BLOCK, Benjamin
(b. 1631, Lübeck, d. 1690, Regensburg)

Portrait of Count Ferenc Nádasdy

Oil on canvas, 182 x 120 cm
Historical Picture Gallery, Hungarian National Museum, Budapest

The painting is signed on the bottom at right. Later it was transferred to a new canvas.

Count Ferenc Nádasdy was born at in 1622. He studied law at Siena and later took two more trips to Italy. A Lutheran by birth, in 1643 he converted to Catholicism and the following year married Anna Julianna, daughter of Miklós Esterházy. He and his brother-in-law Pál Esterházy attended Ferdinand IV's coronation as King of Rome in Frankfurt in 1653, and then travelled around Germany. In 1655 he became Seneschal, the second highest ranking dignitary in Hungary. Nádasdy was the richest art collector and most versatile art patron in 17th-century Hungary. He had the ceiling of the grand hall in his castle at Sárvár decorated with scenes of the 15-year war against the Turks. Come of his portraits depict him as a sponsor of the church; others relate to his parliamentary work. At the close of his life he participated in the abortive Wesselényi revolt against Habsburg absolutism, for which he was beheaded at the Vienna town hall. His property was confiscated.