The very goal of the Lechner’s work was not exactly the development of the art nouveau style in Hungary.No doubt that the Lechner style was influencing as far the development of a national way to the art fin-de-siècle is concerned. But this influence was a corollary beside the Lechner’s goal to define a real Hungarian formal artistic language.
A very interesting evidence of these researches, is the so called Blue Church in Bratislava, actually capital city of the Republic of Slovakia but at the time (1907) of the church building, part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.
The Church of St. Elisabeth (Slovak: Kostol svätej Alžbety, Hungarian: Szent Erzsébet templom), commonly known as Blue Church (Modrý kostolík, Kék templom), is an Hungarian Secessionist (Jugendstil) Catholic church located in the eastern part of the Old Town in Bratislava, Slovakia. It is consecrated to Elisabeth of Hungary, daughter of Andrew II, who grew up in the Pressburg Castle (pozsonyi vár). It is called "Blue Church" because of the colour of its façade, mosaics, majolicas and blue-glazed roof.
The structure of this catholic church is a single nave architecture solution. Beside the church itself is also present a grammar school, work of Lechner, with the typical lines and rounded forms characteristic of the Lechner’s own style:
This building is actually under reconstruction: if the façade is completed yet (see pictures above), the courtyard is being reconstructed nowadays:
Back to the church, it is characterized by a tall 36.8 meter high cylindrical church tower. At first, a cupola was planned, but was never constructed; instead, a barrel vault was built, topped by a hip roof. The roof is covered with glazed bricks with decoration, for the purpose of parting. The church was originally painted with pastel pale yellow color and, at a later time, painted in the nowadays famous blue/pale blue color. A recent restoration of the building charged more the blue tones:
The entire façade as well as the tower is decorated by geometric and linear stylized elements. The lines of the small windows and portals are also designed with curve lines:
Quite interesting the church represents something unique in the development of Lechner’s own style. The geometric Hungarian patterns which heavily characterized about the totality of previous Lechner works were, in the Bratislava church, noticeably mitigated; the floral decorations are completely absent here; the traditional Lechner lines of the roof is in case of the St. Elisabeth Church realized in a smother way, lines and curves being much more morbid than in other building of the architect, with rounded structural elements on the façade which contribute to a general curvilinear and morbid aesthetic feelings.
Oriental and Hungarian traditional artistic patterns, which constitute one of the very typical aspect of Lechner’s own aesthetic, in this building were mitigated by typical rounded lines which are characteristic of the European Art Nouveau. Linear ornament characterizes every part of the building, instead of Lechner’s classic This is probably the most Art nouveau styled work of Lechner.
The interior is richly decorated with altarpieces. On the altar there is an illustration of St. Elisabeth, depicted giving out abilities to the beggars and poor. On the top of the main entrance door there is a mosaic, too, painted in the typical style of Gödöllő school.