Italy & Hungary: Humanism and Art in the Early Renaissance

By Lynch, Sarah W. | The Catholic Historical Review, October 2012 | Go to article overview

Italy & Hungary: Humanism and Art in the Early Renaissance


Lynch, Sarah W., The Catholic Historical Review


Italy & Hungary: Humanism and Art in the Early Renaissance. Edited by Péter Farbaky and Louis A.Waldman. [Villa ITatti Series, 27.] (Florence:Villa ITatti, Harvard University Press. 201 1. Pp. xli, 728. $85.00. ISBN 978-0-67406346-4.)

This long-awaited volume is the publication of papers given at the 2007 conference at Villa i Tatti, prior to the 2008 exhibition and catalog, "Matthias Corvinus, the King," at the Budapest History Museum. The two books can be taken together as offering an updated and revised picture of the reign of the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus (1443-90). These papers are largely art historical in focus and make detailed arguments about small fragments of material, both artistic and archival, which have much broader implications for the period. However, a section devoted to Hungary's intellectual connections with Italian humanism includes worthy essays describing the careers of littleknown figures such as Andreas Pannonius (in an essay by Sándor Bene) and Jacobus Piso (by Laszlo Jankovits), whereas Angela Dillon Bussi and Jonathan J. G Alexander study the famous Corvinian library.

Four papers summarize previous scholarship, much of it available only in Hungarian. This is an important contribution for non-Hungarian scholars in understanding the material available to them and the history of the field in general. However, although work by scholars such as Jolán Balogh is foundational in this area, more needs to be done than just making this material available to the English-speaking world. The translation of Balogh's three-volume Art at the Court of King Matthias Corvinus, as called for by Gyöngyi Török, would be a gift to non-Hungarian scholars. However, these conference proceedings make clear that a new synthesis of the Hungarian Renaissance is overdue, one that would include material both prior to and after the years of Matthias's reign. The biggest drawback of the Corvinian focus of this collection is that it leaves out important material from the period after Matthias's reign and outside the power seats of Buda, Visegrád, and Esztergom. …

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