The stone pupil in the parish church of Bazin (Pezinok, Slovakia) is one of the finest specimens of its kind in the territory of mediaeval Hungary. The pulpit is on the left of the triumphal arch of the church. Held by a stocky column, its parapet panels trace the sides of an octagon. The date of origin features on one of the panels as 1523 and the coat of arms at the same place indicates the client who ordered it.
Despite the usable data and the high quality of the pulpit, it could hardly make its way into the canon of Hungarian art historiography evolving from the late 19th century. Drawings were made of it, it was registered in the monuments directories, but nobody lifted it into the style historical narrative before Jolán Balogh, and when it took place at last, it was erroneously dated to 1573. In her history of Hungarian renaissance art, she included it with the date 1573 in the chapter on the late renaissance (1940). She cited it rightly as an example of the survival of Italianate forms in the 16th century in all editions of the two-tome manual up to 1973. Then it disappeared from sight again. It was omitted from the university course book (2001). At last, in the renaissance volume of the series on Hungarian art by Corvina Publishers a photo of it was reproduced too (2009).
Slovakian art historiography has naturally devoted more attention to it, and also read the date correctly. It is included in the four-volume monuments directory and also in the summaries. It was ascribed a salient place in the great renaissance monograph of 2009 edited by Ivan Rusina. Since the type of the book did not allow images of seals to be presented for analogy, it is worth returning to the problem briefly.
The central panel of the parapet carries the coat of arms and the date 1523. In the shield there is an eagle with spread wings, looking to dexter flank. There is an arched banderole (with a rosette in the middle) in front of its crop and a tiny six-point star above its head. On the chief there is a helmet with mantling falling on either side. It is topped with an imperial mitre crown with ribbons, cross and crosier and a crest above. The elements of the coat of arms – the eagle, star and imperial crown – are identical with the motifs in the coat of arms of the Counts of Szentgyörgy and Bazin. The ancient coat of arms of the family, with the six-point star of two colours, was endorsed by Holy Roman emperor Frederic III in 1459. Enikő Spekner pointed out that Count Tamás of Szentgyörgy and Bazin already used a quartered shield in 1496 (with the star in fields 1 and 4 and the eagle in fields 2 and 3) in 1496, and so did seneschal Péter of Szentgyörgy and Bazin, too (1511). On the seal dated 1540 of Kristóf II of Szentgyörgy and Bazin – with whose death the male line of the family died out (1543) – the shield only features the left-looking eagle, and on the chief the imperial crown and peacock feathers can be seen. Changes in the use of the coat of arms cannot be accurately retraced, but the town was the property of the family until 1543 and after Kristóf II’s death it passed to the treasury. The coat of arms strongly suggests that the person who commissioned the pulpit must be sought among the members of the family still alive in 1523. On the younger Bazin line Ferenc and Farkas were alive and shared the office of lord lieutenant of Moson until 1521; the family died out with Farkas’ son Kristóf (his birthdate is not known).
The pulpit received coats of white paint and thick gilding in more recent times. Its new wooden abat-voix was made in the 18th century; the medieval stone edifice must have been repaired at that time and on several occasions later. The ornamental elements of the parapet of the basket closely resemble some Italian renaissance antecedents; what may suggest the involvement of northern masters is the regular, rigid symmetry of the cherubim heads, and more emphatically the thick column holding the basket of the pulpit. Its shaft bulges midway, its capital above the necking is embellished with flutes of regularly alternating sizes; on it is a polygonal echinus with concave sides which holds the broadly spreading dense bunch of acanthus leaves. It is like a perfectly spoiled Corinthian column of bad proportions. The origin of this representative monument must be hypothesized from the direction of Vienna, even if no exact analogy can be compared with it at present. Both the network of relations of the landowning family and the geographic proximity support this assumption.