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  • 1 Magyar Nemzeti Galéria / Hungarian National Gallery, H-1250, Budapest, Pf. 31, Hungary
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General Jean-François L'Huillier had a baroque country house built in Edelény in Borsod county between 1716 and 1728, on an estate he had received from the emperor for his military services. The wall paintings of the rooms as seen today are associated with the third generation of owners: contracts with several painters survive from the time of Countess Ludmilla Forgách, the granddaughter of the founder, and her husband István Eszterházy of Zólyom. The characteristic style and rococo motifs of the figural murals brought other works into connection with the Edelény paintings, those at Taktabáj and Lelesz (Leles) also preserving the name of Ferenc Lieb, a Viennese painter who can be demonstrated between 1758 and 1788 at Igló (Spišská Nová Ves); he was most likely the painter of the six rooms ordered by the countess in 1769. The decorative painting by János Voronieski, who was contracted four years earlier, perished. Later, in 1780, Lieb's son-inlaw Jakab Ignác Fabricius, a painter of Miskolc, adorned the walls of a seventh room in the western wing.

In the meantime the count employed portraitist Sámuel Horváth in Pest in 1768 to create a historical series of 225 pieces: the models for the small full-length representations of Hungarian chieftains, kings and ancestors of the Esterházy family were the Nádasdy Mausoleum (1664) and the Esterházy Tropheum, family histories of engravings (1700) — a copy of the latter also included in the Edelény library. The prototype of the gallery of ancestors at Fraknó (Burg Forchtenstein) might have been known to the count, but in his Zólyom (Zvolen) castle there was also a similar series made after the Mausoleum: panels of a wooden ceiling from the first quarter of the 18th century. The Edelény paintings were arranged like a frieze in the upstairs great hall, until then only embellished by stucco work from the time of the construction and by stone carvings with the Forgách arms on the fireplace.

The double enfilade upstairs in the eastern wing of the mansion — the sources claim — constituted the private sphere of the couple. In the first room the personifications of the four seasons in costumes appear in genre scenes of agricultural work, accompanied by putti symbolizing the four elements. The walls of the new dining room are adorned with idyllic scenes from the life of the mansion including the itinerary motif of the maiden on the swing, with Venus on a swan-drawn cart opposite her. The four battle-scenes imitating framed paintings allude to the heroic deeds of the ancestors. In the next room the walls of which are painted with wallpaper pattern the ceiling is dominated by Hermes and Amor, while the count's bedroom ceiling is devoted to Jupiter. Here in the door and window reveals a selection of emblems refers to the virtues of the husband, while in the vault sections contemporaneous portrait-like figures — two couples — are shown in fashionable costumes, in the company of Gypsy musicians. In the room of the countess next to the oratory the allegory of good government eulogizes Ludmilla Forgách; the cosmological symbols and personifications of the four parts of the world are depicted on the ceiling of the adjacent cabinet.

While the count wished to emphasize the dynastic roots and imperial position of his family and conserved the earlier tradition of the gallery of ancestors, the wife adopted the recent European fashion of profane rococo wall paintings. However, István Eszterházy applied in vain to the empress for the chief administrator's post in the county on several occasions, nor did he receive the St Stephen order. The couple had no children of their own. In 1775 Ludmilla Forgách became a Dame of the Star Cross order; she was extolled for the support of orphans, but at the same time a mocking poem was also written of her supercilious way of life. It is a fact that she left Edelény burdened with debt to her son from her first marriage. The pictorial program completed with the — now lost — gallery of ancestors roots in the baroque tradition of representing the “connubium” of two families which may be fed by rivalry and mutual support alike. The surviving rococo wall paintings represent a singular, genrelike attempt at this iconography.


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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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CrossRef Documents 18
WoS Cites 3
Wos H-index 2

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History Q4
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Visual Arts and Performing Arts 389/502 (Q4)


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Művészettörténeti Értesítő
Language Hungarian
Size A4
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2020 Volume 69
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Founder Magyar Régészeti és Művészettörténeti Társulat
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ISSN 0027-5247 (Print)
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