Author:
Júlia Papp MTA Bölcsészettudományi Kutatóközpont, Művészettörténeti Intézet / Research Centre for the Humanities Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Art History, H-1097 Budapest, Tóth Kálmán utca 4

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Csak nyomtatott formában érhető el. A Művészettörténeti Értesítő 2020-ig csak nyomtatásban jelent meg, a weboldalon csupán a tartalommal kapcsolatos alapvető információkat mutatjuk ezekről az évfolyamokról. A cikkeket a 70. kötettől (2021) jelentetjük meg online is.

The trope of the valiant woman/women fighting with arms during the Ottoman siege of Szigetvár in 1566 has mainly been studied by Hungarian historiography and literary history, and art history has hardly paid attention to the motif in the visual arts. In the historical and literary sources the trope has had three distinguishable – and sometimes connected – variants since the 16th century, each of them also represented in Hungarian works of art.

The story of the woman fighting at the side of her husband already cropped up in the Hungarian historical song created in the year of the battle: before the final charge the defenders wanted to kill their wives or brides to save them from falling into pagan hands but a valiant woman asked her husband to give her armour and weapon to fight the enemy. The story passed into the Transylvanian German poet Christian Schesaeus’ Ruinae Pannonicae (1571) and into a Latin-language album in memory of Miklós Zrínyi published in Wittenberg in 1587. The motif is included in the mid-17th century biographies of women by the French Jesuit poet Pierre Le Moyne, in the February 1749 issue of Mercure de France and in several 18-19th century German and Austrian periodicals and literary works. From the early 19th century the heroic deed of the brave woman of Szigetvár appeared in several Hungarian magazines and pieces of juvenile literature often together with the story of the valiant women of Eger.

The first visual representation of the brave woman of Szigetvár is the monumental painting about Zrínyi’s charge from Szigetvár by Austrian Peter Krafft created upon the commission of the National Museum in 1825: there is a helmeted woman with a determined look in her eyes among the troops charging out of the castle. This detail was to be repeated not only in several engravings made after Krafft’s painting but also in multiplied prints including title-pages of printed music.

Another variant of the trope appears in the Italian Giovanni Michele Bruto’s manuscript of the history of Hungary written in the 1570s-80s. In this version some brave women and mothers whom their husbands wanted to kill entreated them to let them die fighting against the foe with their children held as shields. This motif is included in German-language plays on Zrínyi by August Werthes and Theodor Körner written at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. The women and children locked in the castle are also shown in Alajos Rohn’s lithograph Zrínyi’s oath after Béla Vízkelety’s painting of a tableau vivant staged after Körner’s Zrínyi play in a charity performance at the National Theatre of Pest on 3 April 1860. Women and children are important actors in Bertalan Székely’s monumental painting Zrínyi’s charge (1879–1885) showing a woman picking up a fallen sword to fight the Ottomans.

The third variant of the motif of the courageous woman cropped up in literature at the turn of the 18-19th century: in the plays by Werthes and Körner Zrínyi’s wife blows up the powder-house with a torch to send as many of the intruding Ottomans into the netherworld as she could. The best-known example of the theme is the oil painting by Xavér Ferenc Weber The final moments of Szigetvár (1871) also shown at the 1873 Vienna World Fair. A fusion of historical and legendary elements can be seen in the 20th century colour print entitled Ilona Zrínyi’s heroism in defence of the castle of Munkács 1688 in which Ilona Zrínyi is about to dip her torch into a powder barrel to kill the invading Ottomans while defending the castle of Munkács in 1688 (actually against the Habsburg imperial troops).

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Senior editors

Editor(s)-in-Chief: Jávor, Anna

E-mail address: javor.anna@mng.hu

Name of the Institute: Magyar Nemzeti Galéria
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Editor(s): Mikó, Árpád

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  • Galavics, Géza
  • Mravik, László
  • Nagy, Ildikó
  • Prokopp, Mária

Művészettörténeti Értesítő
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History 1541/1599 (1st PCTL)
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2021  
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Journal Self Cites
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Scimago  
Scimago
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0,103
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2020  
CrossRef Documents 18
WoS Cites 3
Wos H-index 2

2018  
Scimago
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3
Scimago
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0,100
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History 1111/1259 (Q4)
Visual Arts and Performing Arts 389/502 (Q4)
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2
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11

 

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Művészettörténeti Értesítő
Language Hungarian
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1952
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