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In this paper, the author examines the script forms and ornaments of five works by the Hungarian calligrapher, George Bocskay (†1575), which have so far eluded researchers’ attention. All are manuscript charters on parchment, issued in Vienna in the second half of the sixteenth century by Habsburg rulers (some in their capacity as kings of Hungary), and all are of extremely high quality, decorated with elaborate calligraphy. Justification for presenting them together derives from their similar format: they are not conventional, single folio charters, but were all produced in booklet form. Since these manuscripts were closely connected with George Bocskay’s time as an official at the Viennese Court, the paper provides an overview of the different stages of his career there, based primarily on recently unearthed archive sources. For thirty years Bocskay worked at – and was promoted through the ranks of – the Hungarian Court Chancellery, which was the official government body within the composite state of the Habsburg Monarchy with responsibility for issuing charters pertaining to the Kingdom of Hungary. Among the official documents issued here by the Habsburg rulers, in their capacity as kings of Hungary, the most important from an art historical aspect are the letters patent issued to members of the Hungarian nobility, which featured a miniature of the granted coat of arms and usually also calligraphic decoration. Based on the author’s latest research, several examples of such decoration can now be attributed to the calligrapher, whose activity even led to the creation of a calligraphic school within the Chancellery. This paper presents three previously unknown manuscripts, namely the letters patent issued to Márk Horváth-Stanchich (1558), János Pethő de Gerse (III) (1572), and János Liszthy (1573); the identity of the master who made the miniatures on the two latter documents is also suggested (Donat Hübschmann). Furthermore, the paper provides clarification of the reading of a Bocskay signature found on a letters patent (grant of barony) issued to Miklós Oláh (1558–60), already described in the literature as a work by the calligrapher. Also on the basis of relevant archive sources, the author goes on to opine that, in addition to his official positions at the Chancellery, Bocskay also served in another role within the Viennese Court, which can best be defined as “calligrapher to the ruler.” It was for such services that Ferdinand I of Habsburg, in his capacity as Hungarian king, also bestowed upon him the nominal title of royal courtier (in Latin: aulae regiae familiaris / aulicus). In the author’s opinion, the artist, as “calligrapher to the ruler,” was also given the commission to decorate two further important charters, also discussed in this paper, both ratifying royal marriages between Habsburg archduchesses and Italian noble houses. Issued in Vienna in 1565 by Emperor Maximilian II of Habsburg and Archdukes Ferdinand and Charles, one charter ratified the marriage between Archduchess Barbara and Alfonso II d’Este, while the other ratified the marriage between Archduchess Joanna and Francesco Medici.

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Bocskay György kalligráfus antikva betűs síremlékfeliratai

All’antica reprezentáció I. Ferdinánd bécsi udvarában

Sepulchral inscriptions in antique Square Capitals by the calligrapher György Bocskay

Representatio all’antica at the court of Ferdinand I in Vienna
Művészettörténeti Értesítő
Author:
Borbála Gulyás

György (George) Bocskay (†1575) was a member of a well-known Hungarian noble family. He was capable to adapt himself to the expectations of the Viennese court of the Habsburg Monarchy to build a significant career at the Hungarian Royal Chancellery as royal court secretary, royal councillor and calligrapher. He decorated various writing model books and charters for the Habsburg rulers as well as several letters of arms for Hungarian noblemen. However it is less known that the calligrapher made sepulchral inscriptions in stone as well applying a new technique of his time, the acid-etching. Emperor Ferdinand I commissioned him to prepare the Square Capitals for the marble cenotaph of Emperor Maximilian I in Innsbruck. Additionally, he used similar letters to inscribe the sepulchral monument of the highest ranking official of the Hungarian Kingdom, the Palatine Tamás Nádasdy and his wife, Orsolya Kanizsay in Léka (Lockenhaus).

After the Treaty of Passau (1552) the claim was established that after Emperor Charles V the member of the Austrian line of the Habsburg dynasty, Ferdinand I could have imperial power. The revival of the antiquity significantly influenced the rebuilding of his main residence, the Hofburg, the development of the Roman lapidaries and collections of antiquities at his court (Hermes Schallauzer, Wolfgang Lazius, Ferdinand I), and the style of festive decorations and artworks all’antica he commissioned during this era.

In 1562 Bocskay dedicated a writing model book to Ferdinand I in order to be commissioned to prepare the inscriptions of the sepulchral monument of Emperor Maximilian I. The manuscript included several writing samples in Square Capitals imitating the epigraphic monuments of the ancient Romans. Later he worked on the acid-etched and gilded inscriptions in Vienna in 1563–1568 according to the archival sources. He prepared inscribed marble plates for 24 marble reliefs of the cenotaph representing scenes of the life of Maximilian I as well as 18 plates of the sepulchral inscription on the frieze. The Latin texts were compiled by the vice-chancellor of Ferdinand I, Georg Sigmund Seld.

Bocskay was accommodated in the house of the Nádasdy family in Vienna. He probably equipped a workshop for the process there. He also prepared three more inscribed limestone plates for the sepulchral monument of the already mentioned Tamás Nádasdy and Orsolya Kanizsay. The marble cenotaph was erected in 1566 in the castle of Léka where the Palatine and later his wife were buried. The monument was transferred to the new family crypt of the Augustine monastery of Léka in the 17th century.

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Adalékok Újlak egyházi kincseinek és privilégiumának sorsához (1528)

Contributions to our knowledge of the transfer of the church treasures and borough charter of Újlak (1528)

Művészettörténeti Értesítő
Author:
Borbála Gulyás

The significant medieval town Újlak (today: Ilok, Croatia) located in the southern part of the Kingdom of Hungary was successfully besieged by the Ottomans in 1526. However, its several church treasures (paraments, liturgical objects) together with the richly decorated borough charter of the town (1525–26, today in Vienna) were transferred to Nagyszombat (Trnava, Slovakia) and later to Vienna. The paper examines the transfer of the various objects based on inventories and letters of 1528.

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Bocskay György kalligráfus végrendelete

The testament of the calligrapher george bocskay

Művészettörténeti Értesítő
Author:
Borbála Gulyás

The testament of the Hungarian calligrapher George Bocskay (†1575) has been recently discovered in the Archive of the Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma. Bocskay made his will on the 4th of April 1575, in the house of the Hungarian magnate János Pethő de Gerse (III) in Vienna. The original document published here was written in Latin. The new data provided by the testament are of primary importance regarding the life and social network of George Bocskay. According to the text he left his property to his wife and children as well as his four servants, among others he bequeathed his books and instruments of calligraphy to his son, Stephen. His burial place was unknown yet. However, in his testament Bocskay ordered to be buried in the Himmelpfortkloster in Vienna. It was a significant medieval Premonstratesian cloister, founded for nuns by Constance of Hungary, the daughter of the Hungarian King Béla III, in the 1230s.

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