Artibus et Historiae no. 60 (XXX)

2009, ISSN 0391-9064

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PAVEL KALINA - European Diplomacy, Family Strategies, and the Origins of Renaissance Architecture in Central and Eastern Europe

The diffusion of Renaissance forms in Central and Eastern Europe was enabled by varied factors. One of them was the development of early modern diplomacy with its system of permanent residents who were able to report about all important aspects of individual local powers, including their representation through art and architecture. This web of reports, in combination with the new visual media and humanist education, enabled the emergence of a 'global' visual language.

Further, the use of new architectural forms and typologies could be a result of strictly political considerations. For Matthias Corvinus, their application resulted from his effort to legitimize his power and to show himself as the proper Emperor. For Ivan III, the invitation of Italian masters was probably dictated by his will to represent different traditions in order to express the universal claims of the ascending power of the Muscovite state. The seat of Vladislav Jagiello in Prague was rebuilt in Renaissance forms after reaching a political appeasement between the king and the Pope. Similarly, the proper reason why the Renaissance was not long accepted by the Jagiellonian court in Cracow could be its strong association both with the personality of Matthias Corvinus and with the Papal curia, whose diplomatic activities were rather hostile towards the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at that time.

Thus, the arrival of Renaissance in the Central and Eastern Europe seems to be rather a result of political calculations based on the needs of dynastic representation than an automatic process.

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