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Exhibitions, excavations, conferences, talks, new publications


Recent exhibitions


Pages of the Hungarian Angevin Legendary were on view at the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, in the following exhibition:

Pages of Gold - Medieval Illumination from the Morgan

June 19 - September 13, 2009



2008 - Renaissance Year in Hungary

In 2008, a series of exhibitions were devoted to the period of King Matthias Corvinus (1458-1490). Most significant was the coordinated effort of four museums, titled 4 times on Renaissance. Thematically and chronologically, these independent exhibitions complemented one another, giving visitors a comprehensive overview of 15th century Hungarian culture.

The exhibitions were the following:

National Széchényi Library, Budapest: Star in the Shadow of the Raven - János Vitéz and the Beginnings of Humanism in Hungary

This exhibition surveyed the beginnings of Hungarian humanism up to approximately the late 1470s. A special focus was the personality and the library of archbishop János Vitéz.







Budapest History Museum, Budapest: MATTHIAS CORVINUS, THE KING - Tradition and renewal in the Hungarian Royal Court 1458-1490


The exhibition gave a complete overview of the personality and court of King Matthias. Accompanied by an English-language catalogue.






Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest: The Dowry of Beatrice - The beginnings of Italian Majolica and the Court of King Matthias Corvinus

The goal of this exhibition was twofold: to present the 15th century origins of Italian majolica art while presenting its most important monuments, and second: to study and demonstrate the origins and creation of works in the majolica workshop of Buda. The famous Corvinus dishes, made in Pesaro, wer shown. See also the museum website.
Accompanied by an English-language catalogue.



Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest: The Legacy Of King Matthias - Late Renaissance Art In Hungary

The exhibition set out to present the history of Renaissance art in Hungary and to interpret the era within the culture of the early modern age as a whole. It looks at how Renaissance art in Hungary, which today is inextricably linked to the name of the great king subsequently developed.







2006 - Sigismundus Rex et Imperator

In 2006, the largest and most important exhibition ever dedicated to the art and culture of medieval Hungary opened at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest. Titled Sigismundus - Rex et Imperator, Art and Culture under the Last Ruler of the Luxemburg Dynasty, 1387-1437, the exhibition traveled later in 2006 to the Musée national d'histoire et d'art in Luxembourg.
The goal of the exhibition was to present the personality and times as well as the artistic milieu of Sigismund of Luxemburg, the king of Hungary (1387), and king (1410/11) and later emperor (1433) of the Holy Roman Empire. The exhibit centres on Sigismund's colourful personality, his political career and his patronage, although other objectives include the detailed presentation of the cultural and artistic phenomena and works associated with the emperor's lifework. The exhibition presents more than 350 artworks from approximately 100 great libraries, museums and treasuries throughout Europe.

Central European Artist: SigismundHans Burgkmair: SigismundBuda sculptor: Head of a KnightHungarian Artist: St. LadislasThomas of Coloswar: Calvary

The exhibition is accompanied by a complete website, accompanied by a detailed online guide, see!

As a concurrent event, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and Prague Castle Administration will dedicate an exhibition to the last rulers of the Luxemburg dynasty, titled 'Prague, The Crown of Bohemia, 1347-1437'

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The Art of the Late Middle Ages - A series of exhibitions worldwide in 2004

The year 2004 has seen a large number of exhibitions dedicated to the art of medieval Europe and the Mediterranean during the 14-15th centuries, ranging from English Gothic to Late Byzantine art. As you see above, this series will continue this year and after at New York, Prague, Budapest and Luxembourg.

The most important medieval exhibitions of 2004 were:

Gothic - Art for England, 1400-1547

Victoria & Albert Museum, London

October 9, 2003 - January 18, 2004


Paris 1400 - Les arts sous Charles VI

Louvre, Paris

March 26, 2004 - July 12, 2004


L'art à la cour de Bourgogne, Le mécénat de Philippe le Hardi et de Jean sans Peur et l'art en Bourgogne (1360-1420)
Dijon, Musée des Beaux-Arts - Du 28 mai 2004 au 15 septembre 2004

Dukes and Angels: Art from the Court of Burgundy (1364-1419)
The Cleveland Museum of Art
October 24, 2004 - January 9, 2005


Gothic Art - The History of Fine Arts in Slovakia

Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava

December 2003 - March 21, 2004


Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261–1557)

Metropolitan Museum, New York

March 23, 2004–July 4, 2004



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Earlier exhibitions on medieval Hungary

Europe's Centre around AD 1000 - A joint European exhibition, sponsored by the Council of Europe. The focus is the art and culture of Central European peoples around 1000. A two-volume German language catalogue is supplemented by text volumes in English, Hungarian, Polish and Czech: Europas Mitte um 1000 - Beiträge zur Geschichte, Kunst und Archäologie, I-II., Stuttgart: Theiss, 2000. The exhibition started in Budapest, from Aug. 20, 2000 to Nov. 26, 2000, and then went to Berlin, Prague, Mannheim and Bratislava.


A Thousand Years of Christianity in Hungary

- At the Hungarian National Museum, until 30 June 2002. The exhibition presents artworks associated with Christianity from Hungary, and is accompanied by a catalogue, which is available in English, Italian and Hungarian. Originally shown at the Vatican Museums.
Visit the homepage of the exhibition.


Gold of the Avars - The Treasure hoard of Nagyszentmiklós - The 7th-8th century treasures of an Avar chieftan are exhibited at the Hungarian National Museum, along with other Avar objects from various excavations. The treasure hoard is normally exhibited at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. There is no website for the present exhibition, however, information on the treasure is available on the website of a 1996 exhibition (Horsemen from the East - Huns and Avars).


Bavaria - Hungary - A Thousand Years (Bayern-Ungarn - Tausend Jahre).
Passau, Oberhausmuseum - Hungarian National Museum. Now closed, this exhibition focused on long-standing relations between Hungary and a region, this time Bavaria. The exhibition and catalogue has a strong emphasis on the Middle Ages, as contacts were especially strong at the time of St. Stephen (his wife, Gisela, came from Bavaria), as well as during the thirteenth century, and at the time of King Matthias. A German language catalogue, guide, and website are available.


Otto der Grosse - Magdeburg und Europa - In the focus of this splendid exhibition stood the figure of Emperor Otto I, as well as his residence at Magdeburg. Hungarians are featured as one of the formidable enemies Otto had to face. Open 27. August – 2. December 2001, at the Kulturhistorisches Museum of Magdeburg.


Paradisum plantavit - Benedictine Monasteries in Medieval Hungary

An exhibition at the Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma, Hungary
March 21-Nov. 11., 2001.

This major exhibition is dedicated to the history, art, and culture of Benedictine monasteries in Hungary between 997 and 1526. About 225 objects, ranging from charters to altarpieces to chalices and architectural carvings will be exhibited in the Library and Exhibition area of the Archabbey of Pannonhalma (near Györ in western Hungary). The material will be arranged in the following sections: Antecedents and Beginnings. Culture and Writing in the Monasteries. Art and Everyday Life. Liturgical Objects. Architectural Remains.

A bilingual (Hungarian-English) catalogue was published for the occassion, with studies, catalogue entries, bibliography and a database of Hungarian Benedictine monasteries. The Hungarian version is available online.


Recommended website for Fall 2007:


The Grand Atelier - Virtual Visit

The theme of the 2007 Europalia was "Europe". A major exhibition, titled The Grand Atelier celebrated art on the continent, with a focus on medieval art. The exhibition has been described as follows:

From the 5th to the 18th century, the development of trade routes across Europe transformed the continent into a gigantic artists’ atelier in which painters, sculptors, goldsmiths, princes and patrons travelled and spread their influence. The main event of the europalia.europa festival, the exhibition “The Grand Atelier. Pathways of Art in Europe”, will show some 250 great artworks from over one hundred European museums, illustrating the emergence of these new artistic dialogues and how they influenced the whole of Europe.

Hungary was one of the major lenders to the exhibition, with key peices from several museums.



Archive - Selections from featured internet links:

(please keep in mind that some of these links may be broken)


Recommended website for winter 2004-2005: Sigismundus - Rex et Imperator, Art and Culture under the Last Ruler of the Luxemburg Dynasty, 1387-1437.

A major international exhibition organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest. On view in Budapest during the Spring, and still to be seen at the Musée national d'histoire et d'art in Luxembourg until October 15.

Recommended website for winter 2004-2005: The homepage of the Christian Museum in Esztergom, one of the most important  collections of medieval art in Hungary. I especially recommend the Collection of Hungarian Late Gothic Painting and Sculpture, but the Museum has a rich collection of medieval Austrian and German painting, as well as a world famous Italian Trecento and Renaissance painting collection, along with many other treasures.

Recommended website for Fall 2004: An illustrated overview of the Hungarian Coronation insignia, featured on the homepage of Bildarchiv Foto Marburg. With photographs by Károly Szelényi. For further information on the crown and regalia, see my page on the insignia.

Recommended website for Spring 2004:  A series of databases created by Arcanum - A collection of historical databases. Selecting Gesta will lead to databases of historical geography and medieval family history in Hungary. Selecting Magyar Országos Levéltár will give you access to the database of pre-1526 charters in the collection of the Hungarian National Archives. Some knowledge of Hungarian is needed to navigate the site.

Recommended web site for Fall 2003:  The Digital Corvina Library - Széchényi National Library, Budapest. The database aims to create a virtual reconstruction of the celebrated library of King Matthias Corvinus (1458-1490). So far the site is only in Hungarian, but clicking on "Corvinák" on the menu will take you to digital facsimiles of a number of manuscripts.

Recommended website for April-May 2002: The Collections of the Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma - An overview of the Collection of Antiquities, Picture Gallery, Library, Tresury, etc. with photos and descriptions of objects. For the abbey itself, see

Recommended web site for December 2001: OTTO DER GROSSE - Magdeburg und Europa - official website of the exhibition at Magdeburg.

Recommended website for November 2001: Bayern-Ungarn - Tausand Jahre - Passau, Oberhausmuseum. These are the main website of the Bavarian exhibition, as well as the website of the Museum housing it.

Recommended website for October 2001: A Thousand Years of Christianity in Hungary - Homepage of the Hungarian exhibition at the Vatican Museums, with short description of select objects.

Recommended website for September 2001: L'Europe des Anjou - Homepage of an exhibition held at the Abbey of Fontevraud, to celebrate the glorious past of the Angevin dynasty. Central France (Anjou), Naples, Hungary, Croatia, and Poland are among the territories and countries where they ruled. The exhibition presents objects from these places, focusing on the 14th century. Open June 16 - Sept. 16, 2001. An exhibition catalogue is available. More information on the homepage of the Croatian Embassy in France.

Recommended website for March 2001: Hungarian National Museum – see the pages on the Highlights of the Collections, including medieval objects, as well as the page on Exhibitions (With links to the Coronation mantle and the Medieval lapidary.)

Recommended website for February 2001: Dress, Jewels, Arms and Coat of Arms: Material Culture and Self-Representation in the Late Middle Ages - A site by the Medieval Studies Department, Central European University

Recommended website for November 2000: The High Altar by Master MS at Selmecbánya - A virtual reconstruction on the Fine Arts in Hungary site.

Recommended website for October 2000: -Medieval Manuscript Manual - Created by the Medieval Studies Department, Central European University


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Other events

 -The Cathedral Museum of Pécs is now open (Fall 2004). The museum displays the richest ensemble of Romanesque stone carving known from Hungary. The portals, staircase walls and stone altars of the cathedral are reassembled inside the museum, along with great many other carvings and fragments.

-On January 1st, 2000, the Holy Crown of Hungary was moved to the building of the Hungarian Parliament from the Hungarian National Museum. The spectre, orb and the coronation sword moved to Parliament as well, but the Coronation Mantle remains at the National Museum. Thus the units of the only medieval ensemble of coronation regalia surviving intact have unfortunately been separated. See my page on the Crown.

-On November 10th, 1999, the new exhibition of Northern Gothic Sculpture has opened at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest. The collection has not been on view for decades. Currently altogether 60 pieces are on display, including French, Netherlandish, German and Austrian pieces of the 13th to early 16th centuries, carved out of ivory, stone and wood. Two complete altarpieces are also exhibited. The descriptive catalogue of the collection was written over twenty years ago (Jolán Balogh, Katalog der ausländischen Bildwerke des Museums der Bildenden Künste in Budapest, IV.-XVIII. Jahrhundert, I-II. Budapest: Akadémiai, 1975.), a new catalogue of the Gothic pieces is awaiting publication. In the Spring of 2004, the exhibition closed for an uncertain time.

-A fourteenth-century royal throne carpet has been recovered at the Buda castle excavations. The carpet has been recovered from a well in very good condition. It is a large silk patchwork (240x110 cm) decorated with Angevine coats of arms. It will be displayed after restoration in the Budapest Historical Museum. The same well has yielded a number of other interesting objects made of wood, leather and other materials, all preserved in good condition. The excavations still go on. 

Detail of the silk royal throne carpet recovered at Buda, before restoration (Budapest History Museum)



The new Lapidarium of the Hungarian National Museum opened on November 25, 1998. Apart from Roman stones of Pannonia, many medieval stone carvings, especially tombstones are exhibited here. See the homepage.


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