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Nádasdy Ferenc mecénás-életművének elpusztult emléke: a sopronkeresztúri kerti palota

A Perished Relic of Count Ferenc Nádasdy The Art Patron's Oeuvre: The Garden Palace at Sopronkeresztúr

Művészettörténeti Értesítő
Author:
Enikő Buzási

Abstract

Next to the late renaissance castle at Sopronkeresztúr (Deutschkreutz, A) there was a two-level 17th century baroque garden palace used as a granary from the early 20th century and eventually pulled down in 1952. It was ordered by the owner of the castle Lord Chief Justice Count Ferenc Nádasdy who was executed for high treason in 1671. The castle and the estate was purchased by Pál Esterházy in 1676; he asked Matthias Greischer to draw up two views of the palace, on the basis of which Esterházy was believed by research to have been the builder of the palace for a long time. The exact size of the palace (70×12 m) and its position in relation to the castle are known from the survey drawing made by József Könyöki in 1883. He was the first to give a brief written description of the palace interior: a large hall upstairs and a few rooms downstairs. In 1929 Dagobert Frey mentioned a large hall in the middle of the palace rising two levels high, with two staircases and two large rooms at both ends. An earlier unpublished order dated 11 August 1659 to stucco artist Andrea Bertinalli reveals that there were at least 12 rooms on the two levels of the building, as Nádasdy ordered the stucco decoration of so many rooms to be designed by Bertinalli (appendix 1). As payments and food supplies registered on the order reveal, plastering went on mainly between the summer of 1662 and December 1663. The surveying and planning probably took place sometime in February 1659 before the contract was signed, for documents of the Keresztúr estate suggest the presence of stucco artists presumably including Bertinalli in those days. That means the building must have been completed by the early 1659; spring data suggest that the glazing of the windows was being done. The presumed date of the beginning of the construction — 1656 — is also based on economic records: in February and March 1656 “Fundator” visited Keresztúr on several occasions. A description of September 1670 touching on stucco pieces and artistic wall paintings and mentioning two galleries for musicians at the two ends of the hall gives us an idea how much had been achieved (appendix 2). It means that the building was inaugurated for use still in Nádasdy's lifetime, although this document claims it was still unfinished, with missing doors and windows mentioned.

In his monograph of the architecture of the period Petr Fidler (1990) dates the garden palace to the early 1650s and attributes it to Filiberto Lucchese. Beside the analogies he lists let me mention the free-standing Festsaal of the Kirchschlag castle built before 1658 on account of the similar crowning frieze to that of the Keresztúr building and the same time of construction. Yet another consideration is that the builder of the Hofhaus in Kirchschlag not far from the Nádasdy estates, Johann Christoph Puchheim, was in connection with Nádasdy in several areas, which might have had a role in choosing a model and an architect.

The Keresztúr castle kept its function as Nebenresidenz and a venue of socializing even after the Nádasdy family's permanent residence had been moved to the Seibersdorf castle near Vienna in 1650. The importance of Keresztúr and the still unfinished garden palace began to decline when from 1660 the central residence of the Nádasdy family became Pottendorf in Lower Austria, a far larger place than Seibersdorf.

The Keresztúr palace is labeled Saalgebäude in special literature, meaning a building housing a single large hall. Sources, however, suggest that it was rather a palazzo in villa surrounded with a garden, with rows of rooms both upstairs and downstairs. In its proportions and façade design it was similar to palaces around Vienna. The innovative architectural concept without analogies in the relics from that-time Hungary is more likely to be attributed to the experimenting spirit of Lucchese, who had debuted as designer of Viennese palaces around that time, than to the expectations of Nádasdy as the client.

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Abstract

Sárvár castle was the property of the Nádasdy family from the early 16th century until 1670. Its current pentagonal shape was formed during the time of judge royal Ferenc III Nádasdy, one of the leading art patrons of the 17th century. Its early 17th century state is documented by three inventories (1630, 1646, 1650), and the layout of the interior, the functions and furnishings of the rooms can be reconstructed from the inventory dated 1669. The paper suggests some new dates of construction, explicates the stucco and fresco ornamentation program and on the basis of the furnishing inquiries into the role and function of the castle turned residence during Ferenc Nádasdy's time.

Comparing the inventories of various dates, one finds that Nádasdy first had wing A reconstructed before 1646. Research puts to the mid-17th century the rest of the constructions: building of the C wing and chapel, linkage of gate tower and wing A. Archival sources put the reconstruction to 1650–51. The stateroom was created at that time on the ceiling of which Hans Rudolf Miller painted in 1653 a fresco series of town sieges during the 15-year war. The stuccowork by Andrea Bertinalli framing the frescoes is dated by the paper also to 1653, a different date from what research earlier suggested. The conception of the ceiling decoration was completed before Nádasdy left in early June 1653 for the coronation of Ferdinand IV in Regensburg. Thus the iconography of the frescoes is independent of the thematically similar battle-scene cycle (possibly in oil) seen on the way in Günzburg near Ulm, about which Pál Esterházy travelling with Nádasdy wrote in his diary. Nádasdy had the opportunity to see in Günzburg the now extinct 16 full-length portraits ordered by the previous owner of the castle Karl von Burgau upon the model of the Spanischer Saal in Ambras around 1600. That may have inspired him to have the 20 full-length portraits painted mentioned by the inventory of 1669 in one of the salons of Sárvár.

Contemporaneous with the reconstruction is the staircase beneath the tower, mentioned in an order to stucco artist Andrea Bartinalli in February 1657 in which Nádasdy ordered the plasterwork for the ceiling of the upstairs rooms of wings E and D and the corridor of wing E, as well as a dual coat of arms above the mantelpiece in a room in the E wing. The order reveals that the stucco of three rooms in wing D had been started and Bertinalli was to finish it. Payment reveals that Bertinalli had completed the bulk of the work by the end of 1657. It probably included the ceiling stucco of the corner room in wing D, the only one still extant today. The plaster decoration frames frescoes the themes of which are from Ovid's Metamorphoses. Ingeborg Schemper-Sparholz traced their engraved prototypes to Antonio Tempesta, but this could only be verified for the Narcissus scene. The Perseus and Andromeda story adopts Chrispijn de Passe's work via a mediating print, the models for the rest of the scenes are unknown. The joint interpretation of the fresco themes and the so-far unstudied iconography of the plasterwork could provide the key to the program of the entire ceiling. The stucco putti hold attributes of natural plenitude, fertility, while the Ovid scenes are about accepted love (Perseus and Andromeda, Jupiter and Callisto) or the rejection of love (Narcissus, Venus sends Amor to kindle desire in Pluto for Proserpina who rejects love). The ceiling decoration is the apology of love and female fertility in the corner room that was one of the rooms of the female suite after the mid-century reconstruction of the castle.

Practically nothing is known of the one-time art works in the castle. The inventories reflect numeric data, which reveal that by increasing the number of art works Nádasdy wished to create a representative image in the Sárvár rooms after the rebuilding. The definite functions and furnishing of the different wings are revealed by the May 1669 inventory taken a few months after the death of the count's wife Anna Júlia Esterházy. It shows therefore the state of the interior as it had evolved during one and a half decades' use after the reconstruction. The composition of the furnishing reveals that the described rooms did not serve for actual residence. Apart from the monotony and impersonal character of the description of the furniture the most conspicuous things are the absent objects, particularly in comparison with the description of the actual residence of the family, the castle of Pottendorf. This comparison reveals that in Sárvár pieces of storing furniture, first of all those for keeping clothes and textiles, are missing in Sárvár. There are only two cupboards but they are empty. There is no furniture to hold books, while in Pottendorf there was a Bibliotheca. In Sárvár, except for Nádasdy's bedroom and one of the women's rooms, the beds are not installed, and apart from Nádasdy's suite there are no curtains, draperies, and there is no mirror.

The inventory confirms the earlier research findings: Sárvár did not function as a residence, since before 1650 the family lived in Deutschkreuz, then in Seibersdorf in Lower Austria and from 1660 in Pottendorf. There are not many data about Nádasdy's stay in Sárvár in his itinerary either, which throws new light on the representative modernization of the castle and the need to create a new residence. Concerning functions, it is illumining to compare Sárvár with Deutschkreuz where the family is documented to have spent lengthier periods regularly in the second half of the 1650s with frequent guests. That is probably why around 1657 a two-level “Saalgebäude” of several rooms was built in Deutschkreuz. It must also be attributable to function that the Sárvár castle was representatively impersonal, “Prunkappartement”-like. There are few data to suggest what role the castle was assigned in the 1650s, but they tend to reveal that after the reconstruction and furnishing with art works Sárvár was to be the venue of ceremonial hospitality as the occasional protocol venue of Nádasdy's official matters in Hungary.

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