Archive for November, 2007

Lotz was one of the greatest Hungarian academic painters in the style of Historicism. He started his studies at the Viennese private school of Karl Rahl in 1852; later he worked for Rahl by drawing his preliminary cartoons. Between 1855 and 1870 Lotz painted his panneaux in a characteristically romantic style. The female portraits and nudes painted between 1855 and 1879 show the stylistic traits of lyrical realism and fine naturalism.Lotz was one of the most popular mural painters of this time. His murals were always in harmony with the style of the building they were designed for. The frieze compositions decorating the staircases of the Hungarian National Museum and the frescos in the Budapest Vigadó (Casino) – both done jointly with Mór Than -, the ceiling of the Opera’s auditorium, and the murals in the House of Parliament are among his best-known works. – http://hungart.euroweb.hu/english/l/lotz/

The paintings entitled “The Bathing Woman” was one of the well known works by Lotz.

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Taking a walk around the roads (útca) in Pest (eastern) side of Budapest can really be a very interesting experience even by art’s history point of view. In fact, who is fascinated by art, specially if related to the turn of the century architecture and sculpture, would be difficult not to regard at the large amount of interesting residential houses, former commercial buildings (arhuaz), often now converted into apartments and lofts, as well as former spa and government buildings.

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These buildings are mainly styled with artistic modalities known with different names throughout Europe and America: jugendstil in Germany, art nouveau in Belgium, France and United Kingdom and United States, Liberty in northern Italy, Secession in Austria and finally, here, in Hungary with the term of Szecesszió.

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This article concerns the works by two hungarian secession architects whose buildings are at the same time very original but maybe not so known: Sámuel Révész és Jószef Kollár. Their buildings facade are full of symbolic elements, while the wholesome design of the projects contains, often, a remarkable quote from the ancient tradition of italian Gothic style.

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Situated just outside the inner cit, on Pest side, including the famous (even by turistic point of view) Margareth Island, the XIII district present very interesting secessionist buildings, in particular in the zones around the Nyugati rail station.

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First of all a service information: we are now reachable also using our hungarian domain, at the address http://www.secession.hu ! You haven’t more excuse not to keep in mind the not-so-english-compliant spelling of the hungarian word “szecesszio”. Just remember “secession” (very understandable in german and in english language) and paste the hungarian suffix “.hu”. that’s all folks !

John Lukacs’s “Budapest 1900: A Historical Portrait of a City and Its Culture” is perhaps one of the most read book concerning the social history of Budapest at the turn of the century. Lukacs, an american historian, obviously hungarian by origin, knows to catch the reader attention using an essayst style that’s close to novelist’s:

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“Lukacs’s book is a lyrical, sometimes dazzling, never merely nostalgic evocation of a glorious period in the city’s history. . . . {His} true sympathy lies . . . not with the famous expatriates, but with the writers and intellectuals who lived and died at home: the poets Endre Ady and Mihaly Babits; the novelists Ferenc Herczeg, Sandor Hunyady, Frigyes Karinthy, Dezso Kosztolanyi, Gyula Krudy, Kalman Mikszath, and Zsigmond Moricz; the political essayist DezsoSzabo; the playwright Erno Szep; the literary historian Antal Szerb; and others. . . . {John Lukacs} sets out to explain Hungarian literature to English-speaking readers. Though I have no idea whether or not he will succeed, few interpreters of Hungarian literature have made a more touching and eloquent attempt.” — The New York Review of Books

However, when I first read the book, I wasn’t impressed only by the content of the book tiself. In my opinion, what’s also cathing eye on that book was the photo on the cover. It represents the terrace of a well known coffe-house at the turn of the century, in Andrassy utca, just in front of the Opera, in the VIth district. Nowaday the coffe-shop doesn’t exist no more and the building itself is on reconstruction. I tried to take a picture exactly in the same position of the original 1900′s photo.

The Lukacs essay’s cover picture on the very left, while on the right is the same view at the present date:

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People simply disappear with an effect not so far by those used in tv-series such as C.S.I., isn’t ?

Dante Alighieri’s “Divina Commedia” is one of the (if not simply “the”) most famous piece of italian literature. According to wikipedia:

 

The Divine Comedy describes Dante’s journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio), and Paradise (Paradiso), guided first by the Roman epic poet Virgil and then by Beatrice, the subject of his love and another of his works, La Vita Nuova. While the vision of Hell, the Inferno, is vivid for modern readers, the theological niceties presented in the other books require a certain amount of patience and knowledge to appreciate. Purgatorio, the most lyrical and human of the three, also has the most poets in it; Paradiso, the most heavily theological, has the most beautiful and ecstatic mystic passages in which Dante tries to describe what he confesses he is unable to convey (e.g., when Dante looks into the face of God: “all’alta fantasia qui mancò possa” – “at this high moment, ability failed my capacity to describe,” Paradiso, XXXIII, 142).

Dante wrote the Comedy in a new language he called “Italian”, based on the regional dialects of Tuscany, Sicilian and some elements of Latin and other regional dialects. By creating a poem of epic structure and philosophic purpose, he established that the Italian language was suitable for the highest sort of expression. In French, Italian is nicknamed la langue de Dante.

In this article I describe my own copy of a very special hungarian translation performed by the famous poet Mihaly Babits (author of works such as Leaves from the Garland of Iris [Levelek Irisz koszorújából], 1908; But Prince, if Winter Should Come [Herceg, hátha megjön a tél is], 1911; Recitativ,[Recitative] 1916; Island and Sea [Sziget és tenger], 1925; and In Race With the Years [Versenyt az esztendôkkel], 1928; The Book of Jonah [Jónás könyve] 1941) and illustrated by the hungarian secession artist Zádor István.

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“This fight is, on the contrary, even if irrelevant until now,
the first rumor of a great worldwide transformation”

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Endre Ady
“A Szecesszio”
in “Debreceni Hirlap”, 19 april 1899

“As far as moral traditions are concerned, England was death yet at the end of the XIX century.
The economic power, in the hands of few groups, became despotic and authoritarian: it stifled the people’s energies and lowered the industrial initiative. Mercenary wars and their countermeasures divided the nation. An old queen hadn’t no court more, there wasn’t no more a land aristocracy, because the land itself was ruined and exhausted. A God only was worshiped: the Golden Calf, and only its prophets ruled. Scandals multiplied; luxury and corruption are mixed with social hypocrisy. Shortly speaking: civilization accomplished its own goal with individual oppression. The Englishmen – those virile race – degenerated melting with customs of the barbarians once submitted. As a consequence, with the saddest of the perspectives, the British Empire turned the Century.”

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Csigany, Ady’s portrait

B. Bokros, Ady

Beck O Fulop, Ady

J. Rona, Ady’s memorial statue

Was a writer with the deepest sight who, impersonating an imaginary Gibbon of the next Century, in those way predicted the future of the British people on “Blackwood Magazine” monthly magazine. And sinister and desolating was its vision. So obscure because the present time can conceive a future like that. That’s not only the England’s future: it’s everyone’s, so our future, too.

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Ady’s statue at Ferenc Liszt ter

S. Nagy, illustration for Ady’s Uj Versek

E. Falus, illustration for Ady’s Uj Versek

Ady’s photo portrait

“Today’s civilization oppresses individuality” says the next century Gibbon. And he’s right: it’s the truth which every hearth can feel, even if only the few dare pronounce it. [...]
This truth is the main problem of our time. The social reforms, until now inevitable, must proceed from this principle: even because individuality hasn’t to be oppressed any more!
History witnesses that the most bloody transformations consequence from the individual will of freedom. Not yet with arms, but the fight of the oppressed just began! [...]
This fight now is at an higher level, in the arts and literature. Supporters of ancient borders deride the apostles, misunderstood their aspirations and, even more, the reasons of those aspirations. Masses consider this fight as a fashion attitude: This fight is, on the contrary, even if irrelevant until now, the first rumor of a great worldwide transformation.
Don’t mind about Secession You, puppet of the borders! Revolution is needed and revolution needs mens, let alone the footstools.
The Gibbon of the next century will regard at our time from a world transformed by the Secession.

Endre Ady
translated into english by Mattia Moretti

It’s not really a style, strictly speaking, nor an artistic school or movement. It’s, perhaps, a philosophical more than artistic way to describe the obscure forces of an evil Nature, to use the symbolic element in order to let the spectator regard at the incubus and demonic vision of the author.

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One of the most influent artist who tried to give a representation of his demonic visions was the austrian Alfred Kubin. In the rest of this article you will able to find out a confrontation between some works of Kubin (mainly from my own copy of the famous album entitled ” Hans von Weber mappe” for the editor Spangmberg) and other works by hungarian artists such as Sazndor Nagy, Aladar Körösfői-Kriesch, Emil Sarkady, Lajos Gulacsy, Mednyánszky László.

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Ligeti Miklós, one of the most famous Hungarian sculptor who was able to propose an autonomous and very particular style.

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