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Monday, July 30, 2012

A Pair of Paintings That Act as Priceless Illustrations of a Difficult and Crucial Period in the Formation of Hungary's Identity

A Pair of Hungarian Oils, dating from 1698 and 1697
Oil on shaped canvases 
Measuring: 148 ¼ x 55 inches;  145 ¼ x 52½ inches

‘Behold young men, see these leaders, whom the House of the Batthyatids sent around across the globe of Hungary’

Cerne Viros, spectare Duces, quos misit im Orbem Hungaricum, Domus hac: BATHYANIANA.’ 
In Latin along the hem of the tapestry dated to 1698, painted in yellow letters against a red background.

These two oil paintings, dated to 1697 and 1698, lie at the heart of Hungary’s political history towards the end of the 17th Century and offer a poignant testimony of the complex dynamics that rent the nation at that time. At first sight the oils differ substantially from each other in theme and atmosphere: one, more peaceful and strongly religious, depicts Saint Anthony of Padua joining the Franciscan order, and the other (though not devoid of religious symbolism) spells out a far more political, even military message, and calls for a unification of the Slavic states under the leadership of Hungary. Nevertheless, a close study of the imagery, symbolism and Latin texts scattered through the scenes reveals a shared desire for Hungary’s national and religious independence. The pair, as they really should be considered, are a priceless illustration of a difficult and crucial period in the formation of the country’s identity.

A few years before the oils were commissioned, Hungary was torn between the domination of two foreign powers, the Austrian Empire in the West, ruled at that time by the Habsburg King Leopold I, and the Ottoman Empire, led by Sultan Mehmed IV (and later by Mustafa II) and his Grand Vizier Suleiman to the East. Most of central and southern Hungary was occupied by Turkish forces (the region was called ‘Turkish Hungary’ or ‘Ottoman Hungary’ for decades) and was only freed from the Ottoman grip in 1697 with the great battle of Zenta, led by Eugene of Savoy. On the two oils the dates 1697 and 1698 are painted in bright yellow, and it is difficult to think that such self-conscious attention to the exact dates of the two oils, and their obvious correspondence to the battle, are not a direct allusion to that episode, though the name ‘Zenta’ itself cannot be found in the text. 

Hungary’s allegiances were divided, however, and if anything it was as anti-Austrian as it was anti- Ottoman. The fragile state had learned the art of survival between two giants, and used to its advantage the antagonisms between them.1 The people of Hungary–the Magyars–wanted to be free from the control of both empires and yet could shake off the domination of neither successfully.2 So their loyalties vacillated, as they joined one power to drive out the other at one time and later revoked that allegiance to befriend their previous enemy. Hungary lacked a strong, unified government, and was ruled by powerful families of magnates who exerted their leadership at a local level through counties or comitats, and whose assemblies helped to keep alive the tenuous notion of a Magyar nation. Such magnates included Adam Batthyany and Thomas de Nadasd, once a personal favourite of King Leopold I of Austria but who later turned against him and rallied Hungarian troops to help the Ottomans in the famous siege of Vienna. The first of these commissioned the more military of the two paintings (his latinised name Adamus Bathyan is signed on the oil). It is this work with which we shall begin, despite its slightly later date. Thomas de Nadasd funded the more religious painting: ‘Our illustrious Lord, count Thomas de Nadasd…had this made in 1697’3.

1 Spielman, John: Leopold I of Austria, 1977, Chap. 6, ‘The Zrinyi Rebellion and Repression in Hungary’.
2 Miklos, Molnar: A concise History of Hungary, 2001. Chap. 3, ‘A country under three crowns’.
3 ‘Illustrifsimus Doñus Doñus Comes Thomas de Nadasd…Fieri Curavit 1697’.

Far left of the oil
The six armies of (from left to right) Hungaria, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Gellitia, Transylvania, Dalmatia all with a bright yellow star above name and standard. Hungary is at the forefront and its coat of arms is replicated hanging on the trunk of the palm tree in the centre on which the pelican has alighted. 

Note: palm tree is symbol of victory and Pelican is symbol of Christianity.

Far right of the oil
The five armies of (from left to right) Dadomeria, Cumaria, Servia, Sclavonia, Croatia, all with a bright yellow star above name and standard of each one.

I see eleven stars worshipping me.4
The central scene shows eleven armies gathering under the protection and leadership of the Virgin Mary. She opens her arms out to her ‘eleven stars’ in a maternal gesture, promising them security. Each squadron brandishes its nation’s flag and coat of arms, and the country’s name is painted in black above the ensigns, making the identification immediate and clear. Over each name shines a bright yellow star. The squadrons form a semi-circle beneath the Virgin, following the shape of the canvas, and from left to right we can distinguish the armed forces of, first and foremost, Hungary, then Bosnia, Bulgaria, Gellitia, Transylvania, Dalmatia, Dadomaria, Cumaria, Serbia, Slavonia and finally Croatia. 

At first sight this is a rallying of European troops against the Ottoman forces; but the absence of Austria from the gathering is significant. It is in fact an exclusively Slavic gathering (apart from the Hungarians of course), for the Austrians, unlike all the peoples depicted, are not a Slavic but a Germanic people, and this scene points to the fundamental ethnic difference between them, a good reason to reject Austrian rule. There is a strong message of rejecting Habsburg dominion and a celebration of the united Slav nations, with Hungary in the lead. Beneath the Virgin’s feet a caption reads ‘Patron of Hungary, under your leadership we seek refuge’5 which evokes both notions of protection and of war, with ‘leadership’.6 This is not a peaceful appeal, but a clarion-call for unity among the Slavic peoples. If we stretch the symbolism, the Virgin is a personification of Hungary, guaranteeing her protection to all Slavs united, celebrating their victory over the Ottomans at Zenta one year earlier and asking them to shake off the Austrian yoke. 

Hungary certainly saw itself at the head of the revolt and its coat of arms and its emblem, the lion of Hungary, recur at various points in the picture. On the right they are shown together in a clever montage, where the lion himself brandishes the coat of arms. The latter is also hung on the great Palm tree (left of the Virgin), symbol of victory–the apposition makes it quite clear: Hungary has triumphed. The lion features twice in the oil and undergoes an interesting change when it reappears: whereas on the bottom left corner a rather small and timid-looking lion hides in his cave, on the right, he has come out of the cave and stands proud and defiant on top of it, fiercely holding the coat of arms of his nation. The message seems to be along the lines of: ‘at first we were scared and weak, but when the Slavs united, we grew strong and fierce and defeated our enemy and won our freedom.’ 

The caption above the triumphant lion reads ‘In fluctu motuque simuldum vita supertes’, which translates into English as: ‘you [Hungary] have survived through seas of troubles’.

4 Video undecim stellas adorare me. Genesis 37
5 PATRONA HUNGARIAE, sub tuum praesium confugimus.
6 ‘praesidium’.

The Evolution of the Lion of Hungary
On the far left of the oil, the Lion of Hungary is represented hiding sheepishly in a cave, sword in mouth. The symbolf of the Pelican feeding its young is repeated, nesting on the cave. 

But to the far right of the oil, the Lion has srpung triumphantly from his cave and stands magestic on top of it holding the coat of arms of Hungary with pride. Over time (understood as spacial across the oil) Hungary has overcome its hardships.

Latin: In fuctu motuque simul dum vita supertes
Translation: you (Hungary) have survived

A Victory for Christianity
The Palm tree of Victory does not only host Hungary’s coat of arms. In its upper foliage is perched a large white Pelican, its chicks gathered around. The bird pierces its breast with its own beak, and the drops of blood fall into the open mouths of its young (we find the same image on top of the cave where the lion of Hungary is hiding). The pelican, or sometimes cormorant, piercing its own breast to feed its heart to its young is a symbol of Christianity, a metaphor of Jesus’ self-sacrifice to humankind. This symbol, dominating the scene from the top of the Palm tree of Victory is a unambiguous message of Christian victory over the Muslim Ottomans. The caption above the scene reads: ‘I, the Pelican Adam Batthyany, feed these young chicks in honour of my kingdom, fatherland, army and my people.’7 In a caption below we read that Adam Batthyany is the one who funded the oil in 1698.8 He casts himself as a protector and leader, both religious and military. 

The Batthyany are an old distinguished Hungarian magnate family, still in existence to this day, that can trace their roots back to the foundation of Hungary in 896. A branch of the family was Croatian and indeed a look back at the position of the armies in a semi-circle beneath the Virgin shows that Croatia is placed in a prominent position just as Hungary is, at the other tip of the crescent formation (to the proper left of the Virgin). While the other nations recede back into the canvas, Hungary and Croatia appear the largest, at the forefront of the configuration. The seat of the Batthyany family is Güssing, on the border between today’s Austria and Hungary. Now, Adam Batthyany, a Catholic, founded a Franciscan monastery there in 1610–1659. The second painting is precisely a scene of Saint Anthony joining the Franciscan order, and these elements combine well to enforce the idea that these two oils are a pair, perhaps made to hang in Adam Batthyany’s monastery in Güssing.

7 Nutrio pullos hos, PELICANUS BATHYAN ADAMUS, Pro Regno, Patria, Milite, Gente
8 Excellentissimus Comes Doñus Adamus de Bathyani…Croatiae, et Sclavoniae Camerarius,
Eques aurat ac Partium Regni Hungariae… Suprem Generalis Fieri Curavit 1698 [Our most excellent master the Count Adam of the Battyanids, Chairman of Croatia and Slavonia, golden Knight and Supreme General in his native Kindom of Hungary, had this made in 1698].

The Pelikan (or sometimes cormorant) piercing its own breast to feed its young: symbol of Christianity represented nesting on the palm tree, symbol of victory-Christianity triumphs over the Ottoman forces.

Nutrio pullos hos, PELICANUS BATHYAN ADAMUS, Pro Regno Patria, Milite, Gente mea

I, the Pelican Adam Bathyani, feed these chicks for my kingdom, my fatherland, my armies and my people.

The signature of Adamus of Bathyani

Excellentissimus Comes Donus Adamus de Battliyann, perpetuus xx
Croatiae, et Sclavoniae Banus, Sacrae Caesaree Regiae que Mattis intimus consiliarius Camerarius, Eques aurat ac Partium Regni Hungariae, cis Danubianoru et Consimoru Canifienfium ?? Suprem,
Generalis etc etc Fieri Curavit 1698

Our most excellent master, the Count Adamus of the Bathyadids, of the long line of the …
Chair of the council and ally of the kingdoms of and sacred kings of Croatia, Slavonia; distinguished general of his native counrty of Hungary, Supreme General of ...the Danube and... Took care to commission this painting in 1698 As an echo to the words of the Pelican opposite.

The Magyar Rebel Princes: the siege of Vienna

As we have seen, Hungary’s allegiances and loyalty wavered between the Austrian Habsburgs and the Ottomans in vain attempts to free themselves from both or at least to gain more autonomy. When the Turks besieged Vienna, they marched through Hungary and met little resistance. Worse still, independent bands led by Hungarian rebel princes joined them against the Austrians and there were few Hungarians to be seen defending the ramparts of Vienna. One may wonder what had caused such hatred in the Hungarian people that they became allies of the Muslims, against their Austrian coreligionists. 

Though relations had always been bitter since Emperor Ferdinand of Austria took over Hungary and Bohemia in 1526, many historians trace back the moment when relations seriously soured to the peace of Vasvar.9 In the Spring of 1664, the Turks began an offensive into Hungary along the river Raab. At first, confusion among the Austrian Imperial forces and the Hungarian squadrons allowed the Turks to cross the river that marked the border. Panic took over and disagreement was put to the side. A vigorous double-pronged assault was launched against the Ottomans and unexpectedly brought victory to the Austro-Hungarian troops. The Turks remained numerically superior but their losses were far heavier. Above all, for the first time, the Hungarian and Croatian nobility showed enthusiasm for the Habsburg cause and were prepared to do their part in liberating the occupied portions of the realm.

Then, a few days later, just when prospects were looking brighter and there was hope that a new-found harmony would push out the Turks completely, Leopold I signed a peace treaty (the Treaty of Vasvar) with the Ottoman pasha that gave him back Transylvania and the parts of Hungary that had just been won back. As if this were not enough, the treaty compelled Leopold to pay an annual gift of 200,000 Gulden to the Sublime Porte. This strange decision on the part of the Habsburg Emperor is partly explicable: at the very same time, the west side of his realm was being attacked by French forces, led by Louis XIV.10 Knowing that he would soon be forced to retrieve some Austrian troops from the east to come to the aid of the western frontier, Leopold was anxious to consolidate a truce with the Turks. But this was no satisfactory explanation for the Magyar nobles, who found themselves once more under Ottoman rule. Many Magyar princes, like the Zrinyi brothers and Thomas de Nadasd, former supporters of the Habsburg Emperor, decided to ignore the truce with the Turks imposed upon them and openly defied the crown’s appeasement policy.

9 Miklos, Molnar: A Concise History of Hungary, 2001. Chap. 3, ‘A country under three
10 Wolf, John: The Emergence of the Great Powers, 1685–1715, New York, 1951. Chap. 2,
‘The World War of 1683–1699’.

By Spring of 1670, the Magyar rebels were ready. They had made dealings with the Turks and counted on their support to openly defy the Austrian crown; protestant preachers in Upper Hungary were even said to have given thanks that the Turks were free and willing to ‘rescue Hungary from its oppression of papist slavery’.11 Leopold had little choice but to answer their call for a military confrontation. The rebel princes should not have trusted the Turks, who were far too concerned about keeping peace with the Austrians to get involved and who did not come to their aid. The rebel princes lost badly, and in April 1671, Nadasd was sentenced to death along with his fellow conspirators. Over 2000 people were imprisoned in Hungary on suspicion of rebellion. All their estates in Hungary, and Croatia were confiscated and systematic attacks sought to eliminate all Protestant chapels from Hungary: long years of harassment and persecution began for the disobedient counties. Political and religious (Protestant) refugees fled to Ottoman-occupied Transylvania and Turkish Hungary.

Whatever the reasons that drove them into exile, these refugees took with them a deep hatred for the Austrians and for any Magyar collaborators. Having very little to live from, the exiles turned to raiding across the frontiers into their own, former, homelands–so torn was Hungary in those years. But a decade later, the guerrilla bands of homeless exiles were forged together once more, under the leadership of a 22 year old young man called Thököly, the handsome, well-educated and well-spoken son of a Calvinist preacher. He was even supported by the Sublime Porte, who saw in this young rebel a powerful tool of insurrection. In 1683, the Sultan launched an assault on Vienna–via Hungary. The Ottoman army was supported by Tartars, the Transylvanian Princes, Thököly and most Hungarians of the region. They besieged Vienna for 60 days. 

A coalition of Christian forces (the Polish, led by King John III Sobieski and the Austrian Imperial army, under the Duke of Lorraine) freed the capital after the day-long battle of Vienna. But the Turks were not yet routed decisively, for King Louis XIV crossed the Rhine and marched into the Holy Roman Empire. From there followed more than a decade of intermittent war with France, which caused a lapse of attention to the Ottoman threat. That lapse allowed the Turks slowly to take control again, capturing Belgrade in 1690. 

The Habsburgs were finally rid of the Turks thanks to the unparalleled, strategic brilliance of young Eugene of Savoy.

11 Spielman, John: Leopold I of Austria, 1977, Chap. 6, ‘The Zrinyi Rebellion and Repression in Hungary’.

Eugene of Savoy and the battle of Zenta

Born in France to Italian Aristocrats, Eugene was raised at the French court of Louis XIV. His mother, Olympia Mancini, had grown up at the Palais Royal herself, along with the then young Louis, and their intimate relationship often made people think they were lovers. When Eugene was a teenager, he decided to embark on a military career, but the Sun King refused the young Eugene permission to serve in the French army, judging his physique too poor and better suited to church service. Around the same time, Olympia Mancini fell out of favour at the French court and rumour had it that she was involved in the unpleasant Affaire des Poisons, a notorious plot against the King’s life. She fled into exile and an embittered Eugene decided to pursue his dream of a military career. He transferred his loyalties from Louis XIV to the service of the Austrian Habsburgs. Leopold I never had a more faithful military commander. 

Eugene had distinguished himself and proved his loyalty to the Austrian Habsburgs at the battle of Vienna; he was then serving under Baden. During the long war with France, Eugene was not frustrated by issues of allegiance and continued to serve the Imperial cause with zeal, even complaining to his Imperial Majesty about his Austrian commander’s (count Caraffa) lack of discipline. Leopold I was extremely impressed with the young man’s loyalty and when Sultan Mustafa II marched on Transylvania in April 1697, Eugene was offered supreme command of the Imperial forces. Abandoning all ideas of a defensive campaign he moved fast to intercept the Turks as they crossed the river Tisza. He launched a surprise attack and the Ottoman troops retreated in confusion to the bridge, access to which became quickly overcrowded. For some 2000 dead and wounded, Eugene inflicted 25,000 casualties on his enemy, annihilating the Turkish army and driving the Ottomans out of the Austrian realm for good. He also captured the army’s treasure and the Harem, and apparently some camels. Eugene had shown his military and strategic genius, as well as his ability to inspire trust and enthusiasm in his soldiers.

Scene at the feet of the Patron of Hungary. Exerpt from Genesis 48: Jospeh brings his sons Manasseh and Ephraim to his Father Jacob.

John of Capistrano’s prophecy

Beneath the Virgin is a peaceful scene, slightly separate from the military action taking place above. A long text which takes up a large portion of the right hand wing of the canvas provides an explanation. The first paragraph, an excerpt from Genesis 48 tells of Jacob’s prophecy about his grandson Ephraim. Joseph has brought his two young sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, to his Father Jacob, so that he might bless them. Jacob unexpectedly places his right hand on the youngest son’s head, Ephraim, not on that of Manasseh, the eldest, as he duly should. Jacob explains his gesture to the angered Joseph with this prophecy: Ephraim will grow up to be a greater person than his elder brother, and so deserves his greater favour.

The second paragraph of the text draws a parallel between the biblical story above and a mirror anecdote, anchored in Hungarian 15th century history: Johan Hunyadi, described as the leader of the Kingdom of Hungary and the ‘Terror Turcarum’ (literally the Terror of the Turks) brings his two young sons, Ladislaus and Matthias to the Franciscan friar John of Capistrano to be blessed. Again, strangely enough, the monk favours the younger son, Matthias, over the elder. He gives Hunyadi this prophecy as an explanation: whereas Ladislaus will be ‘snatched away by an untimely death’, Matthias will grow to challenge Alexander the Great in virtue and accomplishments. This explains the haloed friar’s crossed hands as he blesses two children to the left of the scene and the Hungarian military accoutrements of the father and children.

A brief historical introduction will bring some clarification. John Hunyadi, a great Hungarian general, led a crusade against the Turks at the siege of Belgrade in 1456, alongside the Franciscan friar John of Capistrano, known as the ‘Soldier Saint’. The latter was in his 71st year. Johan Hunyadi’s eldest son Ladislaus died in childhood and Matthias was crowned king in his place, in 1458, at the age of 14. He ruled over Hungary and Croatia until his death in 1490. Again, this story points again to the joint Croatian and Hungarian heritage that Adam de Batthyany is keen to emphasise, and secondly, to his strong relationship with the Franciscan church, adding weight to the theory that these oils were probably sponsored by him in Güssing. The parallel with the biblical story, on the other hand, clearly confers a divine and fated element on Matthias’ reign as well as on Hungary’s victory over the Ottomans at Zenta.

Latin text accompanying the scene

Latin translation
Joseph brought his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, to his Father Jacob so he may bless them, and Jacob rested his left hand on Manasseh the older son and placed him to the right hand of the fatherland, and rested his right hand on the head of Ephraim the younger son and placed him to the left of the fatherland; but his left hand was on the head of Manasseh. When Joseph saw that his Father had his right hand on the head of Ephraim he was displeased and said to his Father: this will not do, this one was first born, so place your right hand upon his head. The Father shaking his head replied: know my son, I know, but although he will rejoin our people, his brother, lesser in age will grow to be a greater person. In the Sacred text Genesis 48. 

In the memory of our Leader Johannes Hunyadi, who held sway over the Kingdom of Hungary, and was the greatest fear of the Turks. Hunyadi came to the saintly Father John of Capistrano, of the Religious order of the Seraphici, a General in the Hungarian army and a cross-bearer during the war, so that he may bless his two sons, famous Laudislaus and Mathias. He came and placed the elder son, Laudislaus, to the right of the Saintly Father, and his younger son Mathias to his left. Seeing this the Sacred Father switched them around and placed his right hand upon the head of Mathias, the younger of the two, and his left hand upon the head of Laudislaus the elder son. Johannes Hunyadi was astonished and asked him why he was doing this. The Saintly Father answered that Ladislaus would be snatched away from the Kingdol of Hungary by an untimely death, and would not be able to serve the kingdom for long. Mathias on the other hand, would rival in virtue and glory with Alexander the Great, ad would soon teach all to be astounded by his accomplishments. So he did well.

1697 Hungarian Oil

Central scene on the second oil: the virgin appears to Saint Athony of Padua of the Franciscan order.
Close-up opposite, he is recognisable for his attributes: the lilies and the franciscan brown robes.
On top of crucifix with bleeding heart: INRI : Jesus Nasarenus Rex Judaeorum.

Latin: Et habebat Angelus Mensuram ArundineamAuream. Apoczt.

Translation: And the angel handed over to him the golden rod.

Anthony of Padua and Thomas de Nadasd

The Virgin Mary is once again central to the scene in the 1697 oil. She appears to Saint Anthony of Padua to give him two attributes, the Lily flower and what is described as ‘a golden rod’ (or reed), and to bless his religious order, that of the Franciscans; Saint Anthony is dressed accordingly in the brown robes and rope-belt of the order. An angel that has appeared at the shoulder of the Saint hands over the attributes to him, and the caption, a quotation from St John’s Apocalypse, reads ‘and the angel gave him the golden reed’.12 The text to the far left, inscribed on an elaborately decorated cartouche, relates the story represented on the canvas and explains that after the apparition Saint Anthony spread the word to his people (presumably the followers of the Franciscan order is meant) that they had the Virgin’s favour and love. The picture is dominated by the bleeding heart of Jesus, adorned with a golden crown and transfixed by a sword on which Jesus is crucified. Above his crown of thorns are painted the initials I. N. R. I., which stand for Jesus Nasarenus Rex Judaeorum (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews). 

Although very different in theme and atmosphere from the 1698 piece, the oil presents also some striking similarities, which suggest that the two were made as a pair and that this more peaceful and religious work is a counterpart and complement to the more political and military. In both, the Virgin is central to the scene and in both assures the people of her support, love and favour (to the Hungarian and Slavic cause in the first, to the Franciscan order in the second). Then, prominence is given to the Franciscan order, with the blessing by the Franciscan Friar, John of Capistrano, of Hunyadi’s two sons in the 1698 oil, and Saint Anthony’s central importance in the 1697 piece. That oil goes further and assures Mary’s special favour for the religious order. Historically, the Batthyany family’s strong link to the Franciscans (Adam of Batthyany, the commissioner of the oils, had a Franciscan monastery built in his home town), can explain this emphasis. Finally, the huge bleeding heart of Jesus that dominates this second scene is echoed in the later oil by the Pelican’s piercing of its own breast to feed its young, a symbol of Jesus’ sacrifice for humankind. 

The signatures, too, are executed in the same manner, with the twice-repeated contraction Comes Doñus Doñus for ‘Comes Dominus’ (the Count and master), and the phrase ‘Fieri Curavit’ (had this made). Both Adam Batthyany and Thomas de Nadasd were rebel princes with affiliations in Croatia and in Hungary. Thomas de Ndasd was killed by the Imeprial troops when he attempted insurrection against Habsburg rule in 1671, over twenty-five years before the oil was commissioned. We may conclude therefore, that Adam Batthyany or a descendant of Thomas de Nadasd (perhaps with the same name) commissioned the oil in his honour and signed his name in his memory. Beneath the dedication, in the very far right bottom corner of the canvas is a second ‘signature’: the splendid Nadasd coat of arms, a white-collared black duck, flanked by two bulrushes.

12 ‘Et habebat Angelus Arundineam Mensuram auream. Apoc. 21

Text to the far left, describing the central scene

Translation of the Latin
The pure and sacred Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Anthony of Padua, of the religious order of Saint Francis. She said to him: Anthony, these are banners, that I myself have carried up to this day in my heart. My dearest son Jesus Christ, who was crucified for the whole of humankind, kept these banners in his home, and this very home was saved from all fires and plagues and was free of demons. Saint Anthony spread the word among the faithful, that the Virgin Mother Mary from Padua had appeared to him, and in this one appearance had assured them of her sacred love blessed him with the religious order.

Signature of the oil, bottom right, to the left of the coat of arms

Translation of the Latin
Our most glorious master, glorious Count Thomas of Nadasd, from the long line of the Forgaras, golden kight of the sacred Kingdom, Keeper of the Coucil of Mattis. He took the care to commission this in 1697

Coat of arms of Thomas de Nadasd, far right bottom corner, as a second signature, a white-collared black duck flanked by two bull-rushes

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