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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.

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Máté Nöpauer (around 1719-1792) was the most kept employed master-builder between the 1750s and 1780s in Buda, his leadership in the architecture of baroque churches in Buda is undeniable. Nöpauer was the heir of Kristóf Hamon (1693-1748) master mason in Buda both in professional activity and in family connection: finished the buildings uncompleted because of death of Hamon, married Hamon's widow, brought up and taught in profession Hamon's children. Nöpauer finished building the St. Anna's church (1748-62) and the parish church in Óbuda-Újlak (1748-68) both were started to be built by Hamon. He formed the main front and the sanctuary of the St. Katalin's parish church in Tabán (1749-65). His self-built churches are the Franciscan church on Margit boulevard (1752-67) and St. Flórián's church in Víziváros (1759-60). In all of his works Nöpauer strove for the simplicity and obvious structure. His churches imitate the simplified tidying, developed from the space-system of the church of Il Gesú in Rome, except for the central space with elliptical ground-plan of St. Anna's church, which is unique in Hungarian architecture. He generally manipulated the walls flat, also kept away from the more complicated space-effects by the superstructures.

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The Master of the Guild of St George owes his conventional name to a group portrait representing the members of a Mechelen civic guarde, the Guild of the cross-bowmen, which was devoted to St George (Antwerp, Royal Museum of Fine Arts). He was the leading painter in the small Brabantine city around 1500. A little known triptych belonging to the Dobrée Museum in Nantes (France, Loire-Atlantique; inv. 896.1.4168) can be added to the eleven paintings already attributed to him. It represents St Anne, Mary and the Holy Child on the central panel, the donor with probably St Henry on the left, his wife and his daughter with St Barbara on the right wing. On the reverse of the wings, damaged figures of two Franciscan saints, St Francis and St Clara, are still recognizable. The St Henry face looks very similar to that of St George on the Antwerp panel. The Dobrée triptych was probably commissioned by a Mechelen family for a private chapel in a Franciscan church.

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The chapel of the Franciscan Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Bratislava (Pozsony, Pressburg) was finished probably in autumn or at the end of the year 1709. In January 1710 there was a festive mass celebrated by the Esztergom Archbishop in the presence of the Palatine Prince Paul Esterházy, the Convent's guardian Ludovicus Kirkay and the noblemen who took part in the Hungarian Diet. Until recently, out of the known archive sources, only one donator of the Bratislava Loretto Chapel was concretely known – the already mentioned Palatine Paul Esterházy. However, last year an unknown source was identified, enlightening the background of the foundation of this sight. It is the Heraldic Codex from 1710 with an artistic design of extraordinary quality. The Codex, with 67 full-page paintings of coats of arms, originated in Bratislava on the initiative of the guardian of a Franciscan Convent, Ludovicus Kirkay. Its form reminds of the materials of religious fraternities. Loretto chapels were commonly founded by lay fraternity or as a devotional chapel after a plaque. This text tries to answer the question if there was such a religious organisation here and what the original intention of the project initiators was.

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„Az Boldog Aszszony képet radiusba vegyem”

Szempontok a csíksomlyói Madonna művészettörténeti elemzéséhez

Művészettörténeti Értesítő
Author: Emese Sarkadi Nagy

The first written evidence that is usually connected to the statue of the Virgin Mary in the Franciscan church of Csíksomlyó (Șumuleu Ciuc, Schomlenberg) dates from 1624, when an inventory mentions a sculpture of the Virgin and Child on a secondary altarpiece dedicated to the Holy Virgin. The identification with the present figure is however only hypothetic. Sure is, that the statue was placed on the new high altarpiece, executed by joiner János Nyerges/Hannes Sadler from Brassó (Kronstadt, Braşov) in 1664. Nothing is known on the figure previous to these dates and we have no information on its original provenance. The dimensions (of 210 cm without her baroque crown) and the way the backside is carved suggest, that the figure surely belonged to an important altarpiece of quite large dimensions, with a shrine probably higher than 3 - 3,50 meters.

The Franciscan manuscripts from the 17th-18th centuries never mention that the figure would have ever belonged to the (high) altarpiece of the Csíksomlyó monastery church, instead they repeat that its provenance is unknown, only explained by legends. One of these legends, which has a certain probability though, noted by Leonard Losteiner in his manuscript dedicated to the sculpture of the Virgin Mary and her miracles, says that the statue could have been brought from the village of Höltövény (Heldsdorf, Hălchiu), a church which even today preserves its notably large winged altarpiece, with a shrine of 361 cm, which would perfectly fit the figure in point. Also the local historical literature knows of some devotional figures having been once moved from Höltövény to Csíksomlyó. However, the idea remains a hypothesis until it can be proved. Sure is, that only the workshops of the Transylvanian Saxon towns were prepared to produce at the beginning of the 16th century sculptures of such dimensions.

A detailed observation of the statue shows that a number of its characteristics differ a lot from the style known at the beginning of the sixteenth century. The figure was most probably slightly remodelled, renewed, repaired perhaps with the occasion of its placement to the high altarpiece in 1664, but later interventions are also possible.

The fact, that the figure was brought to Csíksomlyó and placed on the high altarpiece of the church in a new function of a cult image could have to do with the introduction of the Pentacost pilgrimage, the first mention of which dates to 1649. The first miracles of the statue are documented right after its placement on the high altar and these have probably contributed to the spread of the new pilgrimage and through this to the renewal of the monastery itself, almost completely depopulated by the second half of the sixteenth century.

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The dating and art historical evaluation of the surviving relief ornaments of the portal of St Elizabeth's parish church in Kassa – all statues in the round being lost – are unsettled, although the building history of the church itself has been clarified. Since the interwar period the style of the reliefs was tentatively traced to the (Swabian or Bohemian) Parler sculpture, while the idiosyncratic features of the reliefs were usually ignored. Notably, the reliefs have a coarsely realistic trait which was described by Jindra Bakosová in 1982 as a local precedent to Jakob Kaschauer's art, that is, the appearance of a progressive style. This, in turn, must obviously be associated with a later date. In his article on the wooden reliefs of Christ's Passion in the Christian Museum in Esztergom published in Hungarian, in which he alleged to find their stylistic relatives in the Zwettl altarpiece in the Österreichische Galerie, young Ernst Gombrich also briefly referred to the Kassa reliefs. In the meantime, in the Hungarian art historical literature Jakob Kaschauer became an important figure of the Multscher generation rooted in the local tradition. Gombrich's theses found their way into the literature of the Znaim altarpiece when they had been translated in 1988, but his remark on the Kassa reliefs went unnoticed. In 1988 it was Robert Suckale who devoted particular attention to the realism concept of the Znaim altarpiece. Similarly to him, the present author also tends to name coarseness as the main characteristic of the Kassa reliefs, but the group of stocky figures is evidently free from Franco-Flemish influence. So it seems that similarly to the architecture of the Kassa church, the precedents to its sculptural ornamentation may also be traced to the building lodge (Bauhütte) of St Stephen's cathedral in Vienna who also mediated Parler's motifs. To be taken into account are the little known decoration of the Primglöckleintor of the Vienna cathedral, and first of all the so-called “Tutzsäule” of 1381 in Klosterneuburg. The functional relations of the relief cycle are the more important as this modus can also be encountered on the west portal of the Franciscan church in Kassa.

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St John of God is the patron saint of booksellers and bookbinders. An engraving by Joseph Anton Schmidt of Augsburg depicts him, still in civilian clothes, in a baroque printing office of the engraver’s time, around 1770. Johann Andreas Pfeffel jr. made an engraved portrait of his father with a German text of 8 lines under it. My collection has two engravings from around 1670 showing engraving workshops.

Hereafter I am going to list types of Christ. In Johann Andreas Pfeffel sr.’s composition the triumphant Saviour is standing on the instruments of Passion on top of Golgotha, with the flag of Easter in his right hand. His favourite disciple is holding to a rope lowered by the Heavenly Father, his feet treading on the column of the flagellation. The meaning of the allegorical picture is illumined by a quotation from St John’s Gospel (6,44). The Lord Triumphing over Death is reminiscent of a painting by Giovanni Battista Tinti: the blood flowing from Jesus’s heart is gathered by an angel in a cup. Christ’s foot is treading on a skull, he is holding his cross with the wreath of thorns. The mannerist painter of Parma drew inspiration from Michelangelo’s Risen Christ in Rome’s S. Maria sopra Minerva. In a book illustration Pfeffel depicts the blood and water from the side of the transfigured Saviour as the material of the Eucharist, adoring angels gathering it in a chalice and a pitcher.

In Buda’s Víziváros district, on the first side altar on the right in the former Franciscan church (later belonging to the sisters of St Elizabeth) a painted version of the votive statue of Vir Dolorum in Matrei in Tyrol, of which János Fülöp Binder made an engraving, was venerated.

Two monumental works by Michelangelo Buonarroti convey the mystery of Easter. The statue of Jesus in BasBassano Romano was made by Michelangelo earlier (1514- 16) and can thus be taken as precedent to the sculpture of a similar theme in S. Maria sopra Minerva (1521). The dominant attribute is the cross. In the earlier sculpture, in addition to the ropes, sponge and loincloth, the robe of mockery is dropped by Christ’s left hand onto the column of his flogging, which also serves as support.

There is a short red jasper column in the middle of a recess opening from the St Zeno chapel in Rome’s Basilica di S Prassede. Cardinal Giovanni Colonna, the commander of the papal army of the fifth crusade (1219) brought it home from the Holy Land and set it up in 1223. It is allegedly the column of Christ’s flagellation. The Greek emperor Alexios I Komnenos listed the relics kept in Constantinople in 1092: he already mentioned the purple robe and the reed. A register of 1200 includes the sponge, the purple chlamys and the reed in the sanctuary of Hagia Sophia. After the transfer of the relics to Rome, the reed with the sponge could be found in the reliquary of the Sancta Sanctorum in the Lateran. The Lord’s loincloth was preserved in the cathedral of Aachen visited by pilgrims for plenary indulgence as late as the 16th century.

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The documents of the Esterházy and Nádasdy families kept in the Hungarian National Archives are an inexhaustible source of Hungarian culture and art history. To this group belong the three batches of sources giving an insight into the funeral ceremonies of the Esterházys in the 17th century. Sources on the burial customs of the Esterházy family began to be published in the 20th century. In the focus of interest was the battle of Vezekény against the Turks in which four young Esterházys were killed on 26 August 1652 including the head of the family, László. Art works connected to his death, such as the weapons and outfit he wore in the battle, his portrait on the catafalque and the so-called Vezekény dish ordered in commemoration of him, were put up for various historical exhibitions. Two engravings of the funeral procession of the four Esterházys killed in action and buried in Nagyszombat on 26 November 1652 and their castrum doloris are also among the important sources. Using the prints made by Mauritz Lang after Hans Rudolf Miller's drawings, art historian Péter Szabó reconstructed the funeral procession in his book entitled Végtisztesség [Last Tribute] (Budapest 1989). The Esterházy family designated several places of last repose for its members in the 17th century. At the beginning they were buried in the family crypt of the Jesuit church at Nagyszombat [today Trnava, Slovakia] built by palatine Nicholas Esterházy. At the end of the century Pál Esterházy had a crypt built in the Franciscan church at the centre of the family estate in Kismarton [today Eisenstadt, Austria]. The first of the three groups of archival sources is the description of palatine Nicholas Esterházy's funeral procession in the Hungarian and Latin languages. The aristocrat died in 1645 and was buried in Nagyszombat on 11 December. The ceremony was organized by eight directors in kinship with the family, the master of ceremonies being Ferenc Wesselényi, captain of Fülek [today Filakovo, Slovakia]. The procession included the troops and representatives of the Hungarian aristocratic families, the council of Nagyszombat, the local guilds, the teachers and students of the academy, the leaders and bodies of the Catholic Church, deputies of the counties and the marches, and the Esterházys. Various emblems were included in the procession representing Esterházy's military rank (helmet, spurs, sword, stick) and public office as palatine (mace, sword). Separate roles were assigned to the flags including the national flag and to two alter egos who represented Nicholas Esterházy the person. The second group of sources includes the funeral procession and costs of count László Esterházy in Hungarian. The procession is very similar to the palatine's: the participants were nearly the same and the funeral ceremony was also similar. However, the written source and the funeral procession reconstructed by Péter Szabó on the basis of the engraving do not tally at several points. The costs of burial were 8615 forints, a large sum in the age. The paraphernalia were mainly bought in Vienna close to Kismarton. The expenses reveal that as was customary, the family and the familiares were dressed in new clothes and the artisans were given large amounts of money. The third source is the Hungarian account of the death and burial of baron Farkas Esterházy. A lower ranked collateral of the Esterházys, Farkas died unexpectedly in Lőcse [today Levoča, Slovakia] in 1670. Owing to the danger of infection, the funeral had to be staged quickly. Since the Catholic magnate could not be buried in Lutheran Lőcse, Farkas was buried in nearby Szepeshely [today Spišska Kapitula]. The funeral was organized by a relative living in the vicinity, the widow of György Homonnai Drugeth born countess Mária Esterházy. The procession included the locally available noblemen and the representatives of the town of Lőcse. The first two funerals in Nagyszombat were monumental, representative events, while Farkas Esterházy's was far more modest. It can be concluded from the 18 surviving accounts of funeral processions that in the area of the Hungarian Kingdom there was a relatively unified custom of funeral culture modeled first of all on the burial ceremonies of the Habsburg rulers.

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