The paper analyses the textual and visual representations of King Matthias Corvinus in the light of Antique physiognomical theories. I intend to focus mainly on those descriptions and portraits which were influenced by the lion's physiognomy. The last chapter deals also with the portraits of Matthias, but with the Attila-faun-like images. The Antique theories of physiognomy have contributed to a more exact interpretation of his images and the physiognomical comparison has resulted a more shaded picture about his iconography, even in the case of the Attila-faun-type portraits where we cannot study such clear-cut intentions. Due to the research we can place plausibly the leonine images of King Matthias among the Renaissance state-portraits after having taken into consideration the king's political intentions as well. The examination of the sources has resulted that the role of Galeotto Marzio must have been crucial in mediating the physiognomical theories towards the Buda court. I have also demonstrated that in his work physiognomy appears as an element of the theoriesrelated to good governance.
The author’s monograph published in Hungarian in 2001 was the first attempt to give an overview of the theme of King Matthias Corvinus in Slovenian folk tradition and literature. This study provides some further details on this subject, suggesting a new interpretation of traditional folk texts about King Matthias Corvinus as texts of collective memory, collective narrative and collective identity. The myth of King Matthias Corvinus as a saviour strongly condenses how this exceptional soldier and possible crusade leader, who vanquishes the unbelievers and heretics, liberated this part of Europe from barbarism and instilled in it the spirit of humanism and the Renaissance.
The remains of the Visegrád Summer palace indicate that it followed closely upon the Italian development of all'antica villa constructions according to descriptions by Pliny the Younger. On the basis of the close relationship of the Visegrád garden to the Palazzo Venezia in Rome, the role of Giovanni Dalmata, also working for Pope Paul II, is taken into consideration in this study. The transmission to Hungary of a wide-spread type of Quattrocento fountain is also attributed to this artist, whose authorship of the Visegrád Hercules fountain is here proved by stylistic comparisons with his Roman and Dalmatian works.
The Hungarian king Hunyadi Mátyás is known as Matthias Corvinus today. The name ‘Corvinus’ was created for him by the Italian Humanists, along with a fictitious descendancy from the Roman era. This name, however, only appeared in the playground of Art, in panegyrics, in inscriptions of buildings or miniatures. Nevertheless, the appointed successor of the King, his natural son, Johannes Corvinus has been officially using the name ‘Corvinus’.
During the winter of 1479–1480, Pope Sixtus IV determined that humanist Raffaele Maffei from Volterra (1451–1522) should join the cardinal Giovanni d’Aragona, who had been sent as papal legate to Matthias Corvinus’s court. This paper illustrates Maffei’s impressions of his trip, as they emerge in a published but little known letter addressed to his friend Niccolò Lisci, as well as in the eighth book of his famous encyclopedia, the
. Although the Hungarians’
nature and their Spartan habits impressed the Italian humanist, Maffei was truly amazed by the incredible cultural flourishing of the Corvinian court.
The Trivulziana Cod. N. 1458 is a variant of the dispatch, known as the “Landus report” in the Hungarian historiography. This report narrates the history of Hungary from the death of Louis the Great up to the peace between Matthias Corvinus and Frederick III in 1463. However, the codex of the Trivulziana Library also contains a new closing section, which narrates the events following the death of Matthias. In this paper, I examine two questions: (a) was this closing section written by the same person as the so-called Landus report?; (b) does this closing section provide us new pieces of information concerning the history of Hungary? In addition to this, I give a general account of the content of the dispatch and review its editions and its manuscript tradition. Moreover, I outline its reception in the Hungarian historiography. Finally, in the Appendix I give the transcription of the closing section of the manuscript as well as another unpublished part of the manuscript, although the examination of this will be the subject of further studies.
The Didymus-Corvina in the New York Pierpont Morgan Library was illuminated for King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary in the workshop of Gherardo and Monte di Giovanni. The analysis of both frontispiece and text of the codex proves that in the background of the redaction of the book there were the events on the 1437–39 Council of Ferrara and Florence. Its program and contents were determined by the philosophical circle of Florentine neoplatonists of the second half of the 15th century as well as by Italian humanists in the service of the Buda court. The illumination makes use of the repertory of Florentine self-repesentation for the purpose of symbolic power representation of the Hungarian ruler.
The treasury of the mediaeval cathedral of Várad (Oradea) was secularized by the Protestant estates of Transylvania in 1557. Following this move, a part of the goldsmith's work and textiles were taken to the castle of Ecsed. The manuscripts and textiles were still there in 1603; the remnants were transported to Kassa (Košice) in 1617. There is evidence, however, that important items of the Várad textiles had left the castle of Ecsed earlier. Gergely Bornemissza, who was bishop of Várad from 1572 to 1584, seems to have been able to get back valuable pieces which were at Jászó when he died (December 1584). The Vienna court had the movables inventoried, for it was customary to exchange a high priest's estate for money. The first step was taken on 27 August 1585, followed soon by an order to transport the silverware to Vienna. The rest was assessed in 1588 when the three inventories discussed in this paper were taken. At that time, there were mainly textiles in Kassa, most of them chasubles, copes and two infulae with beadwork. Outstanding among them were a chasuble showing King St Ladislaus in the company of St Stephen and St Emeric (the crowns of Ss Ladislaus and Stephen were made of silver), and one adorned with the coat of arms of King Matthias Corvinus. The beadwork images on one of the infulae show the Calvary and the Resurrection of Christ. They alone were embellished with precious stones mounted in gold rosettes, the chasubles were not decorated with gems but with beads of varying sizes. There is no doubt that the liturgical vestments that went from Várad into Bishop Gergely Bornemissza's possession were of extraordinary importance. (Nothing is known of their subsequent history.) Bornemissza was already known for art history as the white marble reliefs of King Matthias and Queen Beatrice now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, first appeared in his possession before king Maximilian ordered them to be sent to Vienna.
An interesting carved stone fragment of the mediaeval Royal Palace of Buda was found in Budapest in 1997, built secondarily in a house at No. 6 Márvány Street. On the carved prismatic red marble stone with polished surface details of an inscription in square capitals can be read in two lines: ‘… DIADEM[A]…/…TOLLII · [I]…’ This fragment can be complemented with another carved piece found during the excavations led by László Gerevich in the Royal Palace of Buda in the 1950s. The similarly prismatic stone with polished surface features the end of an inscription in two lines: “…OQUE / …VT·”. Since the type of the letters and the size are identical, it is reasonably justified to assume that the two fragments used to belong to the same inscribed frieze. It was probably included in the structure of an aperture frame (door, window, or fireplace) as the known analogies suggest. Our hypothesis is verified by a written source that registered with the authenticity of the eye-witness the inscription the fragments of which have now been found. In his description of Buda including the former Royal Palace occupied by the Ottomans, Salomon Schweigger (and in his wake Reinhold Lubenau) put down an inscription into which the fragments at issue can be fitted. The text is as follows:
ad astra Cap
It is apparent at first glance that the fragments contain parts of this text. Nevertheless, it is still important to call attention to the slight differences between the distich printed in Schweigger's book and the text in the carved stone fragment. The differences might be attributed to mistaken copying or more probably to erroneous memory, but the circumstances of neither the observation, nor the recording are known. This warns of the discrepancies or contradictions in the trinity of the surviving text, our own interpretation and the one-time reality.
The inscribed fragment unearthed in the 1950s was found outside the eastern facade of the Palace and the southern wall of the Chapel, in the debris filling the area of the inner ward. The debris originated from the former buildings on location, that is, from the demolished Chapel and the eastern wing of the Court of State. There is general consensus among scholars that the above mentioned eastern wing contained King Matthias Corvinus's library, to which this inscription and two other ones are usually connected by research. Travellers visiting the palace occupied by the Turks often gave account of the library and the neighbouring rooms. Having thoroughly analysed these accounts, a close spatial connection can be concluded between the library (and the so-called “observatory” room) adjoining the Chapel, the royal bedchamber close to the library, and the royal “dining room” (and an associated small kitchen) all on the first floor of the eastern and southern sides of the court. However, our current knowledge is insufficient to decide how to correlate the rooms with inscriptions in some accounts and the representative rooms in other accounts, except for the library.
From among the inscriptions of Buda Palace noted by written accounts the three at issue here are connected not only by their common versification, or by their one-time spatial closeness. They had also a common function: the aim of all three inscriptions was to explain the constellations depicted next to them on the walls. All three paintings had astrological subjects, showing with artistic means certain constellations at the time of certain events. King Matthias Corvinus is well known to be keen on the cultivation of astrology at a high level in his court. Beside his court astronomer Martin Bylica of Olkusz, Johannes Regiomontanus, one of the most original and active astronomers of his age, spent five years in Hungary and dedicated several important works to the king. The mural paintings showing the constellations on the days of Matthias's birth, his election as king of Bohemia and the accession of Wladislas II Jagiello to the Hungarian throne played outstanding roles in royal representation. Comparing the texts of the written accounts of the travellers visiting the Palace with contemporaneous depictions on similar themes, we tried to deduce the types and the manner of depictions of the lost paintings in Buda.
Bibliotheca Corviniana 2008 – Ex Bibliotheca Corviniana. Die acht Münchener Handschriften aus dem Besitz von König MatthiasCorvinus. Hrsg. Claudia Fabian – Edina Zsupán . Budapest 2008 .