Sárvár is a key place of Hungarian arts history as this was the place where the translation of the New Testimony, the first work to be entirely published in Hungarian, was printed.
The central element of the exhibition is thus the reconstruction of a press, made according to descriptions and paintings of old.
The establishment of the technical background of book-printing can be linked to Guttenberg, whose invention changed our world. The gist of the invention was not the printing machine itself, but the movable letters, with the help of which one could make new prints after each printing.
All members of the Nádasdy-family were keen art lovers as it was expected from the noblemen at that time. Apart from the press in Sárvár, there were temporary printing houses operating at Csepreg and Pottendorf on the Nádasdy-estates. The representative book presenting Hungarian kings and sovereigns published 1664 with copper engravings from financial donations of the Palatine Ferenc Nádasdy, which became immediately popular. Its success is shown by the fact that it was made using the sovereigns portraits depicted in the 18th century reprint of Gáspár Heltai’s “Chronicle about the notions of Hungarians” (1575), the Mausoleum. Péter Révay’s work on the crowning of Hungarian kings was also published from donations of the Judge Royal. Péter Révay was the grandfather of Ferenc Nádasdy III. The image of the crown on the cover of his work can also be seen on the frescoes of the ceiling. The exterior design of the book speaks of the buyer’s taste as the works leave the printing house in a raw, unbound form. The proud owner of the work ordered the binding in the town, where the printing house worked. Our exhibition features the varied binding techniques of the era.
We are very proud that our guests can see the first published copy of the Turkish letters by Kelemen Mikes, published 1794 in Szombathely. The Rerum Hungaricum Scriptores published 1600 inFrankfurt is yet another interesting piece of art. The relevance of this work is shown by the fact that it features the biographies of beatified Hungarian Kings, but also historic works of János Thuróczy, János Küküllei and Rogerius about Hungary.
The exhibition also features the coloured copper engravings of Georg Houfnagel, with the help of which spectators could see the external image of several Hungarian towns from the end of the 16th century. The engraving showing the Sky was inspired by contemporary battles in Hungary. The sheet showing the town of Győr catches the eye not only by a well-drawn composition (playing with horizons) but also with the emphasised scenes of the front, where characteristic military figures can be seen. The success of individual engravings is shown by the fact that we not only find them in several books after their being published but also fine artists use them. The historic work of Hieronymus Ortelius published 1602 in Nuremburg. This bestseller which is used as a reference today features the copper engravings of Johann Siebmacher from Nuremburg and helps us imagine the events and skirmishes described in the book. The illustrations can also be seen on the ceiling frescoes of the Nádasdy castle, as the castle depictions can also be found on the engravings in the work of Ortelius. The development of printing technologies brought along the boom of cartography and the situation of the Kingdom of Hungary increased the need for the country to be known geographically. One of the sources of map sheets published in Europe is the map of Hungary by János Zsámboky the famous humanist living in Vienna and working as the royal doctor.