Author:
Monika ZsámbékySzombathelyi Képtár, Szombathely

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Abstract

The Dominican church of Vasvár is dedicated to the Apotheosis of the Holy Cross. Its ground-plan and walls preserve its medieval state. The church and convent were fortified in the Ottoman times, but in the mid-16th century they fell into ruin and the monks left. After several owners the building – the residence of troops for some time – was purchased by György Széchényi, archbishop of Kalocsa and restored to the Dominican order in 1684. The monks moved back into the rebuilt convent in 1690. The reconstruction of the church and monastery lasted up to the 1750s. Several pictures of the baroque furnishing of the complex survive; these are presented in the paper.

The capture of St John of Nepomuk was the altar picture of a baroque side altar removed from church use in the early 20th century. A major cult evolved around the figure of the martyred 14th century canon of Prague in Central Europe and the Habsburg Empire in the 17–18th century. The main episodes of his life and martyrdom are repres-ented in altar pictures and graphic cycles. The direct preliminary to the Vasvár painting is Jacob Schmutzer's engraving made after Franz Anton Maulbertsch's painting. The other large altar picture shows the Sermon of St Vincent Ferrer. The size of the picture is identical with that of the St John painting – probably it was on an altar across from it. St Vincent (Valencia c. 1350 – Vannes [Brittany] 1419) was a Dominican monk who lived most of his life in Spain as one of the greatest preachers of the 15th century. The animated baroque painting includes several actors of the saint's life. He is frequently depicted in 18th century Dominican churches, e.g. in Prague, Vác, Sopron, Szombathely and Graz.

Another two rectangular paintings of the same size and equally standing format with semicircular headings survive in the monastery, both depicting the Holy Virgin. In one The Virgin hands over St Dominic's true image to a Dominican monk (the miracle of Soriano), with St Catherine of Alexandria and St Mary Magdalene as secondary figures. The other shows the Holy Virgin, patroness of Dominican and Hungarian saints. This painting combines the protective, sheltering role of the Virgin in the medieval Virgin of Mercy type with the baroque cult of Patrona Hungariae and the veneration of Dominican and Hungarian saints.

In the gable of the shrine of the Holy Virgin the martyr virgin of antiquity St Thecla is depicted with her usual attributes: a palm branch in her right hand and the cross in her left, the tamed lion being by her side. In the gable of the St Dominic altar St Catherine dei Ricci (Florence 1522 – Prato 1590) is depicted in mystic ecstasy. The figure was also tentatively identified as St Catherine of Siena (another stigmatized Dominican nun) but the appearance of the souls in Purgatory clearly refers to St Catherine dei Ricci.

The portrait of the second founder count György Széchényi (1592?–1695) was also kept at the monastery. The closest analogy to the portrait is the Széchényi picture in the Nagycenk mansion (owned by the Xantus János Museum, Győr). The sacristy furniture also included oval pictures of two Dominican female saints, St Margaret of Hungary and St Catherine of Siena, and another two of Ss Peter and Paul – the latter two lost now. The painters of the pictures datable to around 1760–70 are unknown; as for the somewhat earlier oval pictures, the name of Vince Sallay, a Dominican painter of Szombathely, may also be considered.

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Senior editors

Editor(s)-in-Chief: Árpád MIKÓ

Bölcsészettudományi Kutatóközpont, Művészettörténeti Intézet
P.O. address: Budapest, 1250, 31, Hungary

 

Chair of the Editorial Board: Anna JÁVOR

Magyar Nemzeti Galéria
Budapest, 1250, 31, Hungary

 

Editorial Board

  • Géza GALAVICS (Bölcsészettudományi Kutatóközpont, Művészettörténeti Intézet)
  • Erika KISS (Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum)
  • András KOVÁCS (Babeș–Bolyai Tudományegyetem, Kolozsvár)
  • Ildikó NAGY (Budapest)
  • Enikő RÓKA (Budapesti Történeti Múzeum)

Művészettörténeti Értesítő
Hungarian Nationale Gallery
P.O. Box 31
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Művészettörténeti Értesítő
Language Hungarian
Size A4
Year of
Foundation
1952
Volumes
per Year
1
Issues
per Year
2
Founder Magyar Régészeti és Művészettörténeti Társulat
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ISSN 0027-5247 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2802 (Online)

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