The Ceremonial Hall of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, which housed the inaugural ceremony of the Conference, and its wall paintings were showed as typical for the late 19th century concept of nationally minded Historicism and also for the prevailing role of Humanities in their relationship to Science – both of them opposed to the evolution in 20th century. The International Congresses of the History of Art held in Budapest – first in 1896, then in 1969 – mark clearly important moments in our historiography. The second was an occasion for the opening towards Western tradition. It stressed the importance of the regional consciousness in Central Europe – a principle, which is still valid in a politically changed and globalized world.
From Vienna to Berlin, preservation of historical monuments and architectural creations of Hungarian Noegothic: Vienna was influential on Hungarian Neogothic due both to its Gothic buildings (first of all St. Stephens’) and to the cercle of Friedrich von Schmidt, organized in the form of a lodge. Imre Henszlmann has begun his art historical activities already in the 1840ties in this sense and he collaborated later with Schmidt's Hungarian pupils. Another school of Historicism was represented by the Berlin-trained Ödön Lechner, who, on the bell-tower of his parish church in Budapest/Kőbánya followed the Pfarrturm of St. Bartholomew in Frankfurt, rebuilt after the fire of 1867 by Franz Joseph Denziger. Lechner's 1893 design, considered as one of the incunables of his Secessionist style belongs thus also to solutions inspired by Gothic architecture. Part 2. Historicism in Secession discusses recent views in Hungarian art historical literature about Secessionism as an anti-historical movement. It proves, that ideas about peasant art as conserving national antiquities go back to Gottfried Semper's wide-spread theories about the origin of styles, and have so the same roots as Historicism based on European styles. E.g. Alajos Hauszmann, also a Berlin-trained architect and companion Lechner's tried to synthetize Hungarian popular ornaments with Rococo stuccoes in the interiors of the Buda Royal palace. The visual reconstructions by Ede Thoroczkai-Wigand of King Attila's wooden palace (1912) on the stained glass windows of the Palace of Culture in Marosvásárhely were also influenced by Semper's theories on tectonics as the origin of architecture.
The traitment of the ornament on the richly decorated pieces from the Ercsi Abbey witnesses of a close relationship to the circle which is named in art historical literature after its main center as a group around Pécs, Székesfehérvár and Somogyvár. A new element of the articulation represents the presence of a special ending of vertical profiles, named in German art history as Hornauslauf and widely spread from the Rhine valley to Alsace and to Saxony as well. It may originate on the building of Worms Cathedral, which is now dated more closely to Speyer Cathedral in the first third of the 12th century. It could be appear in Ercsi in the last quarter of the 12th century, perhaps in the same time as e.g. in Wechselburg. This relationship can also be important for the origin of the ornamental forms, which may go back to unfinished ornamental pieces both in Worms and an Speyer. This form of articulation does not occur in any known works of the Pécs–Székesfehérvár–Somogyvár circle, but in a very sophisticated form on the exterior of the south apse of the Gyulafehérvár cathedral in Transylvania, which can be dated shortly before or around 1200.
This introduction is the edited version of the opening speech delivered at the scientific conference and exhibition commemorating the bicentenary of Miklós Ybl’s birth (1814–1891). As the first representative of the professional architect emancipated from the guild organization, Ybl still enjoys a quasi symbolic prestige in the Hungarian architectural community. Instead of becoming a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, he owed his success and great influence — upon determining the stylistic character of the Hungarian capital, Budapest from 1873, for example — to the confidence placed in him by the liberal aristocrats who played a leading role in the management of the scholarly institution. Since in the early 20th century the historicism of renaissance inspiration which he represented was discarded as eclectic academism, and in the decades of socialist realism the style was condemned for class-struggle reasons, it was only in the past two or three decades that the positive evaluation of the principle of style choice and pluralism of styles could gain ground. The paper stresses the continuity of neo-classicism and historicism reviving the gothic and the Romanesque styles as well as the neorenaissance mode in the tradition of the academic theory of architecture. It does not deny the importance of function but reckons with an iconological interpretation of function which is contradictory to 20th century functionalism.
The expression corona latina concerning the upper part of the Holy Crown is used for a fictitious object. In this paper a dating from the late 12th century is accepted for the enamelled images on the curved bands, and they are considered as products of a historicizing tendency quoting models of the Ottonian period in the time of King Béla III. The crossed bands may have formed originally a reliquary of the head of Saint Stephen in Székesfehérvár, similar to the Stockholm reliquary of Saint Elizabeth. This type is reflected by the late gothic reconstruction of the reliquary of Saint Ladislas, which is perhaps an imitation based on the first, made at the end of 12th century.