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THE SLOVAK NATIONAL MUSEUM'S REGULAR SPECTATOR COLUMN

Aristocratic dining: Andrassy style

TRACING history through a study of eating habits and tableware can provide valuable insight into the everyday life of our forefathers. Visitors to Bratislava Castle now have an opportunity to go back in time and taste the atmosphere of everyday life in the aristocratic Adrassy family as they sat down to eat between the 17th and 20th centuries.

Tableware at Bratislava Castle used to be at the highest level.
photo: Courtesy of SNM

TRACING history through a study of eating habits and tableware can provide valuable insight into the everyday life of our forefathers. Visitors to Bratislava Castle now have an opportunity to go back in time and taste the atmosphere of everyday life in the aristocratic Adrassy family as they sat down to eat between the 17th and 20th centuries.

An exhibition entitled Aristocratic Banquet of the Andrassy Family shows an important sphere of everyday life in an aristocratic family: their dining habits and traditions. Tableware made from various materials, including glass, china, stoneware, faience (earthenware), tin and silver from Central Europe, Germany and The Netherlands, is on display.

Valuable works by Hutterite masters are also part of the exhibition. All exhibits come from the collection of the Museum Betliar at the Slovak National Museum.

The display has already enjoyed success in Slovakia and abroad. However, hosting the exhibition at this castle has particular significance. Bratislava Castle was a royal castle and the seat of the governor, a district administrator. During the times of its biggest fame - between the 16th and 18th centuries - setting table here was at the highest level, with banquets to celebrate the coronations of Hungarian kings and queens, sessions of the Hungarian Diet, and other important events.

The exhibition also recalls this special period of history, which has left almost no authentic trace since a blaze at the castle in 1811. By using a bit of imagination, visitors to the exhibition can feel a waft of the atmosphere of the golden period of the castle, when it served as the seat of Hungarian governor Albert and his wife Marie Christine, the daughter of Maria Theresa, and when it vibrated with intense social life.

Another undoubtedly impor-tant dimension of the exhibition is the presentation of a colourful palette of top European and domestic centres that produced mostly luxury tableware. The styles, shapes and artistic mastery of the exhibits are to be enjoyed, and add to the sum of our historical knowledge.

The exhibition at the Museum of History of the Slovak National Museum (SNM) at Bratislava Castle is open until March 31, 2006.

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