International Gothic: Art and Culture in Medieval England and Hungary c. 1400

International Gothic: Art and Culture in Medieval England and Hungary c. 1400

By M. R. Palmer

Eger Journal of English Studies, Vol.7 (2007)

Abstract: As has already been stated, the points at which English and Hungarian culture met during the Middle Ages were infrequent and indirect. In this essay we would like to investigate this theme further by drawing attention to a conjuncture in European political and cultural history in the period c. 1400, when the ruling monarchs of England and Hungary were related by marriage: Anne of Bohemia (b.1366-d.1394), the wife of Richard II of England (b.1365- d.1400), being the younger sister of Sigismund of Luxemburg, King of Hungary (b.1368-d.1437). Anne and Sigismund sat on their respective thrones concurrently from 1387 to 1394. As we shall explain, the period c. 1400 is something art historians associate with the concept of “International Gothic”, an artistic phenomenon whereby European art adhered to shared values. These values were so homogeneous within courtly circles as to make the task of attribution according to nation sometimes precarious and potentially counterproductive. By using the notion of “International Gothic” as our frame of reference we will seek to consider the degree to which the dynastic marriages described above touched the cultures of England and Hungary, and whether there was indeed any intercultural contact between the two kingdoms.

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