The son of a rich German burgher family of Kassa (Kaschau, Košice, today Slovakia), György Szatmári got into state administration after his studies in Krakow. The king, Vladislav II of the Jagellonian Dynasty (1490–1516) recompensed him for his services in the royal chancellary by ecclesiastic prebends. Besides his episcopal duties, he took over the chancellary leadership in 1498 and became the actual mastermind of Hungarian politics in the early 16th century. He had his proteges study in Italy and supported financially several humanists who sang the renown of the generous patron in their literary works. At the onset of his career he had the St Michael chapel in Kassa extended in late gothic style where only a stone ornament with his coat of arms represents the new, Renaissance style. His episcopal constructions in Pécs (1505–21) already show him as a real Renaissance art patron. The extant Renaissance tabernacle of the cathedral was carved by a Florentine master of the workshop of the Bakócz chapel in Esztergom, which is also adorned with his coat of arms. He had the episcopal palace of Pécs and the chapter house rebuilt in Renaissance style, and had a villa erected upon Francesco di Giorgio's plans on a hill above the town. Except for the ruined villa, his constructions only survive in a few fragments. The last station of his ecclesiastic career was Esztergom (1521–24) where he had the archbishop's palace rebuilt. His tomb erected in the cathedral perished, only written records informing us of it. His breviary preserved in the Bibliothčque Nationale in Paris was illumined by Boccardino il Vecchio in Florence in the mid-1510s.
A Szentkirályi Zoltán-konferencia bevezetéseképpen tartott előadás a Budapesti Műszaki Egyetem építészettörténeti tanszéke egykori tanárának életútjával és munkásságával foglalkozik. A Debrecenben, református családban született Szentkirályi Zoltán a debreceni egyetem bölcsész szakán végzett tanulmányai után a BME építészmérnöki szakát végezte el. Végzésétől nyugdíjba meneteléig pályája az építészettörténeti tanszékkel fonódott össze, ahol nagyhatású tanárként oktatta építésznemzedékek sorát. Tudományos munkásságából egyrészt főként a barokk építészettel foglalkozó tanulmányai, másrészt a téralkotás történeti fejlődésével foglalkozó építészetelméleti munkássága emelkedik ki, az utóbbi elméleti rendszerét alkalmazta Az építészet világtörténete című könyvében is.
King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (1458‒1490), son of the “Scourge of the Turks,” John Hunyadi, was a foremost patron of early Renaissance art. He was only fourteen years old in 1470 when he was elected king, and his patronage naturally took some time and maturity to develop, notably through his relations with the Neapolitan Aragon dynasty. In December 1476, he married Beatrice, daughter of Ferdinand of Aragon, who brought to Buda a love of books and music she had inherited from her grandfather, Alphonse of Aragon.
I studied the work of Beatrice’s brother John of Aragon (Giovanni d’Aragona), previously known mainly from Thomas Haffner’s monograph on his library (1997), from the viewpoint of his influence on Matthias’s art patronage. John was born in Naples on June 25, 1456, the third son of Ferdinand I of Aragon. His father, crowned king by Pope Pius II in 1458 following the death of Alphonse of Aragon, intended from the outset that he should pursue a church career. Ferdinand’s children, Alphonse (heir to the throne), Beatrice, and John were educated by outstanding humanist teachers, including Antonio Beccadelli (Il Panormita) and Pietro Ranzano. Through his father and the kingdom’s good relations with the papacy, John acquired many benefices, and when Pope Sixtus IV (1471‒1484) created him cardinal at the age of twenty-one, on December 10, 1477, he made a dazzling entrance to Rome. John was — together with Marco Barbo, Oliviero Carafa, and Francesco Gonzaga — one of the principal contemporary patrons of the College of Cardinals.
On April 19, 1479, Sixtus IV appointed John legatus a latere, to support Matthias’s planned crusade against the Ottomans. On August 31, he departed Rome with two eminent humanists, Raffaele Maffei (also known as Volaterranus), encyclopedist and scriptor apostolicus of the Roman Curia, and Felice Feliciano, collector of ancient Roman inscriptions. John made stops in Ferrara, and Milan, and entered Buda — according to Matthias’s historian Antonio Bonfini — with great pomp. During his eight months in Hungary, he accompanied Matthias and Beatrice to Visegrád, Tata, and the Carthusian monastery of Lövöld and probably exerted a significant influence on the royal couple, particularly in the collecting of books. Matthias appointed his brother-in-law archbishop of Esztergom, the highest clerical office in Hungary, with an annual income of thirty thousand ducats.
Leaving Hungary in July 1480, John returned to Rome via Venice and Florence, where, as reported by Ercole d’Este’s ambassador to Florence, Lorenzo de’ Medici showed him the most valuable works of art in his palace, and he visited San Marco and its library and the nearby Medici sculpture garden.
In September 1483, Sixtus IV again appointed John legate, this time to Germany and Hungary. He took with him the Veronese physician Francesco Fontana and stayed in Buda and Esztergom between October 1483 and June 1484. The royal couple presented him with silver church vessels, a gold chalice, vestments, and a miter.
John’s patronage focused on book collecting and building. He spent six thousand ducats annually on the former. Among his acquisitions were contemporary architectural treatises by Leon Battista Alberti and Filarete, which he borrowed for copying from Lorenzo’s library. They were also featured in Matthias Corvinus’s library, perhaps reflecting John’s influence. Around 1480, during his stay in Buda (approximately 1478‒1480), the excellent miniaturist, Francesco Rosselli made the first few large-format luxury codices for Matthias and Beatrice. Both Queen Beatrice and John of Aragon played a part of this by bringing with them the Aragon family’s love of books, and perhaps also a few codices. The Paduan illuminator Gaspare da Padova (active 1466‒1517), who introduced the all’antica style to Neapolitan book painting, was employed in Rome by John as well as by Francesco Gonzaga, and John’s example encouraged Matthias and Beatrice commission all’antica codices. He may also have influenced the choice of subject matter: John collected only ancient and late classical manuscripts up to 1483 and mainly theological and scholastic books thereafter; Matthias’s collection followed a similar course in which theological and scholastic works proliferated after 1485. Anthony Hobson has detected a link between Queen Beatrice’s Psalterium and the Livius codex copied for John of Aragon: both were bound by Felice Feliciano, who came to Hungary with the Cardinal. Feliciano’s probable involvement with the Erlangen Bible (in the final period of his work, probably in Buda) may therefore be an important outcome of the art-patronage connections between John and the king of Hungary.
John further shared with Matthias a passion for building. He built palaces for himself in the monasteries of Montevergine and Montecassino, of which he was abbot, and made additions to the cathedral of Sant’Agata dei Goti and the villa La Conigliera in Naples. Antonio Bonfini, in his history of Hungary, highlights Matthias’s interest, which had a great impact on contemporaries; but only fragments of his monumental constructions survive.
We see another link between John and Matthias in the famous goldsmith of Milan, Cristoforo Foppa (Caradosso, c. 1452‒1526/1527). Caradosso set up his workshop in John’s palace in Rome, where he began but — because of his patron’s death in autumn 1485 — was unable to finish a famous silver salt cellar that he later tried to sell. John may also have prompted Matthias to invite Caradosso to spend several months in Buda, where he made silver tableware.
Further items in the metalware category are our patrons’ seal matrices. My research has uncovered two kinds of seal belonging to Giovanni d’Aragona. One, dating from 1473, is held in the archives of the Benedictine Abbey of Montecassino. It is a round seal with the arms of the House of Aragon at the centre. After being created cardinal in late 1477, he had two types of his seal. The first, simple contained only his coat of arm (MNL OL, DL 18166). The second elaborate seal matrix made in the early Renaissance style, of which seals survive in the Archivio Apostolico Vaticano (Fondo Veneto I 5752, 30 September 1479) and one or two documents in the Esztergom Primatial Archive (Cathedral Chapter Archive, Lad. 53., Fasc. 3., nr.16., 15 June 1484). At the centre of the mandorla-shaped field, sitting on a throne with balustered arm-rest and tympanum above, is the Virgin Mary (Madonna lactans type), with two supporting figures whose identification requires further research. The legend on the seal is fragmentary: (SIGILL?)VM ……….DON IOANNIS CARDINALIS (D’?) ARAGONIA; beneath it is the cardinal’s coat of arms in the form of a horse’s head (testa di cavallo) crowned with a hat. It may date from the time of Caradosso’s first presumed stay in Rome (1475‒1479), suggesting him as the maker of the matrix, a hypothesis for which as yet no further evidence is known to me. The seals of King Matthias have been thoroughly studied, and the form and use of each type have been almost fully established.
John of Aragon was buried in Rome, in his titular church, in the Dominican Basilica of Santa Sabina. Johannes Burckard described the funeral procession from the palace to the Aventine in his Liber notarum. Matthias died in 1490 in his new residence, the Vienna Burg, and his body was taken in grand procession to Buda and subsequently to the basilica of Fehérvár, the traditional place of burial of Hungarian kings. The careers of both men ended prematurely: John might have become pope, and Matthias Holy Roman emperor.
(The bulk of the research for this paper was made possible by my two-month Ailsa Mellon Bruce Visiting Senior Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts [CASVA] of the National Gallery of Art [Washington DC] in autumn 2019.) [fordította: Alan Campbell]
In recent years, international research has turned with renewed attention to the Hungarian early renaissance and the art patronage of King Matthias Corvinus. indeed, it was in Hungary that italian renaissance art first appeared outside the italian peninsula. in 1476, he married Beatrice, daughter of Ferdinando d’aragona (Ferrante), who brought to Buda a love of books and music she had inherited from her grandfather, alfonso d’aragona. the work of Beatrice’s brother, giovanni d’aragona, previously known mainly from thomas Haffner’s monograph on his library (1997), is presented here from the viewpoint of his influence on Matthias’s art patronage. Ferrante’s children, alfonso, Beatrice, and giovanni were educated by outstanding humanist teachers. giovanni acquired many church benefices, and when Pope sixtus iv created him cardinal at the age of twenty-one, he made a dazzling entrance to rome. John was – together with Marco Barbo, oliviero Carafa, and Francesco gonzaga – one of the principal contemporary patrons of the College of Cardinals.
On 19 april 1479 the pope named him legatus a latere to support King Matthias’s planned crusade against the Porte. giovanni went from rome to Hungary via Ferrara and Milan with two noted humanists in his retinue: the encyclopedist raffaele Maffei (volaterranus) and Felice Feliciano, bookbinder and collector of roman inscriptions. He spent much of his eight-month stay in Hungary with Matthias and Beatrice, no doubt exerting a significant influence on them, particularly in the collecting of books. Matthias appointed his brother-in-law archbishop of esztergom, the highest clerical office in Hungary. leaving Hungary in July 1480, giovanni returned to rome via venice and Florence, where lorenzo de’ Medici showed him the most valuable works of art in his palace. giovanni was appointed legate to Hungary again by sixtus iv in september 1483, and – together with Francesco Fontana – he stayed in Buda and esztergom between october 1483 and June 1484. the royal couple presented him with silver church vessels, a gold chalice, vestments, and a miter.
Giovanni’s patronage focused on book collecting and building. He spent an annual sum of six thousand ducats on his library, and his acquisitions included contemporary architectural treatises by alberti and Filarete. it was around the time he was in Buda – between 1479 and 1481 – that the first large-format luxury codices were made for Matthias and Beatrice by the excellent Florentine miniaturist, Francesco rosselli. in rome, giovanni (and Francesco gonzaga) employed the Paduan illuminator gaspare da Padova, and his example encouraged Matthias and Beatrice to commission all’antica codices. anthony Hobson has detected a link between Queen Beatrice’s Psalterium and the livius codex copied for giovanni: both were bound by Felice Feliciano, who came to Hungary with the Cardinal. Feliciano’s probable involvement with the erlangen Bible (in the final period of his work, probably in Buda) may therefore be an important outcome of the art-patronage connections between giovanni and the king of Hungary.
A passion for building was something else that giovanni shared with Matthias. He built a palace for himself in the monastery of Montevergine and another near Montecassino, of which he was abbot. He also built the villa la Conigliera in Naples. Matthias’ interest in architecture is much mentioned in antonio Bonfini’s history of Hungary, but only fragments of his monumental constructions, which included the renaissance villa Marmorea in the gardens to the west of the royal Palace of Buda, have survived.
Giovanni and Matthias also had a connection through the famous Milan goldsmith Cristoforo Foppa (Caradosso), whose workshop was located in giovanni’s palace in rome. after his patron’s death in autumn 1485, he attempted to sell a – subsequently famous – silver salt cellar he had been unable to complete. it may also have been at the Cardinal’s recommendation that Matthias invited Caradosso to Buda for a several-month stay in 1489/90, during which he made silver tableware and possibly – together with three other lombardian goldsmiths who were there at the time – the lower part of the magnificent Matthias Calvary.
Further items in the metalware category are our patrons’ seal matrices. My research has uncovered two smaller seals, both with the arms of the House of aragon at the center, that belonged to giovanni d’aragona. one, dating from 1473, is held in the archives of the Benedictine abbey of Montecassino. the other was made after he was created cardinal in late 1477 (it is held in Hungarian National archives). He also had an elaborate prelate’s seal matrix made in the early renaissance style, of which impressions survive on the documents in the archivio apostolico vaticano and the esztergom Primatial archive. at the center of the mandorla-shaped field, sitting on a throne, is the virgin Mary (Madonna lactans type) together with two intervening standing saint figures whose identification requires further research. Beneath it is the cardinal’s coat of arms crowned with a hat. it may date from the time of Caradosso’s first presumed stay in rome (1475–1479), suggesting him as the maker of the matrix, although to my knowledge there is no further evidence for this. the seals of King Matthias have been thoroughly studied, and the form and use of each type have been almost fully established.
Giovanni d’aragona was buried in rome, in his titular church, the Dominican Basilica of santa sabina. Johannes Burckard described the funeral procession from the palace to the aventine in his Liber notarum. Matthias died in the vienna Burg, a residence he had only just taken up, in 1490. His body was taken in grand procession to Buda and subsequently to Fehérvár Basilica, the traditional burial place of Hungarian kings. the careers of giovanni and Matthias, full of military, political and ecclesiastical accomplishments, were thus both cut short. the great works of art they engendered, however, mark them out as highly influential patrons of renaissance art and humanist culture.
An important area of Antal Grassalkovich I's (1694–1771) art patronage was the erection of ecclesiastic buildings. Máriabesnyő is particularly significant, for it did not only become a popular place of pilgrimage in the region owing to a votive statue, but it also became the burial place of the founder since it was close to his mansion in Gödöllő. A sofar unknown 18th century pictorial source of the Besnyő convent was found in the Capuchin archives in Vienna, which calls for a revision of the building phases of the baroque monastery. The ink and wash drawing by a hand of little talent shows the building complex from two directions on the basis of on-the-spot observation. The monastery was built in three major phases. After the foundation, first the small Loretto Chapel was erected (with the monks' crypt under it) using the mediaeval ruins (1759–1762) together with the dwelling(s) of the hermits, which were either three small hermitages or a part of the groundfloor section of today's western wing. The convent was built on the plans of master builder János Mayrhoffer of Pest in the second phase (1763–1767); its U-shape enclosed a court with the Chapel on the fourth side. The monastery consists of one-storey wings. The oratory is in the southern, the refectory in the eastern wing. On the gable of the southern end of the latter a sun dial was made in 1765 as the Historia Domus registered, on the basis of which the baroque veduta must be dated to 1765/1766 (since the church, the southern corridor and the sacristy are still missing). On the eastern side of the monastery a hanging garden was created with cellars under it. The church with two vault sections and chancel was built on the western side of the Loretto Chapel in 1768–1771 with a portico in front and an undercroft and the crypt of the Grassalkovich family. Mayrhoffer's plan survives in Gyula Wälder's 20th century copy; it contains part of the groundplans of the three levels. The Historia Domus claims that a painter of Pest Ferenc Winkler painted a picture of the Virgin of Besnyő for the cloisters, and he is named as the decorator of the corner tower at the southeastern end of the hanging garden.