pdfVolume 1 Issue 1-2 CONTENTS

Ágnes Flóra

Symbols, Virtues, Representation. The Early Modern Town Hall of Kolozsvár as a Medium of Display for Municipal Government


A town hall, the most important public asset of the urban community, was at the same time the house of the community, the site of gatherings, and the symbol of town autonomy and privileges in the early modern period. As part of the humanist rediscovery of the antique tradition, a new wave of town hall constructions and renovations began in the second half of the sixteenth century in Transylvania. This essay seeks to determine how the new morality accompanying the Reformation influenced municipal leadership, and how the municipal elite projected its own image in the exterior and interior spaces of the town hall. This kind of civic ostentation, or, as the Protestant preacher Gáspár Heltai put it, “exhibitionism,” may also be ascribed to the emergence and development of early modern civic awareness.

“…the town is like a great house, and a house is like a little town…”
(Leon Battista Alberti: De re aedificatoria. Libr. I. 9.)