Journal ARS 49 (2016) 1

Michal BADA

The Historic Context of Some Details of the Veduta of Bratislava at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence


After the Ottoman Empire conquered the central part of the Kingdom of Hungary, the Habsburgs were forced to choose a new capital of their monarchy. In 1536 they opted for Bratislava, which thus became a coronation site, a place of parliament meetings, and a seat of central authorities. The coronations did not differ from those held in Székesfehérvár. Based on the analysis of coronations of Hungarian kings and queens one can state that the valid ceremony consisted of two parts: the religious one and the profane one. The profane part comprised four parts: a procession from the coronation basilica to another church (bestowing the state of knighthood), a profane coronation oath, four swings by a sword at the coronation hill, and a coronation feast. On the occasion of marriage of Francis I Medici and Joanna of Austria in 1565, a mural painting representing Bratislava as one of the capitals of the Habsburg agglomeration was executed in the courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. There is no doubt that the fresco was made after the first preserved veduta of Bratislava showing the 1563 coronation of Maximilian I. Compared to the original woodcut completed by the Monogramist “HM” (Hans Mayr?), the fresco shows many differences. The towers (churches, municipal house) and the composition of houses on the banks of the Danube River seem to be borrowed from the Civitates orbis terrarum (1593). Similarly, the cannons by the Vydricka Gate were probably depicted after the picture of Emperor Maximilian’s arrival in Vienna in the spring of 1563 (STAINHOFER, K.: Gründtliche vnd khurtze beschreibung... (1566). Moreover, the artist(s) of Florentine fresco transformed a wooden castle the conquering of which was part of court games after the coronation into a deserted stage behind the town on which the new king was taking a secular oath. The outlined questions and similarities clearly show that it is important to explore the chronology of origin, mutual inspirations and a possible transfer of individual elements among the leading Habsburg courts and artists.