UNKNOWN RENAISSANCE MASTER, sculptor
Funeral Monument to János Rueber of Pisendorf1580-1600
Marble, height: 185 cm
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest
From 1568 to the year his death in 1584, János Rueber held the official title of "Captain-General of Upper Hungary", which was simplified to "Captain of Kassa" after the name of the town from which he administered his territory. In several counties of the royal territory of Hungary, from the mining town to the upper reaches of the Tisza, he was the highest ranking representative and the commander of the armed forces of the monarch then residing in distant Vienna, yet he was a devout Protestant. This was still possible in the troubled and constantly changing in Hungary in the sixteenth century; but after Rueber's death the Habsburgs took good care to appoint only Catholics to such important posts. In those days St. Elisabeth's Church in Kassa was in Protestant hands; thus the fervid protector of the new faith was buried is one of its dignified side-chapels belonging to the Szathmári family and today forming the prebendal sacristy.
The sepulchre has not survived in its entirety. It was demolished in 1733 and only the main figure was preserved. It must have been a large wall structure with a niche, the archetype of the sepulchral monument most often commissioned by members of the Hungarian nobility at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Medieval sepulchres usually took the form of a stone effigy of the deceased lying on the sarcophagus or death-bed, or maybe kneeling in prayer a waiting the Last Judgement, but this statue from János Rueber's sarcophagus is in the typical style of the Renaissance. A statue of the deceased serves as his own memorial - an upright and dignified figure in full armour, one hand resting on his helmet and gauntlets, the other holding out his commander's staff.
Rueber's nationality is truly reflected in the style, which is in the Austrian-South German Renaissance manner. The stone monuments which have come down to us from one or two generations earlier tended mainly toward the Italianate but with the advance of the sixteenth century the Renaissance style, filtered through the German taste, reached Hungary.
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