van Roome of Brussels, court painter of Margaret of Austria (demonstrable between 1498 and 1521), who is well-known from contemporary sources. The tapestry comes to the museum from the Cathedral of Győr - and probably originates from bishop Demeter Náprágyi’s (1559 – 1619) bequest in 1619. In 1914 Francis Joseph I, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, purchased it and donated it to the Society of the Friends of the Museum. (Money from the sale went for the renovation of the cathedral.)

Nativity Tapestry, Brussels, c. 1510. Pieter van Aelst’s workshop, Jan van Roome’s (?) design
Wool, silk and metal thread, woven with gobelin technique, H.: 275 cm W.: 260 cm
Budapest, Museum of Applied Arts, 18328

(More details below!)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Exhibition of Medieval Art in Cologne

Last week I had a chance to see the exhibition "Glanz und Grösse des Mittelalters" at the Schnütgen Museum in Cologne (Splendour and Glory of the Middle Ages). The new building of the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum provides a spacious and modern exhibition space right next door to the historic building of the Schnütgen (the former St. Cecilia church) for such exhibitions (this is in fact the first such show). The rich collection of the Schnütgen Museum provides a great overview of medieval art in Cologne and the Rhineland - the aim of the present exhibition was to gather other highlights stemming from Cologne but kept in various collections worldwide. The resulting exhibition and the accompanying catalogue does provide a great overview of medieval sculpture and decorative arts in Cologne, and includes a number of important paintings and illuminated manuscripts as well (although naturally it cannot match the complete overview of medieval painting in Cologne provided on the lower floor of the nearby Wallraf-Richartz Museum).

Over a decade ago, a select number of medieval objects from the Schnütgen toured the US at the exhibition Fragmented Devotion (at the McMullen Museum of Art of Boston College). Now objects from American collections in New York, Detroit, Philadelphia, Washington, Cleveland, Chicago and Los Angeles are shown alongside of loans from various European museums. The Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest lent two spectacular late Gothic statues of the Virgin Mary and St John, which are now joined with the crucified Christ, once again forming the original group once standing at the abbey church of Grosskönigsdorf. As I was not able to take photos in the exhibition, I am illustrating this with a photo I found on Wikipedia:

Museum Schnütgen - Glanz und Größe des Mittelalters-5138
Crucifixion group from Grosskönigsdorf by Master Tilman, 1480/90

The life-size figures were carved by master Tilman - who has a sizeable oeuvre in the area - around 1480/90. It was interesting to see the group united - the sculptures in Budapest preserved much of their polychromy, while the Christ figure still in Grosskönigsdorf has been stripped of its paint layer. The two saints appeared on the art market after the dissolution of the monastery, and were purchased from a Munich art dealer in 1916. Why and how the central figure remained in its original place, is not known. Here is a link to the object description on the Museum of Fine Arts website.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Exhibitions on Medieval Fashion

Two different exhibitions, both dedicated to medieval fashion are open at the same time: one at the West Coast of America, the other one at the East Coast. First to open was the exhibition at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City. Titled Illuminating Fashion: Dress in the Art of Medieval France and the Netherlands, the exhibition is on view from May 20 through September 4, 2011. Its curator is Roger S. Wieck, Curator of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts at the Morgan Library. The exhibition coincides with the publication of Anne H. van Buren's long-awaited monograph on the subject. The book is "the first comprehensive history of fashion to be based exclusively on firmly dated or datable art. Drawing mainly upon illuminated manuscripts, this book also features panel painting, tapestry, sculpture, and early printed books produced in France and the duchy of Burgundy during the late medieval period – a time of rapid change in dress."

The website of the exhibition provides and online tour of the manuscripts on view. You can read about the exhibition in The Art Newspaper or on the website.

From May 31–August 14, 2011, the exhibition Fashion in the Middles Ages is on view at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. The exhibition was co-curated by Kristen Collins, associate curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and Margaret Scott, scholar of medieval fashion and author of the accompanying exhibition publication. You can read more about the exhibition in the press release of the Getty Museum, and you can also download an exhibition checklist (pdf).

The website also reported on the exhibition.

If you can't get to the US this summer, you can also see fashion in medieval manuscripts in Paris. The gallery Les Enluminures also opened an exhibition on fashion in its Paris space in the Louvre des Antiquaires. Approximately 35 works of art are featured in “Dressing Up and Dressing Down in the Middle Ages and Renaissance: Costume in Art,” from May 5 to August 25. Organized by gallery owner Sandra Hindman, the exhibition is accompanied by an online catalogue (pdf). You can get more information on this project from this video. This being a commercial gallery - you can even buy the artworks on display!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The secret of the casket

Photos by Melange Galéria, Budapest 
A small Italian Renaissance casket went on display earlier this month in a Budapest gallery. The display was opened by Mária Prokopp, university professor and a noted expert of Italian Renaissance painting. So far not much is known about the intriguing object, the website of the gallery only says this much about it:
"This is the first public appearance of this precious Renaissance casket, which had been serving as a medicine case in the household of an elderly lady for the last 30 years."

The small casket (about 50 cm wide) is decorated with a well-composed Renaissance painting on the front, and two coat of arms on the shorter sides. The main scene seems to be some kind of triumphal or marriage procession - and is in very bad condition. Some small areas have already been cleaned, to reveal the original bright colors. The details are very fine, like in a manuscript illumination. The coats of arms on the sides seem rather general - an eagle and a lion. On the back side, there is an inscription fitting for the object, which reads: "Quod ut custoditorum me nemo sciat" (No-one shall know what is guarded by me).

It is clear that the casket is in need of restoration and detailed examination. It is hard to say more about it, until that happens. A series of photographs can be seen on the website of the gallery, plus here is a detail of the painting from the front of the casket. Renaissance experts - feel free to comment!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New medieval art websites, II.

My post written last month called attention the a number of interesting new websites. In recent weeks I've noticed some more interesting new websites dedicated to medieval art.

First I need to mention a new database, launched on December 15. The Gothic Ivories Project is an online database of ivory sculptures made in Western Europe ca. 1200-ca. 1530. The project is run by the Courtauld Institute of Art. In addition to the database - which currently gives access to about 700 ivories - the website also contains a news section, a bibliography and useful links. The goal of the project is very ambitious:  "a database which aims at including all readily available information on every surviving Gothic ivory, accompanied by at least one image." The website will gradually be added to through regular uploads.

Full digital editions of medieval illuminated manuscripts seem to multiply these days. One of these in particular caught my attention last week (via The National Library of Wales made available a 15th century illuminated manuscript with the Battles of Alexander (Peniarth Ms 481D).
As the website tells us, this late 15th-century manuscript is in two parts, and both parts were likely bound together as one volume from the outset, probably in England. The first part of the manuscript was written by an English scribe and illustrated by a Flemish artist, while the second part of the manuscript was written and illuminated in Cologne. The Digital Mirror section of the library's website contains digital images of other medieval manuscripts, such as the Sherbrooke Missal.

The next resource is not exactly a website, but a subset of a larger resource. The Fototeca of the Biblioteca Berenson at Villa I Tatti (Florence) started an ambitious digitization project, the first results of which are already available. These include photos of the Life of Saint Francis cycle from the Upper Church of San Francesco in Assisi,  taken during restoration carried out by Bruno Zanardi in 1974-1983.
I had some problems getting to the actual images within the Harvard University Visual Information Access system. You get the full set of images most easily by searching there for "Zanardi". Each image has a subset of detail photos, with high quality scans.

Finally, I would like to mention a Hungarian website and accompanying database. The website of the National Széchényi Library is dedicated to early Hungarian printed books, and consists of two parts. First, the section titled The Hand-Press Period, contains detailed information about 15-16th century printing houses and printed books from the territory of the Kingdom of Hungary, with lots of images. The other section - called Clavis Typographorum Regionis Carpathicae - is a database for printing and publishing that includes all data of printing houses and publishers working in the actual territory of the Hungarian state from the beginnings of local printing in 1473 to 1948. The entire website is available in Hungarian and English as well - making it a very useful resource for the early history of the printed book.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A note on the Fonthill Vase

The Fonthill Vase
National Museum of Ireland, Dublin 

The so-called Gaigneres-Fonthill vase at the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin is regarded as the oldest well-documented Chinese porcelain object to enter Europe. It is a porcelain vase with bluish-white (qingbai) glaze, dating from the beginning of the 14th century. The history of the vase is given as follows in almost all available English-language sources: The vase arrived in Europe probably as a gift to King Louis the Great of Hungary, given by an embassy of Nestorian Christians from China, who visited Pope Benedict XII in 1338. The piece then supposedly was mounted by King Louis, and given as a gift to Charles III of Durazzo, upon his ascension to the throne of Naples in 1381 (after the defeat of Louis' hated enemy, Queen Joan). That would explain the combination of Hungarian and Neapolitan Angevin coat of arms mounted on top of the vase. This theory, first elaborated by Mazerolle in 1897 (Gazette des Beaux-Arts), is based on a drawing by Gaigneres from 1713, which depicts the elaborate medieval silver-gilt mounting and enameled heraldic decoration of the vase (Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale). Mazerolle did not know that the vessel, without its mount, was purchased by the National Museum of Ireland in 1882 for about £28.

The vase had been previously recorded at the Fonthill Abbey collection of William Beckford, which was sold in 1822-23, and the piece likely entered the Hamilton collection after that (The 'Hamilton palace sale' took place in 1882). The celebrated Chinese vase still had its mount preserved at Fonthill Abbey, as the following illustration proves (the picture comes from the book: An Illustrated History and Description of Fonthill Abbey, by John Rutter, 1823 - available via Google Books.)

The mount was removed at an unknown date during the 19th century, and the object entered the National Museum of Ireland unrecognized. The vase was identified by Arthur Lane, who then pieced together the entire story ("The Gaignieres-Fonthill Vase - A Chinese Porcelain of about 1300," Burlington Magazine 103 (1961), 124-132). Lane's article is still the general reference on the object, cited by many (for example: David Whitehouse: "Chinese Porcelain in Medieval Europe," in Medieval Archaeology, 1972, see online here.). This information is also given by the National Museum of Ireland website and the piece was featured with this data in an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The Gaigneres drawing of the vase
with its medieval mounting  
Paris, BNF 
The study of Arthur Lane, Keeper of the Department of Ceramics at the Victoria and Albert Museum, also appeared in Hungarian in the art history journal Művészettörténeti Értesítő - sadly only after the premature death of Lane. Béla Krisztinkovich, a Hungarian expert on ceramics, published a response to Lane's article in the same Hungarian journal. It appears that his publication remained unnoticed outside Hungary (Krisztinkovich, Béla, "Hozzászólás Arthur Lane a Művészettörténeti Értesítő 1967/I. számában megjelent posztumusz cikkéhez a Gaignières-Fonthill vázáról," Művészettörténeti Értesítő 18, 1969/2, 187–192.). Krisztinkovich provides a close analysis of the Gaigneres drawing, which preserved the feature of the mount of the object, and its heraldic decoration. The heraldic decoration is that of the Neapolitan Angevin family, along with the coat of arm of the Hungarian Angevin kings. This of course gave rise to the theory outlined above. However, all branches of the Neapolitan Angevins had a claim to the throne of Hungary, and thus they used the Hungarian coat of arms in their heraldic representation as well. After analyzing the heraldic decoration and other features of the object in details, Krisztinkovich arrives at the conclusion that the vase was mounted for Queen Joan II, successor of King Ladislas at the throne of Naples (1414-1434). His father, Charles III of Naples was king of Hungary for a brief time (Charles II in Hungary) - but was murdered swiftly, making way ultimately for Sigismund of Luxemburg. Joan's brother, Ladislas, also claimed Hungary, but failed to obtain the crown. Similarly to her brother's claim, Joan used the title of Queen of Hungary until her death in 1435. The argument of Krisztinkovich is clinched by the inscription on the spout of the jug: JEHANA, clearly referring to Joan. Later, Jenő Horváth further elaborated this argument - his study is recommended as the best English-language overview of the Fonthill vase (reference below).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New medieval art websites

In this post I would like to call attention to a number websites dedicated to medieval art. I was inspired to do this by the latest post on the blog 1100sor (1100lines) of Gábor Endrődi - a very informative Hungarian blog on Medieval and Renaissance art. The websites below are recommended not only to specialists - although they are wonderful resources for art historians - but to everyone interested in medieval art in general. They all provide stunning images of major monuments of Gothic art.

Etampes, Collégiale Notre-Dame-du-Fort
Mapping Gothic France - This wonderful websites provides information, images and virtual panoramas of Gothic churches in France. Initiated by Stephen Murray, Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University and Andrew Tallon, Assistant Professor of Art at Vassar College, the website was developed by the these two institutions. With a database of images, texts, charts and historical maps, Mapping Gothic France provides parallel stories of Gothic architecture and the formation of France in the 12th and 13th centuries, considered in three dimensions: space, time and narratives. Still officially in beta version, the website is already a treasure-trove of information.

Stained glass from Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
Vidimus - The only online magazine dedicated to medieval stained glass. The online magazin Vidimus is celebrating its fourth year with an annivesary issue - No. 45. Vidimus has a regular news section dedicated (mainly) to medieval stained glass, also listing various medieval exhibitions and new publications. The monthly features - including the Panel of the Month - are short articles dedicated to individual monuments or specific topics (this month to the Fifteen Signs of Doom window in the Church of All Saints, North Street, York and to Jan Gossaert and Stained Glass). I would also recommend the Corpus Virtearum Medii Aevi (GB) website and picture archive (c. 17.000 images). CVMA GB are the publishers of Vidimus.

Haltadefinizione - A website with high resolution images of Italian medieval and Renaissance art. Haltadefinizione provides a gallery of extremely high definition images of the greatest treasures in the history of art, mainly of Italian Renaissance paintings (Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Bronzino, etc.). The main reason for  including it here is the latest addition to the site: a virtual tour of Giotto's Cappella Scrovegni in Padua. You should set the presentation to full screen, and then you can look around in the interior of the chapel (like in any other virtual tour) - then select any part of the frescoes to arrive at a very high resolution image of it. Wonderful (despite the watermark appearing on the images).

Codex Manesse
Heidelberg, UB CPg 848
Two very important Gothic manuscripts are currently exhibited in Leuven and in Heidelberg: The Anjou Bible in Leuven ("a royal manuscript revealed") is on view until December 5, 2010, while the Codex Manesse is exhibited in Heidelberg in the context of the The House of Hohenstaufen and Italy exhibition in the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museums Mannheim until 20th February 2011. Both manuscripts are available in superb digital facsimile versions on the web: the Anjou Bible in a special book viewer (the English commentary for which is in preparation), where every illuminated page can be studied and zoomed, and the Codex Manesse in the Digital Library of the Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg - with an image of every folio. These two, roughly contemporary 14th-century manuscripts are true highlights of the art of illumination, and browsing these digital editions is highly recommended to everyone.

Seen any good new medieval art websites? Let me know in a comment!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Medieval art exhibitions worldwide

Virgin and Child from Toporc,
Hungarian National Gallery
Currently on view in London
Two new exhibitions mentioned before on this blog are now open:
  • D'or et de feu - L'art en Slovaquie à la fin du Moyen Âge, at the Musée du Moyen Âge - Thermes et Hôtel de Cluny, Paris.
  • Treasures from Budapest: European Masterpieces from Leonardo to Schiele, at the Royal Academy in London, featuring several Hungarian medieval objects.

As far as the late medieval art of Upper Hungary is concerned (shown at Musée de Cluny), a unique opportunity for comparison will be offered with the opening of another exhibition at the Grand Palais in early October. Titled France 1500, entre Moyen Âge et Renaissance, that exhibition will present the same period as at the focus of the "D'or et de feu" show. While in Paris, you may want to check out the show at the gallery Les Enluminures, titled also France 1500 (The Pictorial Arts at the Dawn of the Renaissance), or at least the accompanying beautiful virtual exhibition.