Mátyás Schervitz (Buda ? – Buda 1771) was a popular and highly esteemed artist in Buda-Víziváros in his time, as his epitaph also proves. The painter of Illyrian origin occurs by a variety of name forms in the sources: Scherviz, Scherwiz, Scherwitz, Scheravitz, Scheravics, Seravits, Scherevitsch, Scherevitz, Scherowitz, Schibiz, Szeravics, Xeravich. The hypothetical dates of his birth and death proposed by his first monographer Arnold Schoen (Mathias Tarvitz, c. 1701–1771, St Anne Parish Church of Upper Víziváros) can only be questioned in theory by the more recently discovered works painted in 1768–69, for the registers of the Franciscan Church of St Francis’s Wounds – to which the family presumably belonged – are latent at present.
The painter Schervitz became a registered citizen of Buda in 1741. He received several minor assignments (such as flag painting, gilding, marbling, ephemeral triumphal arches) and some greater jobs (paintings for the high altars of the St Catherine Church in Tabán and the St Elisabeth Church in Víziváros, and the fresco in the sanctuary of the Újlak church) in Buda, but these works have perished over the centuries. The ruined St Elisabeth altarpiece of the Capuchins of Víziváros (1760) is known from a photo. A documented work by his hand is the fresco decoration of the library room at the Ráday mansion in Pécel dated 1763. The St Ivo altarpiece of the Óbuda parish church (1759) was added to the oeuvre after style critical analyses, similarly to the sanctuary frescoes in the Church of St Francis’s Wounds (1756).
The key to the altar painting style of Mátyás Schervitz is provided by the altarpieces (St Anne, St Francis Seraphicus) in the former Franciscan church of Dunaföldvár painted in 1768 and certified with archival data. His Immaculate Conception with Adam and Eve in the same church was also identified by its style. With their help, the picture of the bye-altar showing the Stigmatization of St Francis in the former Franciscan church of Zombor (1769) and the high altar picture (1756), as well as the altarpiece of St Margaret of Cortona (1756) in the church of St Francis’s Wounds in Víziváros can now be safely attributed to him. These works help us recognize Schervitz’s brushwork on the altarpiece of the high altar in the former Dominican church of Pest (c. 1760) showing the founder of the order St Dominic receiving the Rosary from the Virgin. The Guardian Angel altarpiece in the Franciscan church of Vác can also be recognized as his work. Research presumes that the artist working at such high level of quality was educated in Vienna; the clue to identifying his master lies perhaps in his faultless presentation of architectural space. Mátyás Schervitz applied the conventional baroque oil painting technique (canvas support built from several pieces, yellow ground, patch painting). His anatomical knowledge was excellent, his rendering of space virtuosic, his figures are lively, proportionately built and markedly characterized. He did not sign any of his so-far known works.
The recently identified works by Xaver Ferenc Falkoner (Falconer, 1737–1792), a painter of Buda known so far mainly from verbal sources and works in Croatia, provide a more detailed and richer picture of his activity. After a review of the family workshop, the paper analyses his altarpieces in rural churches of historical Hungary. He delivered his altar pictures of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, the Prayer of Saint Anthony of Padua and Saint Helen to the friars minor in the upper town of Szeged around 1770. The Franciscans ordered a painting (Stigmatization of Saint Francis of Assisi) for Bács (Bač, RS) in 1774; in Futak (Futog, RS) he was commissioned by András Hadik (side altar pictures of Saint Andrew, Saint Frances de Chantal, Saint Anne teaching Mary, and Crucifixion) in 1776; he probably painted the Prayer of St Francis of Assisi, St Francis Seraph, the Apotheosis of St Didacus, the Apotheosis of St Anthony the Hermit, the death of St Joseph and the picture of the votive Pieta statue at Sasvár around 1780 for Baja. His half-length pictures of saints (Ss Francis, Bonaventura, Francis Solano, James of the March, Bernardine of Siena, Anthony of Padua, John of Capestrano, and of the Mother of Good Advice, 1774–76) for praedellas and superstructures of altars in churches of the listed saints in the Franciscan province named after Saint John of Capestrano. Though repainted, his frescoes only survive in the Budakeszi parish church: Wisdom with Faith, Hope and Love, and painted altar architecture, dated 1784. The painting technique and easily recognizable language of forms and colouring typical of Ferenc Falkoner, who was trained in the academy in Vienna, are presented on the basis of restorers' researches.
Czech itinerant painter Mathias Hanisch (c. 1754, Prague − 1806, Vukovár) moved from the hereditary lands to Trencsén (Trenčín) in Hungary in 1788 and lived there until 1791. From this period the signed picture of the high altar in the Church of All Saints in Kocskó (Horné Kočkovce) (1790) has long been known. He moved to Zombor (Sombor), the seat of Bács-Bodrog county around 1793 where he worked for nearly a decade; it is not too far-fetched to regard him as the painter of the Kalocsa-Bács Archiepiscopacy. Our examinations have already resulted in twelve altar pictures and over forty portraits painted by him in Hungary.
The Franciscans of Szabadka (Subotica) preserve 32 pieces of a unique series of 35 paintings of Franciscan saints and blessed persons painted in 1793–95, and a votive picture of Saint Mary of the Snows. In the collection of Szabadka museum, the portrait of Anna Barich can be attributed to Matthias Hanisch. His signed altar picture of the Crucifixion (1794) came to the Zombor museum from a private chapel in Doroszló (Doroslovo). He painted the pictures of the side altars of St Joseph and Ss John and Paul in 1796. He presumably completed the portraits of historian István Katona as well as seven archbishops of Kalocsa together with depictions of the sainted kings Stephen and Ladislas around 1800 in Kalocsa where he is presumed to have moved to live in that year. He painted the pictures of the high altar and side altars in the St Anne parish church of Jánoshalma (St John of Nepomuk and Crucifixion) in 1801 and the picture of the high altar of the St Roch chapel in Baja in 1802. The votive picture of the Virgin in the Baja inner city parish church and the votive picture of Vodica-Máriakönnye probably date from the same year. Hanisch painted the St Emeric high altar picture for the parish church of Doroszló around 1803. The high altar picture of Bácsbokod shows St Elizabeth of Hungary, also painted in the first years of the 19th century. He moved to Vukovár, the centre of Szerém county, around 1803. The Franciscans of Vukovár have preserved his portraits of legal scholar Dr. Verbőczi and provincial Ivan Velikanović (1803, 1805). When he moved off, he still accepted commissions from Bácska: in 1805 he “renovated” the Last Supper in the refectory of the Franciscan monastery at Bács (Bač) by Paulus Senser (1737), and in 1806 he painted the monumental high altar picture for the parish church of Ss Peter and Paul in Monostorszeg (Bački Monostor).
The sources are silent about Hanisch's studies – he probably learnt the trade in some family workshop. The level of his art was similar to that of the contemporary Hungarian masters, but owing to his lengthy presence in the southern areas he received a high number of commissions in the area just being revived, repopulated with a multitude of ethnic groups and different religions.