Born in Cluj, Matei Corvin was the second son of the Romanian prince Iancu de Hunedoara, former king of Hungary, and Elisabeta Szilagy. The name “Corvin” derives from his heraldinc bearings displaying a raven (corvus, Latin). Matei Corvin ruled Hungary from 1458, when he became king at the age of 15, to 1490 and was known as a reputed fighter against the Ottomans.
The statue was designed by Janos Fadrusz, whose art work won the Great prize at the 1900 Paris World Exhibition. Unveiled in 1902, it was inaugurated as the statue of “Mathias, King of Hungary”. At the end of the WWII, after Romania's liberation, the name of the statue was changed to “Mathias Rex” (“King Matei Corvin”), as historian Constantin Daicoviciu renamed it.