(active c. 1507 in Hungary)

Interior view

Bakócz Chapel, Cathedral, Esztergom

Because of the unstable political situation in eastern Europe, the appearance there of the Renaissance style of architecture was very sporadic and usually closely dependent upon the ruling personalities. The election in 1458 of Matthias Corvinus as king of Hungary marks the first serious interest in this region in the new architectural style. Matthias had translations prepared of the contemporary Italian architectural treatises of Filarete and Alberti and in 1467 invited to Hungary briefly the Bolognese architect and engineer Aristotele Fioravanti. The buildings designed for Matthias, such as his hunting lodge of Nyek, have been destroyed.

The Bakócz Chapel (1507) erected by Cardinal Tamás Bakócz as his sepulchral chapel at the cathedral of Esztergom. Cardinal Bakócz used to belong to the more intimate circle of King Matthias. After the death of Matthias, he became the Lord Chancellor of Wladislas II. Following the example of Matthias, he also sponsored art. Major buildings were started when he was the Archbishop of Esztergom.

Built out of red marble of Süttő on a Greek cross plan with niches in axes and surmounted by a dome, the Bakócz Chapel resembles late 15th-century Florentine chapels. Side walls in the middle are divided into three zones. Red marble carvings, proportions of Vitruvius and Renaissance space are all intended to express cardinalship.

The Bakócz Chapel is the most precious remaining example of Renaissance art in Hungary.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.