Showing posts with label obituary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label obituary. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

In memoriam Paul Crossley (1945-2019)

Paul Crossley, Emeritus Professor of the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London has passed away on December 11th, 2019. Dr. Crossley was an eminent scholar of Gothic architecture - perhaps best known for the second and much expanded edition of Paul Frankl's Gothic Architecture in the Pelican History of Art series (Yale, 2000). He has made a significant addition to the study of medieval art, primarily through his research on Central European Gothic architecture. He completed his PhD on medieval architecture in Poland, and his book on fourteenth-century Polish Gothic Architecture in the Reign of Kasimir the Great was published in 1985. In addition, he also published extensively on Gothic architecture in Prague at the time of Charles IV.

Paul Crossley did not publish much about medieval Hungary but was very knowledgeable about it as well. I had a chance to meet him on several occasions, the most memorable of which was when he opened the 2006 exhibition dedicated to Emperor Sigismund, organized by the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest. The text of his opening speech was published in The Hungarian Quarterly (No. 182, 2006), and can be downloaded from this link - the issue also includes an overview of the exhibition by Ernő Marosi. The speech was also published in Hungarian in Élet és Irodalom (2006. April 7), and I am making it available below. Let me quote a characteristic passage from the original English text of Dr. Crossley:
In my experience, Hungary had always been the eminence gris of later medieval European art—a country of exquisite, but mysterious culture. When I was a student in Cracow, many years ago, my Polish Professor, when asked about a particularly exquisite late medieval or early Renaissance object in Poland, would reply, with hushed wonder: “Ah, that is Hungarian”. But how, or why, or when it was Hungarian always remained a mystery. Now, thanks to this spectacular exhibition Sigismundus. Rex et Imperator, Hungary’s vital contribution to the international “court culture” of later medieval and early Renaissance Christendom has been magnificently recognized.

Paul will always be remembered as a kind, enthusiastic and funny colleague, and a great champion of Central Europen Gothic art. He will be greatly missed.

Hungarian translation of the opening speech of the Sigismundus - Rex et Imperator exhibition, 2006

Monday, November 25, 2019

In memoriam Tünde Wehli (1943-2019)

Photo of Tünde Wehli, taken at the celebration of her 70th birthday, 2013

It is with sadness that I report on the passing of art historian Tünde Wehli, on November 18, 2019, in the 76th year of her life. Tünde Wehli had been a long-time senior researcher at the Institute of Art History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, starting her career there in 1970. Dr. Wehli was a scholar of medieval art, primarily manuscript illumination, and had published groundbreaking studies ranging from the 12th century Admont Bible  (the subject of her dissertation) to the Bibliotheca Corviniana. She is particularly well-known for her research on medieval patronage of manuscripts, and she also participated in the work of the Fragmenta Codicum research group of the National Széchényi Library. She also published extensively on other subjects, including Romanesque art, iconography, Hungarian royal monuments abroad as well as on seals and armorial charters. Perhaps most widely accessible is her small book on medieval Spanish painting (Painting in Medieval Spain, 1980), which was published in at least five languages. She participated in the preparation of a number of exhibitions organized by the Institute of Art History - most notably the exhibitions on King Louis the Great (1982) and Emperor Sigismund (1987). You can have a look at the list of her publications in the Kubikat catalogue. Many of her publications can be found in the digital publication archive of the Institute of Art History.

Dr. Wehli was a very kind, helpful colleague. Although I only worked with her during my brief tenure at the Institute 25 years ago, she has followed my progress with great interest over the years and was always ready to help with advice or literature. As a teacher - participating in the art history program at Pázmány Péter Catholic University - she was also greatly admired. It is no wonder that she was celebrated with a hefty Festschrift - published as a special volume of the journal Ars Hungarica - on her 70th birthday in 2013 (you can read it online here). She will be remembered fondly by her students and colleagues and will be greatly missed. May she rest in peace.

Office of the Dead, Book of Hours, Flemish, about 1450–1455 (J.P. Getty Museum, Ms. 2)

Sunday, February 03, 2019

In memoriam Ferenc Dávid (1940-2019)

Ferenc Dávid, one of the most important personalities of Hungarian monument protection research, died on January 21th, 2019, at age 78.

Throughout his life, Ferenc Dávid worked as an art historian and researcher of historic buildings. He wrote his thesis on a medieval theme and started working in the field of monument protection, as a disciple of Dezső Dercsényi and Géza Entz. The 1960s and 1970s were a very important period of Hungarian monument protection when large-scale research and reconstructions were carried out throughout the country. Ferenc Dávid was responsible for a long time for the research of the historic monuments of Sopron - a town rich in medieval, Renaissance and Baroque monuments. 

This work required knowledge of every period of architectural history, as well as intensive archival research. As a result of his research, he was able to publish important studies on Sopron's gothic residential buildings (1970) the history of the medieval synagogue of Sopron (1978), as well as on houses and homeowners of downtown Sopron (in several parts).

His primary area of research, however, was on the buildings themselves, which proved to be the most reliable source of their own story. Ferenc Dávid worked out the methodology of the historical-architectural research process, which included a step-by-step investigation of the building fabric itself, comparing finds with information from archival sources. This detailed analysis - known in German terminology as the method of Bauforschung - forms the basis of both the restoration of the buildings and the art historical studies written on them. The use of this method became widespread following his example - thus he played an important role in the most creative and important period of the Hungarian Office for Monument Protection (from the 1960s to the mid-1980s).

In 1986, Ferenc Dávid became a member of the Institute of Art History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In this period, he mainly researched Baroque palace architecture: buildings such as Gödöllő Castle or the Esterházy-palace at Fertőd. As an expert-consultant, he participated in the restoration of countless important monuments, from the presidential palace (Sándor Palace in Buda castle) to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Although he never held a formal teaching position, young art historians learned the complex method of building research from him - often on site. I still remember our conversations, when I started as a young researcher myself in 1994. He was always helpful and generous with his time - amply demonstrated by his work carried out for my current workplace, the Museum of Applied Arts. He consulted on our collection of historic tile stoves and helped the restoration and exhibition of several monumental Baroque stoves. More recently, we greatly benefited from his advice on the history and historical decoration of the main building of the Museum of Applied Arts (which is awaiting a full reconstruction). 

His influence and the admiration of his colleagues for him is well demonstrated by the monumental, two-volume study collection published for his 73rd birthday in 2013 (Kő kövön. Dávid Ferenc 73. születésnapjára - Stein auf Stein. Festschrift für Ferenc Dávid. Budapest, 2013. Ed. Edit Szentesi, Klára Mentényi, Anna Simon).

His importance is also marked by the numerous obituaries published during the last two weeks. My Hungarian-speaking readers are advised to read especially the obituary by Pál Lővei in Élet és irodalom

I am saying good-bye to him with the picture below, which shows the reconstruction of a medieval wall-painting uncovered in Sopron's church of St Michael in 1866. Ferenc Storno, who had uncovered the fresco and made this reconstruction, was unsuccessful in his attempts to save the original. After learning of my casual interest in this unstudied monument last year, Ferenc Dávid immediately sent me this picture, encouraging me to work on it. Sadly, any result of my research can now only be published in his memory. R.I.P.

Ferenc Storno's reconstruction of a wall painting from the church of St. Michael, Sopron. 1868
Sopron Museum, Storno Collection

Monday, November 09, 2015

In memoriam Terézia Kerny

It is with great sadness that I report on the death of Terézia Kerny. She was one of the most knowledgeable and helpful art historians of her generation. She was a researcher of medieval iconography, patronage, the cult of the saints as well the historiography of art history. Her lifelong passion was the study of the cult and images of Saint Ladislas. Her monograph on the subject, which is accompanied by a detailed catalogue of works dating from the earliest examples to 1630, is quoted widely in the field, despite the fact that it has never been published in its entirety. She kept reworking the material, adding more and more items to the catalogue as new monuments became known, and she published several parts and several versions of the introductory study in a variety of publications. This was characteristic of her: sharing her knowledge at every possible forum. She participated at conferences and book presentations in her field; she wrote short articles, catalogue entries, book reviews and texts for illustrated popular works. A list of her select publications reveals the wide range of subjects she has worked on: she wrote and edited books on Saxon medieval churches in Transylvania, the frescoes of Johannes Aquila and the cult of St. Stephen and St. Emeric. She was also very generous and helpful with her colleagues, providing bibliographical references, copies of documents, photographs as well as her time to those interested.

Terézia Kerny (r) with Zsuzsa Lovag and Péter Varga, restorer, at the conservation survey of the head reliquary
of St. Ladislas (Győr, Dec. 2004)
Kerny Terézia began her work at the Institute of Art History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1982. She held various positions - working in the Archives, as head of the photo collection and editor of the journal published by the Institute, Ars Hungarica (since 2012). In addition, she was secretary of the Society of Hungarian Archaeologists and Art Historians. All of these positions required a lot of organizational work, dedication and time. I knew Terézia for over twenty years, ever since my one-year position as beginner researcher at the Institute of Art History. We worked together on a number of occasions, particularly in connection with medieval wall painting. Most recently, she convinced me to give a lecture on Flóris Rómer at a conference she had organized. Her lecture at that conference, held just over a month ago, was her last public appearance. An important volume of studies on St. Ladislas, co-edited by her, is expected out shortly. Her chief work, her monumental study of St. Ladislas, will hopefully be published in its entirety in the near future as well. Terézia Kerny passed away on November 6th. She was 58 years old. May she rest in peace.

Detail of the fresco of St. Michael, at Székelyderzs (Dirjiu, RO) 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

In memoriam Miklós Mojzer

Miklós Mojzer in 2006 
Miklós Mojzer, the former director of the Museum of Fine Arts, passed away last weekend in the 83rd year of life (1931-2014).
Miklós Mojzer was an outstanding scholar of medieval and Baroque art. Born in 1931, he had studied in Budapest, and began his career at the Christian Museum in Esztergom. In 1957, he started working in the Museum of Fine Arts, in the collection of Old Hungarian Art, in the department headed by Dénes Radocsay. In 1974, when the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque works of Hungarian Art - the Old Hungarian Collection - was trasferred to the Hungarian National Gallery, he went with the collection, and soon became head of the department (1977-1989). In this period, he supervised the creation of the most important exhibitions of old Hungarian art, including the magnificent exhibition of late medieval altarpieces in the former throne room of the Hungarian royal palace, home of the National Gallery. In 1989, Miklós Mojzer became the director of the Museum of Fine Arts, where he served three terms, until his retirement in 2004. He was a true museum expert, familiar with technical details of historic paintings, exhibition organization and publications, and above all, always a true gentleman.

As a researcher of medieval art, Miklós Mojzer mainly researched and published on late medieval panel painting. His bibliography was compiled for the 2011/2 volume of Művészettörténeti Értesítő, which was a Festschrift published for his 80th birthday (another bibliography was compiled at Museum of Fine Arts). An earlier Festschrift, published by the National Gallery for his 60th birthday, is available online in the Hungarian Digital Museum Library. A subject he had dealt with most recently was the painter known as Master MS, creator of a highly important altarpiece at Selmecbánya (Banská Štiavnica / Schemnitz, SK) at the beginning of the 16th century. This was a subject which occupied him over and over for decades.

To get to know more about Master MS, you can also have a look at this overview on the Fine Arts in Hungary website, but the best place to start is the bilingual exhibition catalogue published by the National Gallery in 2008. Miklós Mojzer naturally wrote the introductory study to this catalogue, but the results of his research concerning the identity of the painter were only published later, in a two-part article (the second part of which is available online). In this complex study he calls attention to the painter known with various names, but generally as Marten Swarcz, who had arrived to Cracow in 1477 along with Veit Stoss in order to work on the main altar of the Church of the Virgin Mary. Mojzer proposed that this painter can be identified with Master MS, and he must have been in Selmecbánya by 1506 to work on the altarpiece, from which today seven scattered panels are known (see the Visitation at the Hungarian National Gallery in high resolution). His research opened up new avenues in the study of this outstanding late Gothic master. 

Miklós Mojzer will be buried in Esztergom, on September 5, 2014. May he rest in peace. 

Master MS (Marten Swarcz): Resurrection, 1506. Esztergom, Christian Museum 

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Raphael drawings in Budapest #raphaelhasan

Raphael: Head of an Angel.
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest 
Today is the birthday of Raphael, who was born in 1483. Only 37 years later, it was also on this day that he died and was laid to rest in the Pantheon). In the art history blogging community, this day is an occassion for remembering one of the pioneers of this field: Hasan Niyazi, who passed away unexpectedly last year. Hasan was mainly known as the author of the excellent art history blog Three Pipe Problem, but he was also dedicated to the study and research of the work of Raphael. Among his legacy in this field, I would like to mention his Open Raphael Project, which can hopefully be carried on somehow. Despite the fact that he was not an art historian by training, Hasan brought new insights to the field, and his clear reasoning based on evidence, logic and a background in the sciences led him to new results. Hasan was also tireless in connecting the authors of art history blogs to each other, and was a source of constant inspiration to others. He posted interviews on his blog, and often invited guest bloggers to contribute a post. He was always willing to help with comments, links or scanned articles sent via email. I will remain grateful to him for encouraging my efforts when I started this blog a few years ago. As a commemoration, art history bloggers are posting blog entries today on topics related to his interests - all of which are linked from his blog

I am sure Hasan Niyazi would have been interested in an exhibition which closed last week at the Museum of Fine Arts here in Budapest. Titled Triump of Perfection - Raphael, the exhibition presented Renaissance drawings and prints from the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest.

Raphael: Study of the Figure of Venus. Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

The Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest preserves six drawings by Raphael: an early study for his first Perugian altarpiece, the Coronation of the Virgin, a study for Saint Jerome from his stay in Florence, the compositional sketch for the Disputa in the Vatican Palace, a powerful Angel Head for the Sala di Costantino, a unique preliminary drawing for the renowned Massacre of the Innocents engraved by Marcantonio Raimondi, and the silverpoint Venus, a superb masterpiece of the High Renaissance. The drawings are accessible in the collection database of the Museum, and I provided direct links to the records. 

Esterházy Madonna, detail

The exhibition also included works by the followers of Raphael, as well as copies made after his drawings, to illustrate the great influence of the master in the early 16th century. The list of works on display is accessible from the website of the museum, as is the first chapter of the catalogue, written by Zoltán Kárpáti and Eszter Seres.

Another famed work, which - being unfinished - provides an insight into the working process of Raphael, was also on display: the Esterházy Madonna. For this occassion an online presentation was made about the condition and restoration of the Esterházy Madonna. This treatment was necessitated by the infamous theft of the panel in 1983, along with six other masterpieces. The online presentation of this restoration and the technical examinations is something that our late friend Hasan Niyazi would have surely appreciated. I dedicate this brief post to his memory.

Update: As pointed out in a comment below by Zoltán Kárpáti, you can study high resolution photos and technical data of the Budapest Raphael drawings at the following link:

Raphael: Esterházy Madonna. Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

In memoriam Melinda Tóth

Art historian Melinda Tóth passed away in January 2013, at the age of 74. Melinda Tóth spent a lifetime researching Hungarian Romanesque art and was one of the leading scholars of the field. She worked until her retirement at the Art History Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Her research concentrated on two fields: Romanesque sculpture and Romanesque wall-painting, in the territory of the Kingdom of Hungary. She was the author of the most recent monograph on wall-painting in Hungary in the Árpád-period (1974, a revision in the form of an article was published in 1995). In the field of Romaneque sculpture, she concentrated mainly on the study of Pécs cathedral. It was largely due to her efforts that the magnificient stone carvings from the medieval cathedral found a permament home in the new cathedral museum, which opened in 2004. Unfortunately, the catalogue of the carvings and the accompanying study on the cathedral sculptures was not finished until the death of Melinda Tóth. However, she published numerous studies on the subject in various journals and exhibition catalogues. I could not find a bibliography of her works online, but a query in Kubikat gives good results.

I had a chance to work together with Melinda Tóth at the mid-1990s, when she worked on the survey and cataloguing of the Pécs sculptures. This material was at the time kept at an abandoned movie building in a village in the hills above Pécs. The situation there was so appaling that even the World Monument Fund was alerted. Restoration of the pieces then began with their support. However, it took another ten years for the new museum to be built according to the plans of Zoltán Bachman.

Stone carvings from Pécs cathedral in storage, 1990s

Detail from the story of Samson; 12th c. relief from Pécs cathedral

My Hungarian-speaking readers can read a new study on Pécs cathedral written by Gergely Buzás, and made available online in memory of Melinda Tóth. I also wrote about Pécs cathedral in a previous post.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

In memoriam Miklós Boskovits

Miklós Boskovits in 2005 
I learned with sadness of the passing of Miklós Boskovits, perhaps the most eminent art historian of Hungarian origin. The sad news was announced by Villa I Tatti in Florence, where Boskovits had been a fellow back in the 1960s, a short time after he had left Hungary. Miklós Boskovits, a university professor at the University of Florence and researcher at the Kunsthistorisches Institut was the leading expert of Florentine (and Italian) late medieval and early Renaissance painting. He was the author of a number of collection catalogues of early Italian paintings for major museums - including the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin (1988), the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection (2001), and most recently, the National Gallery of Art, Washington (2003). He wrote the most extensive monograph on Florentine painting of the late 14th century (1975), and took over the editing of the Corpus of Florentine Painting, started by Richard Offner in 1930 - authoring two recent volumes of the series: about the Origins of Florentine Painting and, more recently (in 2007) about the Mosaics of the Baptistery of Florence. He also worked on a number of major exhibition projects, and served as the editor of Arte Cristiana.
He was 76 years old.

Miklós Boskovits received his training as an art historian in Hungary, at Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest. Emigrating to Italy, he joined the ranks of a number of eminent Hungarian researchers working abroad. Listing only those working on Florentine art, we have to mention Frederick Antal, author of Florentine Painting and its Social Background (1948), and two great Michelangelo-scholars: Johannes Wilde and Charles de Tolnay. Throughout his career, Boskovits maintained close contacts with his home country, and was always willing to help his fellow Hungarians. He was instrumental in establishing a program at Villa I Tatti, providing a grant to art historians from East-Central Europe (a program benefiting a lot of Hungarian scholars). He was always very helpful to me, as well: consulting with me as I was writing my dissertation; helping a lot as a member of the advisory board of the 2006 Sigismundus-exhibition, and advising me in my research on Masolino, during my I Tatti fellowship last year. His death was unexpected, and he will be greatly missed.

You can browse the books written or edited by him at Kubikat - where you can also find his other publications numbering in the hundreds.

Update: I would like to call attention to a few more obituaries of Boskovits:

Notice in Il Giornale dell'Arte
Neville Rowley in The Art Tribune
Obituary in the Storia dell'Arte blog - with links to several newspaper articles
Finally, the brief news which appeared in the Hungarian press