The Holy Crown of Hungary is one of the oldest remaining intact crowns in Europe. It is a symbol of Hungarian statehood and has been the subject of scientific research for centuries. Dozens of Hungarian and foreign experts have studied its structure, its parallels in art history, as well as the story of the object itself. The crown has become a prominent part of the career of textile artist Éva Nagy. It was she who created the velvet cushion that the crown was placed on in the Domed Hall of the Parliament building. Her initial interest steadily grew into a total of 21 years of research. In the resulting 260-page book Örökség (“Heritage”) she seeks an answer to the question of what the Holy Crown of Hungary communicates to us today.
The principal motivation for her reflections has been the discovery of the secret symbolism of the coronation insignia. In her view, the Holy Crown is a work of art that symbolically represents the universe in miniature, synthesizing culture, science, art, and divine law. Its main value, apart from its historical function and sacrality, lies in the possibility of knowing and being one with the world and Christ. It is not just an object, it is a symbol of the spirituality of our ancestors.
In the course of her research, she discovered that the apostles and wise men featured in the enamel paintings are communicating with their hands in a secret sign language, and the inscriptions alongside them are made up of abbreviations and fragments of words. As such they are ambiguous and open to multiple interpretations. They also form an acronym that can be interpreted in a variety of ways. In this way, she has moved from the study of the seemingly decorative elements of the crown to that of a symbolic system of fragments of words in foreign languages. She has uncovered an old-new language based on a ‘letter stair’, which became a decisive element in the design of the page layout and typography, set in Neue Haas Grotesk (headlines use Arachne). The book is divided into two parts, the subsections within those parts are articulated into golden pages for the reader. Although Éva’s research was at first a pastime, she now sees her hypotheses as more thought-provoking. For her book, she has created artistic drawings, graphics, and paintings to help us learn more about the Holy Crown of Hungary and discover our heritage.