Previously Unknown Charters in Booklet Form by the Calligrapher George Bocskay

Gulyás, Borbála (2016) Previously Unknown Charters in Booklet Form by the Calligrapher George Bocskay. Acta Historiae Artium, 57. pp. 105-130. ISSN 0001-5830

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In this paper, the author examines the script forms and ornaments of five works by the Hungarian calligrapher, George Bocskay (†1575), which have so far eluded researchers’ attention. All are manuscript charters on parchment, issued in Vienna in the second half of the sixteenth century by Habsburg rulers (some in their capacity as kings of Hungary), and all are of extremely high quality, decorated with elaborate calligraphy. Justification for presenting them together derives from their similar format: they are not conventional, single folio charters, but were all produced in booklet form. Since these manuscripts were closely connected with George Bocskay’s time as an official at the Viennese Court, the paper provides an overview of the different stages of his career there, based primarily on recently unearthed archive sources. For thirty years Bocskay worked at – and was promoted through the ranks of – the Hungarian Court Chancellery, which was the official government body within the composite state of the Habsburg Monarchy with responsibility for issuing charters pertaining to the Kingdom of Hungary. Among the official documents issued here by the Habsburg rulers, in their capacity as kings of Hungary, the most important from an art historical aspect are the letters patent issued to members of the Hungarian nobility, which featured a miniature of the granted coat of arms and usually also calligraphic decoration. Based on the author’s latest research, several examples of such decoration can now be attributed to the calligrapher, whose activity even led to the creation of a calligraphic school within the Chancellery. This paper presents three previously unknown manuscripts, namely the letters patent issued to Márk Horváth-Stanchich (1558), János Pethő de Gerse (III) (1572), and János Liszthy (1573); the identity of the master who made the miniatures on the two latter documents is also suggested (Donat Hübschmann). Furthermore, the paper provides clarification of the reading of a Bocskay signature found on a letters patent (grant of barony) issued to Miklós Oláh (1558–60), already described in the literature as a work by the calligrapher. Also on the basis of relevant archive sources, the author goes on to opine that, in addition to his official positions at the Chancellery, Bocskay also served in another role within the Viennese Court, which can best be defined as “calligrapher to the ruler.” It was for such services that Ferdinand I of Habsburg, in his capacity as Hungarian king, also bestowed upon him the nominal title of royal courtier (in Latin: aulae regiae familiaris / aulicus). In the author’s opinion, the artist, as “calligrapher to the ruler,” was also given the commission to decorate two further important charters, also discussed in this paper, both ratifying royal marriages between Habsburg archduchesses and Italian noble houses. Issued in Vienna in 1565 by Emperor Maximilian II of Habsburg and Archdukes Ferdinand and Charles, one charter ratified the marriage between Archduchess Barbara and Alfonso II d’Este, while the other ratified the marriage between Archduchess Joanna and Francesco Medici.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: George Bocskay, calligraphy, letters patent, marriage ratification charter, writing model book, Hungarian Court Chancellery, Ferdinand I of Habsburg, Maximilian II (I) of Habsburg, Miklós Oláh, Márk Horvát-Stanchich, János Pethő de Gerse (III), János Liszthy, Donat Hübschmann, János Zsámboky (Johannes Sambucus), humanistic and Gothic scripts, Vespasiano Amphiareo, Ludovico degli Arrighi, Giovanbattista Palatino, Johann Neudörffer the Elder, entrelac Fraktur initial (“Flechtwerkinitial”), grotesque, scrollwork (“Rollwerk”), arabesque, entry, wedding festival, Archduchess Barbara of Austria, Alfonso II d’Este, Torquato Tasso, Il tempio d’amore, Archduchess Joanna of Austria, Francesco Medici, Cosimo I Medici, Palazzo Vecchio, Vincenzo Borghini, Giorgio Vasari
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History / történeti segédtudományok > CD Diplomatics. Archives. Seals / oklevéltan, levéltárak, pecséttan > CD922 Diplomatics / oklevéltan
C Auxiliary Sciences of History / történeti segédtudományok > CR Heraldry / címertan, zászlók, jelvények
N Fine Arts / képzőművészet > NC Drawing Design Illustration / rajzművészet, formatervezés, illusztrálás
N Fine Arts / képzőművészet > ND Painting / festészet
N Fine Arts / képzőművészet > NE Print media / grafikai művészetek
N Fine Arts / képzőművészet > NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament / iparművészet, díszítőművészet
N Fine Arts / képzőművészet > NX Arts in general / művészetek általában
N Fine Arts / képzőművészet > NX Arts in general / művészetek általában > NX2 Artistic periods and styles / művészeti korszakok és stílusok
N Fine Arts / képzőművészet > NX Arts in general / művészetek általában > NX3 Iconography, Iconology / ikonográfia, művészeti motívumok
Depositing User: PhD Borbála Gulyás
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2017 14:28
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2017 14:28

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