Hungarian Renaissance Architecture

16 Jun

One of the earliest places to be influenced by the Renaissance style of architecture was Hungary. The style appeared following the marriage of King Matthias Corvinus and Beatrix of Naples in 1476. Matthias was 15 when he was elected King of Hungary. He was educated in Italian, and his fascination with the achievements of the Italian Renaissance led to the promotion of Mediterranean cultural influences in Hungary. Many Italian artists, craftsmen and masons arrived at Buda with the new queen. One of whom, Aristotile Fioravanti, travelled from Hungary to Moscow where he built the Cathedral of the Dormition. The most important work of Hungarian Renaissance ecclesiastical architecture is the Bakócz Chapel in the, now rebuilt and mostly nineteenth century, Esztergom Basilica.


Bakócz Chapel


Esztergom Basilica


Posen Rathaus

Poznan Town Hall rebuilt from the Gothic style by Giovanni Batista di Quadro (1550-1555). Buda Castle was enlarged and modernized in Renaissance style. King Matthias also built a sumptuous summer palace in Visegrád. His successor, King Ulászló II built an Italianate hunting lodge in Budanyék. These monuments were largely destroyed in the Ottoman wars but the remains of the Visegrád Palace were partially reconstructed around 2000.


Buda Castle

The Ottoman conquest of Hungary in 1526 put an abrupt end to the short-lived Hungarian Renaissance. The royal court ceased to exist but Hungarian landowner families in the Royal Hungary built a lot of provincial Renaissance castles in the 16-17th centuries. The most important of them was the Rákóczi Castle in Sárospatak.

Many significant Renaissance castles were built in Transylvania, that time an independent principality. The palace of Gabriel Bethlen in Gyulafehérvár (now Alba Iulia, Romania) was designed by Italian architects. The Transylvanian Renaissance lasted well until the first half of the 18th century because of the aesthetical conservatism of the country. The vernacular architecture of Transylvania preserved Renaissance details especially long.

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