In the course of the renovation of the buildings in the Veszprém Castle Quarter, frescoes dating back to the 19th century and the works of the elder and younger Franz Xaver Bucher were discovered. One of the paintings depicts the Evangelist Luke, while the other portrays an Austrian soldier, as stated in the Monday announcement issued by the company carrying out the investment.
According to the announcement, during the restoration of the castle, the painting of Evangelist Luke was found in the St Emeric Church, while the figure of the Austrian soldier was discovered in the Tejfalusy House, which previously functioned as a canonry.
In the St Emeric Church, the discovered painting portrays a man working on a painting in front of him, holding a brush in his hand. During the preparation of the monument restoration works, the outline of the figure scratched into the moist, soft plaster layer becomes clearly visible, although only the head of the emerging figure can be seen through the opened research window. ‘Historical tradition holds that the Evangelist Luke was a painter, he painted the first portraits of the Virgin Mary, and the painting of Mary in the Roman Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica is also attributed to him. Based on all this, it seems very likely that the fresco unearthed in the St Emeric Church depicts Luke,’ the press statement quoted Veronika Nagy, curator of the Work in Progress programme.
The fresco is the work of the younger Franz Xaver Bucher, a painter of South German origin who was born in Hungary. Although the murals in the St Eemeric Church were completed by 1840, Bucher’s works reflect much more the characteristics of an earlier period, the baroque style, which was highly influential in church painting. However, the colours and some details of the fresco also evoke the more refined world of classicism. In 1901, a new layer of paint was applied over Bucher’s work, attributed to Antal Szirmai, and restoration work is currently underway by restorers. The upper layer covering the Evangelist Luke has been removed, and this detail will be transferred to the museum. The other artwork is the creation of the elder Franz Xaver Bucher, also of South German origin, who later settled in Transdanubia and played a significant role in Hungarian church painting. During the restoration works, the figure of a soldier guarding the nightly peace of the canon in the mysterious, dark staircase of the Tejfalusy House emerged.
The Tejfalusy House served as the accommodation for canons belonging to the Veszprém chapter. On the ground floor of the former canonry, there was a kitchen with an open fireplace, a cellar entrance, and chambers for storing wines and crops, as well as accommodation for the staff. The canon lived on the upper floor, where unauthorized persons were forbidden to go. The night peace of the superior could have been guarded by the lifelike Austrian imperial soldier standing in the staircase, the announcement states. According to the announcement, last year, restoration or internal works were carried out in 13 of the 18 buildings involved in the Veszprém Castle Quarter investment.
Similar to last year, there will be an opportunity to visit the ongoing renovation at events of the Work in Progress programme. According to the plans, visitors will be welcome in the Veszprém Castle Quarter every weekend from February between 10am and 6pm, and from March, from Tuesday to Friday between 5pm and 7pm, concludes the announcement.
Sources: Hungarian Conservative/MTI