William Blake

The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun

William Blake was born in 1757 in London, England. He is mostly known as a poet, painter and printmaker.

During his lifetime he was unrecognised although nowadays Blake is considered as a crucial figure in the history of poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age.

William Blake was mostly impressed by the contemporary (French and American) revolutions, but the most important impression in his art was the presence of the Holy Bible. His views and opinions about life were constatntly changing during his lifetime and it makes him really hard to classify.

He was a child of a family of dissenters (members of other church) who thought to be members of the Moravian Church. This is the reason why Blake depreciated the Church of England and created his own religious world and views.

Blake attended school only as long as he learned the basic skills (reading, writing, counting), after it he was educated at home by his mother, Catherine Wright Armitage Blake. As a consequence, he soon came into contact with the Holy Bible which made a great impression on him and accompanied his art during his lifetime.

At the beginnings of his visual art career he created engravings and he was influenced by the works of the greatest renaissance artists such as Raphael and Michelangelo. Due to his vehement temper his parents did not force him to continue his studies so he started having art lessons. Later he was trained to be a professional engraver by James Baiser. During these years Blake’s poetry and visual arts were flourishing. He further developed engraving into relief etching.

Blake continued his studies in 1779 at the Royal Academy, then he married an illiterate woman, Catherine Boucher in 1782. His wife made another great impression on Blake’s art since she had really good ideas in colouring Blake’s engravings.

In 1800, Blake moved to Felpham (Sussex) where he started illustrating a minor poet William Hayley’s works. When returning in London in 1804, he had illustrating experiences and he started writing and illustrating his most ambitious work, the Jerusalem. It took many years for him to finish, and besides creating Jerusalem, Blake was commissioned to create over a hundred illustrations from the Holy Bible (1805-1810). Among these illustrations we can find a four-cycle painting, the so-called Red Dragon paintings. These are illustrations from the Book of Revelation.

Among the four paintings, The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun depicts the attack of a huge dragon on a pregnant, fragile woman. According to the most common interpretations, the dragon on the picture definitely embodies Satan, while the woman is equal with Israel and the child with Jesus Christ.

The dragon itself is depicted as being ready to kill the child of a pregnant woman, according to the Book of Revelation, 12. The whole painting is dominated by tension. It is expressed by the setting of the characters, their posture, and the colours of the painting. The muscular and magnificient shape of the dragon is placed in the middle of the painting, while the fragile, unsheltered woman is placed on the bottom of the painting, creating the superior-inferior relationship between the characters. It creates a sharp contrast, which is even more intensified by their posture: the dragon’s wings are spread which makes him even more huge and scary, while the woman is lying on the ground. We can see fear and despair on her face. She is praying and looking towards the direction of God in order to get salvation from the evil. The third ’method’, the use of colours makes the contrast even more obvious: the dragon’s dark colours, mostly ocher, black, brown and grey symbolize the colours of Hell. Moreover, the dragon’s meticulous, detailed shape creates contrast with the light, almost pale shape of the woman. Her character symbolizes the good, thus, heaven, and God himself.

Last but not least, it is important to notice that the dragon can be seen from the back. It might suggest that his character is so scary that it is better for us not to see his face.

The reason why I chose this painting is the effect it had on me. I first saw it in a movie based on Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon. It was scary but beautiful at the same time. I was fascinated by the painting, its mood, colours, the niggling characters, everything. However, anatomically it has room for improvement, for me, imperfection is perfection and this makes the painting a glorious masterpiece. Soós Gabriella


Thomas Harris – Red Dragon (1981)

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Salvador Dalí

The Sacrament of the Last Supper, 1955

Oil on canvas, 166.7 × 267 cm

Unveiled in 1956 in the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.


Salvador Dalí was one of the best and most well-known Surrealist artists. He was born in the Catalan region of Spain at the beginning of the 20th century, and his career reached its peak between and after the World Wars. He applied photographic realism to depict the exaggeration and juxtaposition of the unusual scenery and matter. His dreams, together with his emotions, appeared on his works, lending an extraordinary atmosphere to them. Having returned to the Catholic faith in around 1950, Dalí simultaneously broke up with the Surrealist movement and decided to become a classical. At that time, the Renaissance masters, such as Raphael and Da Vinci, had an enormous influence on him regarding his painterly skills.

The Sacrament of the Last Supper was completed during Dalí's post-World War II era. That period was characterised by the expansion of his interest in science, optical illusion and religion as well. He gradually became a more and more devout Catholic, and, at the same time, he was astonished by the achievements of the Atomic Age. Nevertheless, in his pieces of art he combined the traditional Christian symbolism with the images of disillusionment with his time. All of these features can be bracketed under the term "Nuclear Mysticism" invented by Dalí himself. Interestingly enough, this particular painting was not commissioned, but Dalí started to paint it on the advice of banker and collector Chester Dale, who requested the painter to "do one more religious picture".

Concerning the painting, there is an inevitable and also conspicuous fact, namely that Christ's place is precisely at the centre of the painting. Besides, the source of light originating from behind Christ makes the metaphoric image complete, emphasising his divine nature. His hand gestures are equally important – the left hand is turned toward himself, while his right directs upward to the giant torso, which may belong to the Father. On closer inspection, the art lover can notice the Holy Spirit on the painting in the shape of a grey dove perching on Christ's left shoulder. The whole event is set in a large dodecahedron, which is the symbol of Heaven, and it can be perceived as if it happened beyond Earth, in the space. Shifting the attention toward the twelve men around the table, one can argue that they represent the Twelve Apostles. They are important for their action, which is the steadfast worship toward the Altar, and more precisely, the Bread and Wine. Furthermore, the background is not negligible at all – it shows the very typical landscape of Catalonia with its high mountains and sandy coastlines, indicating thus God's omnipresence in the whole universe.

One of the possible interpretations of the painting could rely upon Dalí's shared personality, and hence, it may be concluded that it strongly integrates the classical Christian theme with the techniques of Surrealism. Apart from the above assessed components of both of them, there is another theme, i.e. the underlying mathematical precision, which Dalí deliberately utilised. Certain dimensions on the painting show consonance with the legendary golden ratio. A prime example is the table positioned exactly at the golden section of the height of the painting. Moreover, the geometrical figure of the large dodecahedron consists of twelve pentagons which also display the golden proportion.

In summary, Dalí was able to explore diverse subject matter from various fields, such as surrealism, Catholicism and Mathematics, and to blend them in a breath-taking way, which then resulted in this masterpiece of his. He not only rediscovered the medieval truth about the primeval connection between art and mathematics but also he presented it in a very attractive manner in the instance of The Sacrament of the Last Supper. Vida Balázs


Official link to the painting:

Auxiliary web sources:,14031

(last date of access: 31 October 2013)

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Fra Angelico (1395-1455)
The Annunciation, c.1440


Convent of San Marco

Fra Angelico was born as Guido de Petro in 1395/1400 near Fiesole. He got the name Fra Giovanni when he joined the convent of San Domenico in 1423 along with his brother, Benedetto.  They presumably worked as illuminators (i. e. they copied and decorated manuscripts). In 1439 he moved to to San Marco, where he was ordered to decorate the newly built monastery. He and a few other friars spent the following 9 years painting a series of frescos in the monastery. These frescos are all about the life and death of Christ. In 1445 he was summoned to Rome to paint frescos in St Peter's Basilica. Unfortunately, these frescos were destroyed on the orders of Pope Paul III a few decades later. Between 1449 and 1452 he returned to Fiesole, where he became the Prior of his old convent. He died in Rome, in 1445. He got the name Fra Angelico posthumously and it means "Angelic Friar".

As far as we know, Fra Angelico only painted frescos. Frescos are painted on a wall on freshly lamed lime plaster. This technique is associated with Italian Renaissance painting. Since all his works were painted on walls, presumably quite a few of his them were destroyed in the past 550 years. All his known works share common features. Concerning Fra Angelico's works, simplicity is the key word. He mostly used beautiful pastel colours and rarely painted more than a few figures. This is what makes his frescos so powerful and fascinating even hundreds of years later.  The viewer can focus on the main theme of the picture, there are no unnecessary elements.

This painting, entitled The Annunciation, is one of the frescos from the convent of San Marco. It is painted on the wall of one of the cells where the friars slept. The Annunciation is the moment when Angel Gabriel tells Mary that she will give birth to the son of God. The other versions of Fra Angelico's Annunciations are rather different from this one. Here, we see Mary, the Angel Gabriel, and a friar in the background of the fresco. Mary is not mighty and glowing like on other Annunciations, but a young girl with a somehow frightened expression on her face. She kneels, which also confirms that she is just a humble young woman whose life is about to change forever. Mary doesn't wear the traditional blue gown; instead she wears a red gown which symbolises motherhood. Angel Gabriel is very human too, which is also not traditional.

I chose this painting because its simplicity and beauty grabbed me the very first time I saw it. Mary is an innocent young girl, who had just been trusted with the biggest role. If you look at the picture for a long time, it becomes alive and you can almost see Mary's face change as the Angel tells her that she carries The Saviour. Carrying a child is a huge responsibility in itself, but carrying the child that everyone has been waiting for... Well, that is almost too much for a young girl like Mary. I love not just the picture, but the story behind the picture, the story I've been writing behind it since I was fifteen. Gőcze Borbála



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Giotto di Bondone (1266/7-1337)

Lamentation or Mourning of Christ (ca. 1305)

Fresco 7,7” x 7,9”

Scrovegni Chapel, Padua


Giotto di Bondone was an Italian painter and architect from Florence. His masterwork is the decoration of the Scrovegni Chapel, also known as Arena Chapel in Padua. In 1334 he was chosen to design the new Campanile (Bell Tower) of Florence Cathedral. Other aspects about his life are unfortunately subject to controversy. The frescoes in the Upper Church at Assisi about the life of St. Francis are also attributed to him, but without any certainty.

The decoration of the Scrovegni Chapel is his masterwork, it was completed around 1305. It was commissioned to be built by Enrico degli Scrovegni even though his parish church was nearby. It is suspected that it was built as a penitence for his sin of usury. It was to serve as a family worship and burial place. The main theme of the frescoes is salvation; the decoration consists of two cycles: The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary,  and the Life of Christ. As Enrico degli Scrovegni ordered the blue pigment to be painted on top of the already dry fresco (because of the expenses of the special blue pigment), much of it is worn away by time, i.e. it has disintegrated faster than other colours.

Giotto breaks with the Byzantine techniques, his works are very emotional, they pull the viewer in, that is it, in what he was different from other artists of his era. He uses naturalistic elements and perspective devices, which make the frescoes resemble stage sets, the “viewer appears to have a particular place and even an involvement in many of the scenes”.

The Lamentation is a 3 dimensional, symbolic fresco. In the painting everyone mourns for Christ, “heaven and earth are joined in the mourning of the Saviour, but separated spiritually”. The mood is very sad; everyone on the picture seems to be shaken by the loss. The viewer can feel their sorrow, seems to be part of it, which makes the painting even more powerful.

I chose this work because it was one of my very first encounters with art, and it had a deep effect on me when I first saw it. Kiss Veronika




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Alison Jackson,

 Queen On The Loo,  2007,

in Confidential
Format : 23.1 x 28.9 cm
Hardcover : 264 pages

Art Photography: Within photography there are many branches, one of which is art photography. Until recent times it was debated whether it has an equal status among fine arts or not. Art photography unlike photojournalism, is not dedicated to recording real life, but as any other kind of conceptual art its goal is to carry out a message of the artist. Post-modern art broke up with the avant-garde's outworn idea about art only for the sake of art (l'art pour l'art). Photography with its many different procedures has infinite ways to convey the message of the artist. There can be an artistic idea behind the exposure (the settings of the camera in the moment of taking the picture,) the film alternations, digital retouch, format, printing or the way of exhibition. Specific features of any of these procedures can be symbolic and analysed as such.

Alison Jackson: Born in 1960, she is a contemporary artist, not just in a sense that she is creating art in our days but she embraced the post-modern movement, and one might identify its properties in her works. Post-modern art is typically sarcastic and witty and criticises social norms. Usually didactic, moralistic, symbolic and allegorical, though not necessarily all the four simultaneously. Alison Jackson uses these to create her art and she enhances it with her excellent sense of humour.

Jackson graduated as an adult student of sculpture from Chelsea College of Art and Design, then went to Royal College of Fine Arts and got her Masters' degree in Fine Art Photography. Around this time she was thunderstruck by the news of the fatal car accident of Princess Diana and by the mourning the whole nation went into. She found the rumours shocking about her that got publicity after the tragedy. For example about the pregnancy of the princess or the possibility she was deliberately killed on the orders of the Royal Family. So then she started a mental experiment: whether she can alter her fate or erase her from her own memory. She hired a look-alike of the Princess and shot a sequence of pictures with her about Diana's happy family life in an alternative future. The reaction was a huge public outcry but she went on. In 2007 she published the album Exposed! containing images of look-alikes of famous people; Hollywood stars, politicians, even the Queen herself.

Queen on The Loo: Alison Jackson realised how much hunger is in people for sensation and the popular media satisfies this by the photos about the private lives of celebrities. She tries to emphasise that even though we seem to know a lot about their personal lives we will never actually get close to them, be friends with them.

This specific picture, the Queen on The Loo is quite shocking the first time we glance at it. No one has ever dared to show a country's sovereign in such a context. But this is just the surface; one must look under the surface to interpret the mental images projected on the photo paper. What we see on this surface is a woman – who looks like Elizabeth II, – sitting on the toilet, reading a magazine, possibly Cosmopolitan. On the cover page there is an advertisement of the Queen wrist watch. Her dress, tidy hair, brooch all lead us to the conclusion that she is taking a moment off during her official duties, and we face the question what is more important: knowing about her official work or peeping on her on the toilet.

What we actually see on the picture is a forged reality, a cleverly composed picture; but everything is fake, everything is just pretence. But this is actually her method to transmit her message. She constructs meaning from the pretence reality pointing out our fixation with celebrity culture. She challenges spectators by moving them out of their comfort zone, and this uncomfortable situation calls us to reconsider our relationship with fame and famous people. Contrary to some critics, she did not challenge the authority of the Queen herself but delivers a personal message as one connects emotionally and intellectually to the picture.

“Artists use lies to tell the truth...” V for Vendetta

This quote might be a guideline to approach the photo and find the right interpretation. And this deep meaning and the intellectual challenge were mainly the factors that made me chose it as a topic of my presentation. The other reason is the playfulness of the work and that I love to tease others and I love to constructively dispute art. Lévai Piroska

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René Magritte (1898 - 1967)

Perspective: Madame Récamier by David (1951)
oil on canvas, 60.5 x 80.5 cm
National Gallery of Canada



René Magritte was a Belgian surrealist painter. The early death of his mother left its mark on his works. He studied painting at the Royal Academy of Fine Art in Brussels but soon dropped out to find his own style. His first surrealist painting, The Lost Jockey (1926) was harshly criticized. He did not give up, and moved to Paris, where he met several great figures of the surrealist movement. His success came with the Treachery of Images. (1928-29) It is a detailed painting of a pipe with a text written below the pipe: This is not a pipe. It may sound funny, but he was right - it was merely a picture of a pipe, no matter how realistic the pipe was, it was still a painting.  What he created, is always realistic, recognizable, simple and beautiful.  He uses vivid, warm colours and his paintings are very detailed. Magritte's style is classical yet modern. He does not alter shapes like Picasso, nor does he tear the topic apart to its very elements like Braque. He did quite the reverse. It was the topics, he dealt with, that were controversial, scary, strange and stirring, not the way he depicted them.

This can be applied to Perspective: Madame Récamier by David, too. We all are familiar with the classical beauty, Madame Récamier, sitting on an empire sofa, painted by the French artist, Jacques-Louis David. Magritte completely copied the original, even the colours and the lights are the same. The two paintings only differ in one thing. We have a coffin instead of the lady. It is even more quirky that the painter bent the coffin into the shape of a sitting body. But why did he shock the spectators with this image? There are many possible answers. It may only mean that centuries had passed and the model was dead by the 1950s. But with surrealists, there must be an implied message. We can also look at this woman as an ideal of an era, a definition of beauty that does not only belong to the 19th century, but has continuity over centuries, back to ancient times. The artist may have implied that this ideal, this concept of beauty is now dead. Do not forget, by that time, Europe had suffered two wars that shook the ground and made people and their lives completely different. And the surrealist artists dared to react to the changes, criticize the mistakes, and show new perspectives. Arts had to change if everything was different than what it had been in the past. People were disappointed in ideals. Immaculate beauty was not enough any longer. The definition of beauty had changed.

That is why I wanted to show you the picture. To make you think about whether a piece of art can be beautiful even if it is not beautiful at all, or not. In my opinion the answer is yes, it can be. The meaning of a good painting, for me, can be just as beautiful as the work itself, if not more beautiful. Rózsa Ida


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Marionettes 1 & 2

Deviant art

"It's so easy to threaten ferocious nations and hide behind your guards.
So loyal to the country, their worth you disregard.
Leader of home of the brave and the land of the free
Holds the strings of a marionette subject to slavery”

The Marionette is an acryllic painting on a canvas board carrying a powerful message. The lines appearing in the middle of the piece of art and the short poem on the original website of tha painting gives a leading thread in order to help the viewer understand the meaning of it.  The marionette, which is a symbol of soldiers fighting for a nation, is dragged on wires by the people hiding in the background. They are almost insignificant, at the first sight the viewer tends to forget about them and pays attention only to the main character: the marionette. It is the exact copy of a theatre of war. The soliders seem to be the ones who decide the end of a war by killing eachother, although behind the scenes, everything is led by the leaders who are kept in safety, far from the horror of the war.

Above the marionette a dove can be seen as a symbol of the peace that would be the only salvation for all the soldiers who are risking their lives at the moment, but because of the harsh brushstrokes, the dove’s wings appear to be torn and broken, meaning that the chances to this war end in a peaceful way are really low.

This painting was made by Deviantart artist ConfirmPentecost.




Marionette, published in Heights vol LIII no 2. is a pencil drawing on paper. The meaning of this picture is more ambiguous because of the lack of a leading description from the artist, who is kimbartolone, former YGamma. In my opinion, the picture wants to express how an individual tries to break out from the suffocation of the society, which wants everyone to act the same way, losing their own characteristics. The main figure is the only person who possesses unique characteristics. Its face is crunched into a pained expression as it is trying to run away from the faces representing the society and all those who want the marionette to blend in. The cross bar behind it can be interpreted as its own cross that it has to carry on his back, as Jesus Christ did during his Calvary. Probably it adumbrates the end of the marionette: it will suffer as Jesus Christ did, but it will resurrect at the end, gaining the reward for its bravery to stand up for itself. Ledacs-Kiss Lilla


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Havasi Kovács

Sajben Martin

This pencil drawing depicts a fictional being, referred to as the alpine or mountain smith (havasi kovács). This mythical creature was invented by me and my friend a few years ago, and since then he became more and more vivid. Soon afterwards we decided that he deserves to be drawn. Starting it was not easy though. It took more than a year for the inspiration to accumulate to a sufficient level. Then, I thought it would make an excellent birthday present for this friend mentioned before, so I finally begun drawing. During this period however, the idea changed, and the focus shifted. Instead of drawing him by his forge, I decided to put him in a hostile mountain environment to point out how separated and inhuman he is. It also makes him appear sturdy. I tried to strengthen this image even further by drawing him tall and muscular, with no facial expression. However, all these features put together most likely result in a Viking-like hero, but I didn't mind. On the contrary, I decided to mix Germanic (the enormous two handed battle axe) and Celtic (the endless knots all over his clothing) motifs into the picture. As for technical details, there is not much to be said. This is an ordinary pencil drawing, achieved with graphite pencils ranging from 8b to 2h. Furthermore, I used an eraser, and my fingertips to blend the drawing where it was necessary (the snowy parts for example).
    I chose this drawing for two reasons. Firstly, I didn't want to choose a known work, because everyone knows that side of art. Many people even think that is the only side, the "official" side of art. So I thought I could show them how art could be something personal, done by anyone. Anyone meaning me in this case. My second reason for choosing my own work, is derived from a simple fact. I can't possibly know everything about anyone else's artwork. I do however know everything there is to know about my drawing, therefore the only piece of art I can analyse with full credibility is none other than my own creation. Sajben Marton


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Steve McCurry (1950-)

Afghan Girl, 1984

Kodachrome colour slide

Steve McCurry was born on February 24, 1950, in Pennsylvania. He attended to Penn State University, where he planned to study filmmaking and cinematography; however, he ended up getting a degree in theatre arts. He took pictures for the Penn State newspaper The Daily Collegian, and that was the time when he became interested in photography. Later he worked at Today's Post in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania for two years, and then he left for India to freelance. His career was launched when, just before the Soviet invasion, he crossed the border into rebel-controlled areas of Afghanistan. He was disguised as a native, and there were rolls of film sewn into his clothes. The pictures he took there were among the first to show the conflict. When he came back, he got the Robert Capa Gold Medal for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad for his courage and enterprise. After that he continued to cover armed conflicts. He often contributes to National Geographic Magazine, and has been a member of Magnum Photos since 1986. He won several awards, including Magazine Photographer of the Year. He focuses on the consequences of war, mainly on the human face, like in the case of his photo of the ‘Afghan girl’. McCurry took this photo of the young girl in 1984, in Pakistan, on Kodachrome color slide film, with a Nikon FM2 camera. The girl in the photo was one of the students in an informal school at the Nasir Bagh refugee camp. She was approximately 12 years old when the photo was taken. For almost twenty years, the identity of the girl was unknown. Then in 2002, after a long search, McCurry found her, and gained some information about her past and her present as well. As it turned out, the girl’s name is Sharbat Gula. Her parents were killed when the Soviet Union’s attack destroyed her village in Afghanistan. She, her siblings, and her grandmother were forced to hike over the mountains to a refugee camp in Pakistan. When McCurry found her in 2002, she was married with three kids. It was not easy for the photographer to convince her to show her face to the camera again, but fortunately he succeeded, so the world could see the grown-up ‘Afghan girl’.
The photo is an outstanding example of Steve McCurry’s intention to show how the war effects on human-beings. The girl’s eyes express her feelings perfectly. We can see her childish innocence, fear and desperation. However, there is also unusual strength and fortitude in her bright green eyes.
The picture became famous in the June of 1985 when it appeared on the cover of National Geographic Magazine. It was named "the most recognized photograph" in the history of the magazine, and is sometimes popularly referred to as "the Afghan Mona Lisa".
I chose this picture because it had a huge effect on me when I first saw it. I always thought it was beautiful and haunting, and with its interesting background story it became one of my favourite works of art.
Csöndör Alexandra


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Amedeo Modigliani

Jeanne Hébuterne

Amedeo Modigliani was born in Italy, in 1884. His family was Jewish, his mother was an artistic woman and his father was a trader and agency owner. They lived in Livorno, an industrial city – not an ideal place for such a great artist to be born in. Young Amedeo had a weak lung, and suffered from pneumonic illnesses, so his mother took him on a trip around Italy, during which he got acquainted with the most important Italian artists and art genres. He also developed a strong philosophical interest thanks to his grandfather – the motto of his art was that the only route to true creativity was through disorder. He enrolled to Guglielmo Micheli’s art school where he studied landscapes but quickly got bored with it, and turned to Cubism. In Florence he became interested in nude studies, which he continued later in Venice. Here he started doing drugs, drinking, neglecting school and loving many women – the beginning of a decadent lifestyle. In 1906, he moved to Paris, the focal point of avant-garde. He met Picasso, Braque, Jean Cocteau, Apollinaire and other influential artists. He lived in great poverty; he sometimes had to give his pictures away for meals in restaurants. He was wandering around the city dressed as a Bohemian man, looking for models. He continued drinking and taking drugs, which developed an anger management disorder; during one of his bursts of anger he destroyed most of his early works. Modigliani was not famous among the contemporary audience, he only had one own exhibition, which turned out to be scandalous as people found his nudes obscene and lewd.

It is impossible to define Modigliani’s artistic style, he cannot be classified in any -isms. Though avant-garde movements had a considerable impact on him, he did not want to shock the audience with his pictures, he just depicted things the way he saw them. His paintings show influence of African sculpture (elongated bodies, faces and necks; huge thighs and bottoms on nudes suggesting fertility). He was primarily a portraitist. He portrayed real people, not mythological or religious figures. The forms are simplistic and usually abstract, the shapes are geometric – the perfect examples of Cubism. As for the nudes, the contours are generally dynamic, the shapes are bent and erotic. Many models have “empty” eyes on the paintings. They are close to the viewer, they suggest an intimate connection with the painter. The characters are still, they seem to be waiting for something.

As mentioned before, “Modi” was keen on women; he was a real Latin lover. He had some long-term relationships, though. The most important was the relationship with Jeanne Hébuterne, a French artist. They met when Jeanne was 19 and they quickly moved together despite the strong objection of the Roman Catholic Hébuterne family. They had a rough relationship, however, Amedeo’s portraits of her imply tenderness. After the death of Modigliani in 1920, Jeanne threw herself out of the fifth-floor window of her parents’ house, killing not only herself, but their unborn second child (they already had a daughter).

This portrait is the most known portrait of Jeanne. It shows some typical features of Modigliani’s art. Her face and neck are elongated; strong contours frame her, but the colours and the facial expression are soft. Though she is not right in the middle of the setting, the picture still seems symmetrical and harmonious. The glowing light around her head further emphasises her importance. Her eyes are not empty, they reflect delicacy – it shows they had a serious relationship, unlike in the case of Modi’s other models. The forms are simple, there aren’t many details.

The reason why I chose this particular picture is that in my view, she is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen on a piece of art. As soon as I looked at her, I felt a strange connection. The look in her eyes and that half smile made me want to know everything about her and the artist and their relationship. I find Modigliani’s life absolutely absorbing, I have grown a great admiration towards him. Kelemen Sara

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Claude Monet

Water Lilies, Giverny

Claude Monet/Claude-Oscar Monet is the founder of French impressionist painting. He was born in 1840 in Paris. Later he entered to an art school in Le Havre - to where he had moved with his family. He first became known for his charcoal caricatures, which he sold for ten to twenty francs. Boudin was his first mentor. He taught to Monet how to use oil paints and "en plein air" (outdoor) painting techniques. Manet was his friend. Later he became a student of Charles Gleyre in Paris, where he met Renoir, Bazille, and Sisley. Together they shared new approaches to art, painting the effects of light en plein air with broken colour and rapid brushstrokes, in what later came to be known as impressionism. He travelled a lot and in 1872, when he returned to Holland, he painted the famous Impression, Sunrise. From the painting's title, art critic Louis Leroy coined the term "Impressionism". Monet spent the last period of his life in Giverny, where he produced several series of paintings including: Rouen Cathedral, Poplars, the house of Parliament, Mornings on the Seine, and The Water Lilies. He died in 1926. The bridge over the water lily pond is one of the 250 paintings of the water lilies series. It's oil on canvas and it was made in 1899. He painted these pictures in his own property at Giverny. Now we can find it in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York. It's 36,5 by 29 inches. Kamrás Elvira


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Isaac Oliver
Rainbow Portrait, 1600
Oil on canvas, 127 × 99 cm
Commissioned by Robert Cecil
On display at Hatfield House, in the collection of the Marquess of Salisbury


Isaac Oliver (c. 1565 – bur. October 2, 1617) was a French-born English miniaturist who fled France with his Huguenot parents during the Wars of Religion. In London, he trained under Nicholas Hilliard, developing a naturalistic style, and later became a court painter to Queen Elizabeth I.

In 1600, Oliver was commissioned by Robert Cecil to paint a portrait of the queen, which became known as the Rainbow Portrait. The painting is considered by many to be the most heavily symbolic one of Elizabeth’s portraits. At the time the portrait was commissioned, the queen was turning seventy, yet she is depicted ageless, her bright radiance clashing against the dark archway in the background. One might assume that the intention behind this depiction was to help the aging queen retain her vitality, but in truth the queen controlled the projection of her own image rigorously. She established a so-called face pattern, a custom image of her face, to which her painters were ordered to adhere.

The explanation of the heavy use of symbols in this picture could be Queen Elizabeth’s love for intellectual games such as riddles or the deciphering of coded messages. For example, the most conspicuous object, the rainbow, refers to the peaceful state of nature after a storm. The inscription above it, ‘Non sine sole iris’, is Latin for ‘There is no rainbow without the sun’, implying that the queen is the sun who makes the rainbow appear, who brings peace to the land. Another eye-catching symbol is the ornate cloak she is wearing: it is decorated with human ears and eyes, referring to her popularity among her subjects – everybody has their eyes and ears on the queen. A more subtle symbol, the embroidered snake on her arm represents knowledge and wisdom. From the snake’s mouth hangs a heart made of ruby, suggesting that Elizabeth’s heart is controlled by her wisdom and knowledge, her rule is therefore not based on emotions. On top of her magnificent head-dress, there is a crescent moon which identifies her with Diana, the goddess of chastity, invoking her image as the Virgin Queen, along with the pearls she is wearing in her hair and around her neck.

However, beside courtly eulogy, there is a different, more serious theme underlying the painting, put forward by intelligence expert Steven Dedijer. Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth established an extensive network of spies and secret agents, and the commissioner of this portrait, Robert Cecil, who served as Secretary of State, eventually became her spymaster general. This puts the eyes and ears on the cloak in a new perspective – the queen sees and hears everything. The rainbow as the sign of peace also gains a new interpretation: national security and peace can only be guaranteed by maintaining a totally effective all-hearing, all-seeing secret service.

Personally, I like this portrait for two reasons. One is my interest in the histories of female rulers, the other is that in its artistic capacity, the painting carries hidden messages and communicates through symbols, gift-wrapping a coded political statement in praises of the queen. Parall Richard



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Jacques Ignace Parrocel (1646-1704)

The Battle of Zenta

Jacques Ignace Parrocel (1646-1704 )was a French painter. He was born into an artistic family, as his father and grandfather were also painters. His talent was noticed when he was young. Later on, he travelled a lot and practiced his skills in Paris, Rome, and Venice. He gained his reputation in Paris. In 1676 he became a member of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. During his life he had only one exhibition, in 1699, where 12 of his painting were displayed. Parrocel is best known for his paintings of battle scenes but he also painted landscapes, religious images and also made incredible drawings.

The Battle of Zenta is one of his most famous pictures. It shows the events of 11 September 1697 in Zenta, where an important battle took place. A great commander, Prince Eugene followed the Ottoman troops through Vojvodina (Vajdaság), trying to fight them. While the Ottomans wanted to cross the river Tisa, Prince Eugene attacked them. This took the Ottomans by surprise and led to a bloody battle where more than 30,000 Ottoman soldiers died while only 500 men died from Eugene’s army.

I chose this painting because this battle happened near my hometown and has a great effect on me. In Zenta there is a big festival in every year when we celebrate the success of the battle. Tóth Andrea



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Egon Schiele, (1890-1918)

The Self Seers II., or Death and Man

Egon Schiele was an Austrian painter. He was born in 1890 and died in 1918. He had a quite hard childhood. He had a bad relationship with his mother. Also, his father, who was a train station master, was very strict with him. He was a strange, shy and reserved child, who did poorly at school and who was incestuous towards his sister. Because of the profession of his father, he really loved drawing trains; in fact he loved that so much that his father destroyed his sketchbooks.

After his father’s death, Schiele’s uncle sent him to Vienna, where Schiele went to School of Arts and Crafts then Academy of Fine Arts. In 1907, Gustav Klimt, a great symbolist artist discovered and mentored him, so he was able to start showing his pictures at exhibitions.

Generally, he had an eventful life. He had several mistresses until he finally got married. He was in prison because of seducing an underage girl. People usually did not like his pictures – mainly his nudes. Despite of these, he had successful exhibitions, even during the war. His career has been finished tragically by the Spanish flu epidemic. He was 28 years old.

Egon Schiele’s works have a very unique style. This style was influenced by Oskar Kokoschka and Gustav Klimt, two great expressionist painters. Schiele tried to show the beauty in human body, so he painted many nudes, but of not only female models. After his imprisonment, he started dealing with the topics of death and rebirth; and motherhood and family.

As we look at the picture titled The Self Seers II., or Death and Man, we see two figures. Two figures with empty eyes and rigid faces.

This picture has many interpretations; I would like to mention two. Firstly, if we look at the character in the foreground, we can discover a strange resemblance to the painter’s face. But this face is –as I mentioned – is rigid, emotionless... like a mask. So it seems that the face of the painter is not real. The true identity of the artist remain unknown – but not only for us but for Schiele as well. That always has been a great struggle in his life: trying to find his true identity.

Schiele had a very strange relationship with death. In a poem he wrote: ”I’m a human. I love death and I love life.” We can assume that the character in the background is death. But it is disquietingly close, for the viewer it is very hard, if not impossible, to isolate the two figures. They are grown together, death and man. This picture is a vision about life and death, but the two characters look like that they are one entity. Rilke, the great Austrian expressionist poet wrote: “Death lives in us, like seed in fruit. [...] This really belongs to us.”

We are living our lives, having our troubles, but what this picture teaches us is that the one and only real thing that belongs to us is death. We carry its burden, but if we accept it, this weight is not that heavy anymore. Hollós Dávid


The official mobile application of Museum of Fine Arts

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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

At la Bastille (Portrait of Jeanne Wenz) 1889

oil on canvas;  72x49 cm;

National Gallery of Arts, Washington, DC, USA


Henri Marie-Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec was born on 24 November, 1864 into an aristocratic family. He was a sickly child; after breaking both of his legs, he remained very short. As a child, he spent a lot of time drawing and painting, although painted landscapes, as well, he was mainly interested in illustrating people, drew scenes of the life of family friends, and sailors, troopers, horse-drawn carriages appeared on his canvas (or paper). A family friend discovered his talent, and Henri was allowed to study painting in Paris.

Toulouse-Lautrec’s art is classified as Art Nouveau, or Post-Impressionism; it is clear that he was influenced by Japanese woodprints, and impressionists, but Lautrec didn’t belong properly to any category.

Having moved to Paris, Lautrec was introduced to night life, he discovered Montmartre. At that time the Moulin Rouge opened, and Lautrec was one of their frequent guests, he spent a lot of time painting there. His sitters were usually from urban low social classes, he made several drawings and paintings of prostitutes, club dancers, clowns, workers. He presented them in a realistic way, yet he painted them with exceptional tenderness, the pictures were candid but tender, sketchy but painfully alive. In fact, his works weren’t literally realistic, at all. The characters were like being shaped by their personality.

Of course, his friends and family were worried about him, because of his lifestyle – for a while he resided in a brothel, which he must have found as a perfect place to paint, a perfect place to find ’’characters”. His friends were afraid that people might mock him and make fun of him in that environment. 

The painting: The expression on the woman’s face is not sarcastic or mocking, like Yvette Guilbert’s or several other models’ were. On some of his paintings the cruel attitude towards a disabled man, which made friends worried, clearly shows - unlike on this one. This is one reason why I chose the painting. Illuminated, or happy; it’s hard to reveal the nature of the look on her face. She has a glass of absinthe in front of her, sitting in a pub. The Hungarian title of the picture is actually ’’Absinthe Drinker” – Lautrec had several other pictures of ’’absinthe drinkers”.

It is oil on canvas, the use of paint is typical of Toulouse-Lautrec; he didn’t use much paint, covered large areas with a small amount, instead, unlike traditional oil painting techniques. In fact, it is more like use of watercolour.
Probably, Lautrec did not concern himself neither with the technique, nor with following some school, belonging to some group; what he took important was painting, expressing what to be expressed. It is also typical of his works that people and objects illustrated usually cast no shadow, especially on his posters – which probably count as his most famous works.He presented movements, motions, scenes in an excellent and dynamic way: the best examples are pictures of bicycles, horses, riders. He was also the genius of gestures, faces.

Back to the painting: We can see the almost watercolour-like brushes, shadow is not significantly present in this picture, either. She has a glass, and it’s interesting to see the background, which looks similar to glass. Lautrec was called the ’’Painter of Cold Lights’’ (Pierre Mac Orlan), looking at this one, and most of his other paintings, Mac Orlan’s statement seems to be right. The woman looks right at the viewer (originally the painter), which makes the effect of the picture even stronger. Pék Júlia

See: Alexander Wojchiechowski's Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Vincent Van Gogh

Cafe Terrace at Night, 1888

80.7cm x 65.3 cm ,oil on canvas

Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands

Vincent Van Gogh was born in Grzot-Zundert in 1853 and spent most of his life in the Hague, London and Paris. His short life was spent in growing isolation, with disappointments, almost constant travels and unsuccessful masterpieces. In 1888 he moved to Arles after a happier period in Paris, where he created many of his greatest paintings before his mental problems grew so big that, after self-mutilation and attending some asylums he committed suicide (although it is possible that he was murdered, as no gun was found). The painting itself was made in Arles during his most productive time and shows the cafe called "Cafe Terrace" (now renamed Cafe Van Gogh) close to the place where he lived at the time. In a letter written to his sister he mentions the special colours he sees in the night without the use of  black. The sky itself is his first effort in painting the night sky and is almost completely repeated in his later "starlight night" paintings. He placed himself with dimensions one with the café so he could reproduce the depths of field. The paving stones already show an outrage of colours, while the café itself is almost surreal in its light, opposing colours to the night sky, colours unseen in real-life coffee houses. For another reason, he placed himself so far from the house that he could not reproduce the faces and facial expressions of the people on the terrace, showing his outsider view and the fact that he was hated in the café, which gives the painting a quite modern sense of alienation. For similar reasons he put an otherwise unimportant horse and carriage as the centre of the painting, in order to decrease the importance of these characters. Szűts Krisztián





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Grant Wood (1891- )

American Gothic,1930

Oil on beaverboard, 74.3 cm × 62.4 cm

Art Institute of Chicago


Grant Wood was born on February 13, 1891 on his parents' farm in Iowa. The sights, smells and sounds of his country childhood would be preserved forever in the faces and landscapes of his famous paintings, and would become a significant factor of his future success as an artist. Grant Wood was fascinated by the realist style of the European paintings of the time, and he learned from others in order to create truly American art. American Gothic, his most notable painting, finally shaped his recognition for his new and creative work. In August 1930 he was on a trip in Iowa, when he spotted a small house in a field with a unique window in the architectural style of the American Gothic , which impressed him immediately. Wood decided to capture the farmhouse and the people resided there in paint. But instead of simply knocking on the door, Wood decided to tease the story out for himself. American Gothic presents the image of a couple posing before their simple farmhouse, the only flourish of which is the arched window. They both have unnaturally long faces and thin necks to emphasize the uprightness of Midwestern Americans, honoring their strong values and showing that they are hardworking and humorless, dignified and honest people. Other interpretation is that it is a satire to the narrow minded, puritan, religious, and repressive attitude of Midwestern culture, a comment on the intolerance of rural populations to outsiders. This is emphasized by the symbolisms of the painting, which include the intimidating eyes of the man looking straight at the viewer, holding the pitchfork menacingly in defiance between the couple and the viewer. The greatness of this masterpiece is shown in the fact that it is one of the most well known and parodied works of art, and the interpretative ambiguity of American Gothic is why I chose this picture. Gerengay Krisztián

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Würtz, Ádám:

Utazás a koponyám körül (A Journey Round My Skull), 1970-1987

Mixed media, 70x100 cm

Szépirodalmi könyvkiadó

Adam Würtz (Tamási, 2 June 1927 – Budapest, 13 May 1994) was a Hungarian graphic designer and illustrator. He studied at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts and was influenced mostly by Grosz’s and Picasso’s drawings. Würtz is mostly known for his illustrations and he has also received three Munkácsy-prizes during his life.

This work is his  illustration for Frigyes Karinthy’s novel, Utazás a koponyám körül [A Journey Round My Skull]. This is actually the cover of the 80s edition of the book and is very rare as the publisher, Szépirodalmi Könyvkiadó had already been liquidated in 1994.  Würtz drew the writer surrounded by a messy substance (representing the illness of the writer – he had a brain tumor) and also included the ‘invisible’ train (which the writer stated he had heard around the beginning of the book); it is as if we could see what is going on inside his head.

I chose this picture because I first encountered it when I first read this novel and I loved the style and I thought it was just perfect for this book; and because I really love Karinthy and his works. Bihari Alexandra

Bozóky, Mária: Würtz Ádám. 1980, Budapest : Képzőművészeti Alap Kiadóvállalata,


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Unknown artist, 3rd-1st century B.C.

Boy with Thorn

60X76 cm, Bronze

Palazzo Conservatorie, Rome, Italy


Boy with thorn, also called Fedele or Spinario is a Graeco-Roman (hellenistic) bronze statue with an archaic head (as there was an interest in more commonplace events in the Hellenistic age). It was based on a Hellenistic original and also many copies were made during the ages (one of the most famous is the Roman marble copy in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence). It has a very long history during which it was never lost to sight and ruined by history, always getting newer and newer interpretations with each age. In the 12th century, in the Lateran Palace the Naveresse rabbi believed it to be Absalon who "was without Blemish from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head". Later an English visitor considered it  to be a Priapus. In the 1470's Pope Sixtus IV moved it to the Palazzo Conservatorie, which was only recorded at the end of the century. It had a rising success in the early Renaissance as it was one of the first statues to be copied (eg. a fountain in Messina had a huge copy, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts). It often served as an ambassadorial gift in the age to France and Spain and even the English king Charles I had one copy in the following century. By the 17th century it became a sign of good life thus it appeared in may paintings (e.g.: Still Life with Spinario). The marble copies of the Medicis influenced many humanists, the most famous being  Michelangelo. In the early 18th century it became a common interpretation that it was about a shepherd boy only stopping to remove a thorn after giving a message of a victory to the Roman senate, also called The Faithful Boy" for it. it can also be interpreted as a form of rebellion against the aristocratic "important people" by picturing a young peasant in a statue (as it was less common in the Roman and following ages than in the Hellenistic period) but it can might as well be a rural idealisation or a caricature of someone important. Szűts Krisztián

 Sources: 1. Wikipedia


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William Tierney Clark

Széchenyi Chain Bridge

Chain suspension bridge, wrought iron and stone;  total length: 380 m; width: 15 m

Built 1839-1849; rebuilt twice (1913-15, 1947-49)


The Széchenyi Chain Bridge is admittedly among the highly prized monuments of the Hungarians. It was the very first permanent bridge across the Danube in Hungary, which has been linking Buda and Pest, the two, some time ago separate parts of the Hungarian capital. It was regarded as one of the most outstanding technological achievements  at the time of its construction. Later in the 19th century, it became the symbol of the united and steadily developing Budapest, and it could even revive after the Second World War. Today, the Chain Bridge is the most prominent emblem of Budapest, and by having more than 160 years of eventful history, it can teach us numerous lessons about the importance of collaboration for a common goal and about the famous Széchenyi-saying: "Let us dare to be great [...] and wise at the same time!".

Although the two sides of the river were already connected in the ancient Roman times, there were only temporary bridges over the Danube until the beginning of the 1800s. It follows that by the middle of the 19th century, general interest in having a linkage had risen both among the engineers and the citizens. In fact, as in the case of almost every project which is considered to be too grandiose prior to its realisation, this Bridge had also quite a few opponents at first. Moreover, the bridge also needed a very determined and purposeful person who was behind the proposal from the beginning and combined his skills for the sake of the smooth process of construction. Count István Széchenyi, one of the leading figures of Hungarian Romanticism, was that person, and he solicitously established the "Bridge Association" in 1832. It was a rationally built up organisation, comprising three departments, which were responsible for the political, the technological and the financial parts of the project. Széchenyi, in an exemplary way, took part in several study visits to England, where he could expand his knowledge and, thus, more reliably inform the other members of the Association as well as the public. During these visits, he met a couple of professionals, among others William Tierney Clark, who designed the Bridge and by whose plans it had become a chain suspension bridge. The actual construction started in 1839 under the supervision of the Scottish engineer Adam Clark (a namesake of W.T. Clark), who – by proxy – permanently worked as a resident engineer on the spot. The foundation stone was laid three years later, in 1842. Afterwards, a somewhat serious accident happened when one of the massive chain links crashed to the staging, causing sadly Széchenyi's fall into the river. Eventually, the bridge was opened to traffic in 1849, and a new tax, a so-called bridge tax, was introduced for the users of the bridge.

The Chain Bridge nowadays is unimaginable without the four stone lions, who have been alertly attending to the Bridge since 1852. They were carved by a sculptor named János Marschalkó. The interesting fact about them is the following, sort of an urban legend: there was a servant of a cobbler who realised that the lions had no tongues when they were viewed from a low angle; and as a result, the sculptor was being mocked so much that he had to actually prove himself right with the aid of real and living lions. So the fact is that the lions have tongues, but they cannot be seen from a standing person's viewpoint.

As the amount of traffic had increased by the turn of the 20th century, the Bridge had to be renovated. Then, another significant milestone was the festive illumination of the Bridge in 1937 for the visit of the Italian king Victor Emmanuel III and the Austrian chancellor Schuschnigg. As it is 1 known, the Bridge could not avoid the ravages of the Second World War, it was destroyed by the German troops in 1945. Apart from the pillars, the whole bridge sank into the Danube. Due to the alliance of the inhabitants, however, it had been reconstructed by 1949, which was the centenary year of its inauguration.

By now, the purpose of the Bridge has significantly altered – today, it not only provides an opportunity to cross over the Danube, but it has also become the jewel in the crown of Budapest. Because, on the one hand, it is an essential part of the flow of  the everyday traffic; and on the other hand, being also among the UNESCO's World Heritage Sites as part of the Danube-embankment, it is truly a majestic art relic and a valued symbol of the Hungarian capital. Vida Balázs

Auxiliary web sources: (last date of access: 15 December2013)


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Heitor da Silva Costa, Paul Landowski

Christ the Redeemer, 1922-31

Concrete and soapstone, 30m x 28m

Corcovado Mountain, Rio de Janeiro

The idea of erecting a huge statue on the summit of Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was first suggested in the mid-1850s. A Catholic priest, Pedro Maria Boss asked for money from Princess Isabel to build a large religious monument; unfortunately the princess did not find it a good idea, so Brazilians had to wait almost a century for the statue. The second proposal for a landmark statue on the mountain was made in 1920 by the Catholic Circle of Rio, which organized an event called Semana do Monumento ("Monument Week") to attract donations and collect signatures to support the building of the statue. Mostly Brazilian Catholics gave money, so the construction of the statue could be started. They chose the plans of a local engineer, Heitor da Silva Costa. He was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1873 and was a professor at the Polytechnic School of Rio de Janeiro during the time he designed the statue. He died in 1947. The sculptor of the monument was Paul Landowski. He was born in Paris in 1875 of a Polish refugee father and a French mother. He produced over thirty-five monuments in Paris and twelve more in the surrounding area. His best known work is Christ the Redeemer. He died in 1961.
The statue itself is 30 metres on an 8 metre pedestal, its arms stretch 28 metres wide, and it weighs 635 tonnes. It was constructed between 1922 and 1931 and it is made of concrete and soapstone. The monument has become an icon for Rio de Janeiro and Brazil and with its open arms is meant to be a symbol of peace. It is among the New Seven Wonders of the World since 2007. Since its opening, some damage has happened to the statue. It was struck by lightning during an electrical storm in 2008 and suffered some damage on the fingers, head and eyebrows. Furthermore, on April 15, 2010 graffiti was sprayed on the statue's head and right arm, but the military police found the suspected vandals. In 2003, a set of escalators, walkways, and elevators were installed to make access easier to the statue, now it has three panoramic elevators, each with a capacity for 14 people. The statue needs maintenance work periodically, because of the strong wind and erosion. In October 2006, on the statue’s 75th anniversary, Archbishop of Rio suggested building a chapel under the statue, so Catholics can hold baptisms and weddings there. A famous BASE jumper Baumgartner set the world record for the lowest BASE jump ever, when he jumped 29 metres from the hand of the Christ the Redeemer. Csöndör Alexandra



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Marcel Duchamp

Dadaism (1916-1922)

Dadaism is probably the most controversial and rebellious branch of avant-garde, in this movement the revolution of art was complete. German artist Hans Richter, being involved in the movement, himself, defined dadaism as ’’Anti-Art”. Dadaists did not compromise, they advertised the autonomy of the artist and the arbitrariness of art. The name of the movement symbolizes their pursuit well: ’’Dada” means ’’hobby horse” in French; it was a random word German poet Hugo Ball pointed at in an encyclopedia. It’s absurd how correctly a nonsensical-like word sums up the activity and nature of dadaism. The reception of the movement was controversial, as well: a lot refused it, declaring what Hugo Ball said, using the expression in a negative sense. The artists were accused of being self-aimed. The historical background of the movement might give explanation to today’s viewer. We are during the First World War and in the post-war period; there is an economic depression all around the world, as well as social and emotional depression; the unemployment rate is extremely high. People are desperate, hungry, and disappointed. The negative atmosphere of the era affected the art: the followers of the new ’’schools” (anti-schools) were characterised by strong resistance. They refused the past, and everything that influenced the past, even art. The most important features of their art were instinctiveness, autonomy, randomness, anarchy, arbitrariness; they raised debates and caused scandals, were looking for controversy. Dadaism appeared in several places of the world, probably originated in Zürich, Schwitzerland. One of the most influential artists of the era was Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp was famous for his paintings, as well, but what really drew attention were his readymades.


The expression ’’readymade” refers to an object chosen by the artist, and exhibited without any or minimal change. The theory behind readymade and concept-art is that the artist’s decision is much more important than the work of art itself. In other words, the fact of choice turns the ordinary object into a work of art. Duchamp emphasized the arbitrary nature of art. He had several ready-made ’’sculptures”, the Bicycle Wheel, the Bottle Rack, or the famous Fountain.


Duchamp’s Fountain was originally a urinal. It was later turned on its back, and became a ’’fountain”. The urinal was made of white porcelain, no more can be told about its appearance. Since the artists defied art dealing, and intended to break the commercial value of works of art, he did not give his name to his sculptures. This one, the Fountain, was signed with the pseudonym ’’R. Mutt”. Interestingly and sadly, the original Fountain was stolen from an exhibition. Replicas are shown around the world, we find them in the Tate Modern, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Canada, or the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (And similar ones in many households and public places.) Pék Júlia

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Ganymed goes Europe

During the semester, the group was discussing the question of art – what it is, etc. We classified branches of art as 2d and 3d art.

Ganymed Goes Europe mixes these two branches.  It is a special event organised by Polish, Austrian and Hungarian museums. It is basically a kind of theatrical performance, but presented in a very unusual way – in a gallery. This event (at least the Hungarian one) contains 12 paintings, and 12 performances (monologues, short stories, etc) written by contemporary Hungarian authors, and based on these paintings. These short performances are acted out in front of the picture related to the performance. What is interesting is, that the actors interact with their surroundings: the audience and the picture as well.

Usually we tend to separate branches art – as I have mentioned above. When we are saying “2D”, we are thinking of pictures, photos, etc. When we are speaking about “3D”, we are thinking of statues, buildings, etc.

We were also talking about acting as a kind of 3D art. In my opinion acting is more than 3D. It has a duration, which means that every single performance has a beginning and ending, it’s eternal whereas a statue is made to stand at its place forever. In theatre there is scenery, which helps in understanding the story and creates a completely new world, and it can be changed, altered, as the play needs. The background, the scenery of a 2D or 3D work of art is eternal.

But Ganymed Goes Europe is different. These short (3-5 minutes long) performances have duration, but in a different way. The actors remain in their role for the whole time. When their performance ends, they just sit down in the corner, or start a simple, repetitive movement. After a while, they just start their performance again. And these performances aren’t the same.  As I mentioned, the actors interact with their surroundings, which means that they react to noises, happenings, almost anything. And that gives the audience the feeling of eternality.

The short performances have scenery as well. As the actors are talking about or to the pictures, one slowly forgets the boundaries between the actor and the picture, and the paintings become alive. And that leads us a strange conclusion: However, there is scenery: it seems that the picture is the performance, and the actor is the scenery, which helps in understanding the story.

Ganymed Goes Europe is like the experience, when one looks at a work of art. They think about something, which basically always the same, but the interpretation, the moral, meaning or message of it different. It depends on the mood of the viewer, the weather, anything, but what is sure is that it is never the same.

In conclusion we can state that Ganymed Goes Europe is a very interesting experiment in art and although it has finished for this year, I hope they will organise it in 2014 as well.   Hollós Dávid


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Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926)

Sagrada Família


The cathedral of La Sagrada Familia is the greatest symbol of Barcelona, and although it's still unfinished, it attracts around 2.8 million visitors a year and has become the most visited monument in Spain. It is still under construction after more than a century; it started in 1882, and is still far from being completed. The building got its uniqueness from Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, who transformed it into his own architectural vision after he took over the construction in 1883. In 1926, at the time of Gaudí's death, less than a quarter of the project was complete, but all the succeeding architects have followed Gaudi's style. After 1926 construction slowed dramatically due to a lack of funds and the outbreak of the Civil War. Sagrada Família's construction has always been funded by private donations and entrance fees, and there is still no government funding today. Construction pace started to pick up again in the mid 1950s, and now projections show that it will finally be completed in 2026, exactly a hundred years after Gaudi's death. There yet remains a lot to be finished, but this building is already as intricate and spectacular on the inside as it is on the outside. All these decorations were purposefully planned by Gaudi to tell us the story of Christ by just looking at it. He designed three different facades to tell the story: the Nativity facade, the Passion facade, and the Glory Facade. Only the first one was finished by Gaudi himself, and the Glory Façade is under construction today. Once completed, there will be 8 more spires, and they will represent the twelve apostles, the four evangelists, the Virgin Mary, and Jesus Christ. The spire of Jesus will measure 170 metres, which will make La Sagrada Familia the tallest church in the world. The church was consecrated by Pope Benedict in 2010. If you go there and you have time for only one sightseeing outing in Barcelona, you should visit this magnificent church, which is definitely one of mankind's greatest architectural achievements. Gerengay Krisztián



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Tom Hiddleston

"Loki" in Thor

Because of the lack of documentation on acting there are only uncomfirmed theories about the evolution of acting.  It may have began around 4000 BC in Egypt when priests re-enacted some memories of the dead. Later acting lost its relation to religion as in China they brought back the glorious wars of the current emperor. The first time when acting obtained entertaining purpose was on the celebrations of Dionysus. According to the myth, Thespis was the first actor in history. The ancients Romans developed stage performances by relying greatly on the ancient Greek culture, then as time passed the present-day’s stage playes has slowly evolved and achieved its rightful place among 3D art.

Why can it be considered as 3D art although there is no process of „real” creation during the plays?
Let’s imagine the characters of a drama as a creation-to-be, and the personality of the actors as a working material. First, actors have to destroy their real personality in order to be able to fully devote themselves to their role. Second, they have to start forming the new person they have to become, and at the end of this process, a new being is born.

Although the actor will eventually „destroy” this character by reaching the end of the play, it is still considered an act of creating something temporarily existing.

One example of this creation is the work of Tom Hiddleston. He was born 9 february 1981 in Westminster, London. His mother’s profession as a stage manager and art administrator induced him at a very young age to start acting. From the age of 13 while studying at the famous Eton College he frequently appeared on the stage. Later he graduated from Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts with summa cum laude.

At the beginning of his career he mainly concentrated on stage plays ( 2005, Yorgjin Oxo: The Man; 2006, The Changeling; 2007, Cymbeline, etc.) he also had minor film roles. (2001, Armadillo; 2002, The Gathering Storm, 2005, A Vaste of Shame, etc.) His main stage roles are Cassio of Othello, Lvov of the West End revival of Ivanov, Lot of The Kingdom of Earth, Orestes of Electra, and this year (2013) he play the role of Coriolanus in the enactment of Shakespeare’s drama.

The breakout of his career happened when he worked together with Kenneth Branagh (director of the film ’The Avengers’) in Ivanov, and the director recognized the talent of the actor. He got the role of Loki, the antagonist of the Marvel Universe films, and as a result of this he became famous world-wide in the field of movies too.

Most of the roles he played in one way or another greatly differs from his own personality, still he is able to completely transform it in order to make his characters realistic. According to himself, the key of success is to understand a character on such a deep level that when one attacks the character’s actions, the actor can argue for them as they were his own.

Ledacs-Kiss Lilla


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Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-)

Waldspirale, c. 2000

Friedensreich Hundertwasser was born in 1928 in Vienna. His original surname was Stowasser, meaning ’hundred-water’, but he later ’germanised’ it. He had two chosen names, meaning ’Darkly Multi-coloured’ and ’Rainy Day’ (strange, as his works are famous for their colourfulness). His father was Catholic, and his mother was Jewish. During the Second World War they had to pretend the whole family was Catholic. Friedensreich even joined the Hitlerjugend to avoid any suspicion.

Hundertwasser was originally a painter; he spent three months at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. In the 1950s he turned to architecture and applied arts. He designed coins, stamps and flags. The Koru Flag, New Zealand’s secondary flag was designed by him. As a result of the events he had to suffer during the war, he developed strong anti-totalitarian views. Sometimes he gave nude speeches at exhibitions. He was a pro-environmentalist, as well, which becomes obvious by looking at his buildings. The Hundertwasserhaus, for example, has trees growing inside its rooms – creative, but it also caused some inconvenience for the people living there. He had a weird enthusiasm towards toilets – he designed some public toilets with crazy details, for example walls with built-in bottles, colourful tiles and plants on the roof. His love for toilets is summarised in his manifesto, ‘The Holy Shit’. He rejected straight lines, which probably has to do something with his opposition towards totalitarianism. The floors of the rooms in the Hundertwasserhaus are wavy; according to the artist, wavy floors are melody to the feet.

One of his most famous buildings is the Waldspirale, which can be found in Darmstadt, Germany, and the construction of which was started at the beginning of the 1990s and was finished after the death of Hundertwasser, around 2000. The Waldspirale is a residential building complex, which might seem unbelievable at first sight. The roof is no ordinary roof – it is a so-called green roof, where different plants, trees and flowers are planted on top of a building randomly, in order to imitate a forest. The complex contains 105 apartments, a cafe, bar and a kiosk. In the interior garden there is a playground for the children. The other strange thing about the design is the windows. No two windows are the same, even their handles are different. The colours are earth-toned, emphasising the environmentally-friendly concept. Some rooms are brightly decorated, but most of them remained regular apartments due to financial difficulties. The rejection of straight lines can be observed here, too, as the corners are completely rounded off, and this roundness is highlighted by the onion domes.

I chose Hundertwasser because his efforts to bring together functional art and fine art are quite unique. I first got to know about him at art class; our teacher showed us some pictures of his buildings and I immediately decided that I wanted to live in one of them, but soon I forgot the whole thing. I am glad that this class gave me an opportunity to rediscover and further enjoy his art. Kelemen Sara

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Ilija Ostapenko was a captain of the Soviet Army who was told to deliver an ultimatum to the German Army during the occupation of Budapest in 1944. The Germans rejected the ultimatum and sent Ostapenko back with a few men to escort him on the way, however, they were shot – no one knows if it was the Soviets or the Germans – however, Ostapenko has been made into a martyr.

Jenő Kerényi (20 November 1908 – 10 July 1975), the sculptor, known for having received numerous prizes, studied art from an early age and even received a scholarship to Italy. He was influenced by Etruscian art (mostly the large metal works), as well as Rodin, Bourdelle and Mallol (their figurines).He often made sculptures for commission, just like this one. The statue itself is 435 cm tall, and its plinth is about 650 cm tall. Originally, Ostapenko’s statue was around Balatoni út (where it met Budaörsi út, somewhere close to Sasadi út) and the place has often been reffered to as ’Osztyapenkó’ among many. The statue was removed from its original place in 1992 and can now be found at the Memento Park.

I chose this statue because I love the Memento Park and stories about Budapest and especially the 20th century Hungarian history, and I do recommend checking Memento Park out if one hasn’t already. Bihari Alexandra


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Cologne Cathedral

The High Cathedral of Saint Peter (Kölner Dom) is a Roman Catholic church in Germany, Cologne. It is a world heritage site attracting 20,000 tourists per day. The building is often described as the ’Perfect gothic cathedral’ since it has the characteristics of a gothic curch: spires, towers, huge coloured windows, buttresses, great internal height, etc. However, it was not always the same building as it is now.

The church has been built and renovated since the late Roman age, when the first christians assembled in Cologne. Thus, the place where the Cologne Cathedral was built has been ’home’ for various religious buildings since the 4th century. The earliest building may have been a grain store and it was followed by a Roman temple. These were the ’foundation-stones’ of today’s cathedral. However, the christian predecessor of the cathedral was built around 800, and it looked much like a romanesque church, named the Carolingian cathedral which had on each of its naves a transept and a choir. What is more, it had 2 altars, one for Saint Mary and the other for Saint Peter, who is the patron saint of the church. Under the archbishopric reign of Bruno (10th century), a northern and southern aisle were added to the nave. This was the first ’cathedral shape’ of the building, and it stood until the 13th century and underwent only small changes (internal decorations, renovation, etc.)

During the years, several buildings, small churches, chapels have been built near each other in the close area of the cathedral, each were bigger than its predecessor. Thus, the Cathedral was ’growing’ during the years.

Archbishop Rainald von Dassel brought the Relics of the Magi to Cologne in 1164, and the cathedral became the official church of the Cologne archbishop, and one of the most important pilgrimage churches in Europe. Therefore, it needed another form. The old cathedral had to be demolished before the building of the Gothic cathedral in 1248. When the builders tried to demolish the eastern choir by fire, the whole building burned down. The western parts were restored to be able to hold services there.

Later in 1322 the Gothic choir was consecrated. It had high vaults, and buttresses surrounded the building in order to back up the walls. During the building and the renovation, services could be held in the church. Moreover, important works of art which had already been in the old cathedral as e.g. the Gero cross and the Shrine of the Magi were placed in the new building. Saints and important archbishops were buried in the new choir chapels.

After the Gothic choir was finished, the two aisles of the nave were built and two storeys of the southern tower. Until approximately 1530, works on the cathedral continued and the building was equipped with furniture. Then the lack of money and interest stopped the building, but the interior decoration was continued during the years. In 1794 the troops of the French revolution marched into Cologne and the archbishop fled from the city. After that time the cathedral was used for many years for various purposes: i.e. as a warehouse. Then in 1801 it was opened again as a church.


The people of Cologne adored the building so much that in 1842 many forces united in order to start the renovation of the cathedral. They got money from the Prussians and the citizens of Cologne also started collecting money for the building. That time, the renovation was very intensive and effective, and the builders strictly followed the medieval plans but used modern architectural techniques. In 1864, almost all of the church was finished. Many wooden parts of the building were replaced by iron construction. In 1880, both towers were finished, and the building finally gained its modern appearance.

During WW II, the Cathedral was hit by 14 bombs, but it survived the hardships of the war.

After it, the cathedral had to be reconstructed which lasted for decades. Modern construction styles were used. The most significant example for it is the modern crossing tower (formed by C.C. Architect Willy Weyres and sculptor Erlefried Hoppe). Today, some ’war wounds’ are still waiting for renovation, plus, the damages caused by weather and pollution (black colour, erosion of the stones). That’s why the building is called an ’eternal construction site’.

The cathedral stands next to the Rhine and it is home for the seat of the archbishop of Cologne. It is 144,5 m long, 86,5 m wide and the window surface area is 8000 m2. The towers are approx. 157 m tall. There are 11 bells in it, the largest weighs 24 tons, and it is called St Peter's Bell (St. Petersglocke - Great bell of Germany), which is the largest free-swinging bell in the world.

The master builder of the cathedral has to be Catholic and free from vertigo. There is a team of 80 people who are responsible for the renovation works (stonemasons, scaffold makers, roofers, locksmiths, carpenters, blacksmiths, electricians, painters, archaeologists, etc.)

The current master builder of the cathedral is Michael Hauck. Before him, it was Barbara Schock-Werner who did many things for the cathedral’s renovation. According to her, the purpose behind the building was not to glorify the archbishop of Cologne but an effort to give the Christians a picture of heaven. It is true, because gothic art’s aim was to build high and ’thin’ shape buildings which rise towards the direction of heaven.

I choose this building since I’ve been to Cologne in 2012 and I saw it with my own eyes. The sheer spectacle of the building was stunning and amazing. This is the reason why I really like gothic art: it is elegant, detailed and elaborate. Soós Gabriella


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Ödön  Lechner (1845-1914)

St Ladislaus Church of Kőbánya, 1894-9

St Ladislaus Church of Kőbánya is located in the tenth district of Budapest and it was designed by Ödön Lechner.

Ödön Lechner was born in 1845 in Pest and he died in 1914 in Budapest. He studied architecture in Budapest, Berlin, and also in Italy. He was one of the early representatives of the Hungarian secessionist movement along with his former schoolmate, Gyula Pártos whom he worked together with numerous times. Lechner spent three years in Paris; that is where he became familiar with the art nouveau style. He returned to Budapest in 1879 and he started taking on projects right away. He was highly influenced by art nouveau, but he also used eastern and oriental features in his works, along with Hungarian folk motives. His style differs from the Vienna Secession style; the use of curved shapes and bold colours make his works stand out. He was also very innovative when it came to using new materials in his buildings. The most important collaboration to be mentioned is the connection to the Zsolnay factory. He used beautiful glazed tiles, roof tiles, and wall decorations on his buildings. He was closely involved in the development of these products and these make his works so very unique. His works include the city halls of Szeged and Kecskemét, as well as the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest and the Geological Institute.

St Ladislaus Church was built between 1894 and 1899. It is located in the 10th district of Budapest. The church was severely damaged in the Second World War. The Germans used the bell tower as a shooting tower; the Russians used it as a stall, so the church had its fair share of suffering from the war. Since there was no money to renovate the church, it remained in poor condition until a fire in 1957 almost completely destroyed it. The renovations couldn't start until 1974 and they lasted until 1994. The church is now listed as a scheduled monument. The bell tower is 83 meters tall and it is the highest bell tower in the city. The church covers 1500 square meters; it consists of three aisles which means that the passageway to either side of the nave is separated with a row of columns. Five hundred different kind of bricks were used in the construction and the building is decorated with the famous Zsolnay tiles.

I chose this church because I see it almost every day. No matter how sleepy or tired I am, or how foggy or dark it is outside, I always take a second to look at it. The beautiful colours and the impressive ornaments make it stand out from the otherwise quite sad and grey environment. Göcze Borbála

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The Petrovaradin Fortress is in Petrovaradin (its Hungarian name is Pétervárad) which is located near Novi Sad (Újvidék), on the right bank of the river Danube. The fortress’ construction started in 1962 and it was finished in 1780. In 1687 the Austrian troops captured Petrovaradin after 150 years of Turkish control. They had destoyed the old fortress and started building a new one. The Turks tried to win it back but they weren’t successful. There were two important battles in the area, in 1691 in Slankamena and in 1697 in Senta , and the Turks were defeated both times. In 1694 they left the area but they came back 20 years later. On 5 August 1716 the Turks attacked the fortress but again, they were deafeated by Prince Eugene’s army.

After these battles, the fortress wasn’t used for military purposes. Nowadays, a big music festival is held here called Exit. Also, in the fortress there is a clock, which is out of the ordinary because it’s big hand and little hand are reversed, so the big hand shows the hours and the little the minutes. Because of this, it’s often referred to as the Reversed Clock. The point of this was that a long time ago, fishermen could see the exact time from a very long distance.

There are a lot of mysteries and legends connected to the fortress. Many say that it’s haunted because a lot of people claimed that they saw ghosts, shadows or mists moving. Others said they heard screaming or footsteps. These phenomena are said to have occurred in the fortress’ underground system and near a building which functioned as a prison and a lot of people were killed or tortured there. In 2011 Ghost Hunters International came to Petrovaradin to find out whether there are ghosts. They made an episode about it and they claimed that they found supernatural phenomena here.

A lot of books have been written in connection with the fortress’ mysteries. A Serbian scientist, Veljko Milković wrote 4 books on this topic. In his first book which is called ’Petrovaradin through legend and reality’ he tries to find out which legends are true and which are not. He mentions a secret tunnel under the Danube, and a possibility that there was a hidden underground gallery where valuables from the Vienna Court were placed. In his book he also wrote about the fact that there are huge reptiles in the underground tunnels.

I chose this topic because I was there this summer and for me its history and mysteries are really interesting. It’s also a beautiful place to walk around and the view from it is magnificent especially at night when Novi Sad lights up. Tóth Andrea



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Giuseppe Piermarini

Teatro alla Scala, 1778

The Teatro alla Scala was planned by Giuseppe Piermarini. A year after the Scala was built he became the architect of the Imperial Kingdom, later a professor of the Brera Academy. The building is the successor of the Teatro Regio Ducale, which was destroyed by a fire in 1776. Consequentially, Piermarini was commissioned to build a new “teatro” to replace the old one. Maria Theresa accepted only only his second plan.

The name of the building comes from the fact that is was built upon the place where formerly the church of Santa Maria alla Scala stood.

The building of La Scala went through several internal reconstructions since its inauguration in 1778. The facade is the part of it which suffered the least modifications compared to Piermarini's original plan.

Inside, it contains 3000 seats divided to 678 pit-stalls, on 4 floors, there are 2 galleries in addition to these. The boxes were sold after the inauguration, in order to cover the expenses. The owners of the boxes could decorate them according to their own tastes, but later, during the reconstructions the boxes were unified. The stage has the form of a horseshoe, it is one of the largest stages in Italy. At the time of Piermarini there were neither seats on the ground-floor, nor an orchestra pit. The orchestra pit was added only in the 20th century.

The building was reconstructed and renovated several times, but the major one was which was lead by Mario Botta, between 2002 and 2004.  The backstage became enlarged, the sound quality and acoustics became even better. The seats were also improved: monitors were added to them with an electronic libretto system, on which the audience can follow the libretto in the original language plus both in English and Italian. The re-opening after the renovation was on 7th December 2004, where Muti directed the very same opera that was performed at the 1778 inauguration of the building: Europa riconosciuta by Salieri.

The Scala is one of the most important opera houses in the world, almost each of the most famous opera singers have performed there, including Callas, Tebaldi, Pavarotti, Domingo, Carreras etc. Kiss Veronika

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Marc Quinn (1964 -)

Matter into Light: The Discovery of Fire, 2011

Bronze, concrete, steel, bioethanol


Marc Quinn was born in 1964 in Britain, contemporary visual artist. Member of the loose group of Young British Artists who started exhibiting together since the late 1980s, and which is famous for using “shock tactics;” exploring new materials, like trash; taking an oppositional view and exploring innovative techniques.

Quinn studied History of Art at Robinson College, Cambridge, some of his works – paintings and sculptures are made with experimental techniques, (ex.: 3D printing, or of his own blood); most of them are very colourful and playful, radiating with sexuality. His works are very symbolical, he uses well known motives and creates new ones. His favourite topics are the mutability of human body; and the dualisms of human life: spiritual and physical, surface and depth, cerebral and sexual.

His sculpture Matter into Light: The Discovery of Fire was made in 2011 and first exhibited in Norway at his solo exhibition in the Kistefos Museum. It is made of several materials, such as cobalt-plated bronze, concrete, stainless steel, cement board, and bioethanol liquid.

The two main figures are two skeletons in a position that indicates sexual intercourse. The set is placed on a concrete pedestal with fire on it, which might refer to an altar of an ancient religion. We can think of the rituals and offerings of prehistoric times to increase the fertility of the crops, domestic animals, and women of course.

In this work the topic of dualism also can be discovered, in the form of symbols of life and death. In art sexuality is always a reference to creation, new life; while the skeletons mean death that is present at the same time. The fire represents the creating ad all consuming passion in a more abstract form, since fire does not belong to the material world. The viewer can discover that this creative power – not just the sexual desire – is how deeply constituted in human nature; even when flesh and blood, the genitals are ripped off, it is still there, and still pushes forward. Which can be interpreted as the creative power of the artist, but also in a broader sense as the never ceasing ambition of all humans.

I personally prefer to interpret it in a broader meaning, because the artist didn't made this work of his only for himself. Art is what it can tell to its audience, if it has nothing to give, than it is worth nothing. But now with this sculpture, this is not the case. I hope, I could present some aspects of its rich meanings and challenge people to do further interpretation on their own. Lévai Piroska

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Sankt Peter


St. Peter's Church in Munich, or Alter Peter (Old Peter)

Its nickname derives from the fact that the history of this building is considered to be older than the city itself. There used to be a Merovingian monastery at that place from the 9th century, while the city was officially founded in 1158. Munich grew out of this monastery, and it got its name after the monks, so the place is basically the heart of Munich. There used to be a Romanesque church with one tower, then it was changed to two huge towers when the Gothic style became dominant. The beautiful medieval cathedral burnt down in 1327 in a huge fire that afflicted medieval Munich. They waited long years with the reconstruction, the church only got a new tower in the late 17th century. Later the church was adorned with Baroque altars and a choir. St. Peter's church got entirely ruined during the 2nd World War and was rebuilt in the 1950s with the help of American funds. Some altars and walls survived the attack, and these little pieces from different eras were put together in an interesting way. Some things were placed strictly as they were before, yet some things are now very different. The church clock is the same, it was put back asymmetrically, as it was originally. On the outside, the artists stuck closely to the traditional, simple German style, it seems a very modest church with a narrow tower, but once we go in, there awaits an extremely colorful and fascinating interior. There are several altars and paintings from different eras, low and high Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque that create a great mixture of styles and ideas, but they somehow suit each other. For example, the main altar was originally Erasmus Grasser's work and was made after Bernini's famous baroque altar, and there are many surviving wall paintings too that can be attributed to Jan Polack, whose style differs from that of Bernini, yet these pieces are put together in a way that it is still pleasing to the eye of the viewer. The overall impression is not a chaotic image, but the very essence of European modernism - the reinterpretation of the art of the previous eras, using old material to make something new, putting known things into new and interesting contexts. Using the old bricks to build a different church for different times.

Rózsa Ida


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Schönbrunn Palace


The Schönbrunn imperial palace complex is one of the most important cultural monuments in Austria. The complex consists of the palace, the park with its fountains, statues and architectural features, and the zoo. The palace was added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List at the end of 1996.

The history of Schönbrunn goes back to the middle ages.  Originally from the beginning of the 14th century it was called Kattenburg, and it belonged to the manor of the monastery at Klosterneuburg. It had a water-mill together with a farm and vineyards. In 1569 it came into imperial possession through Emperor Maximilian II. The gardens were created by Maximilian. The gardens provided space for exotic fowl such as peafowl and turkeys. In 1576 the Katterburg passed to Rudolph II. Emperor Matthias used the estate for hunting. According to a legend is supposed to have come across the Schöne Brunnen (means 'fair spring'), which eventually gave the estate its name on a hunting excursion in 1612. Emperor Ferdinand II, and his wife, Eleonora von Gonzaga used the palace as the venue for their hunting parties. After Ferdinand's death, the estate became the dower residence of his art-loving widow. In 1683 Turkish troops destroyed the palace and its park during the siege of Vienna. Later Emperor Leopold I built a new residence for his son. In 1700 the central section had been completed. Fischer von Erlach was responsible for the designing of the palace and for the construction work. Charles VI gave the palace to his daughter Maria Theresa as a gift. The Schönbrunn palace became the centre of court and political life. Under her personal influence and the supervision of the architect Nikolaus Pacassi, the hunting lodge was rebuilt and extended into a palatial residence. In 1747 a theatre was also built in the North Parade Court wing. There are two galleries which provided space for large-scale festivities: the Great Gallery and the Small Gallery (used for family celebrations). The two galleries were given vaulted, frescoed ceilings and exuberant stucco-work decoration, becoming one of the most important Rococo interiors ever created. The frescoes were executed by Gregorio Guglielmi , and the stucco decoration was created by Albert Bolla. Most of the rooms on the garden side of the palace were also given typical Rococo decoration displaying exuberant, playful forms known as rocailles, with mirrors and paintings set into the walls. On the ground floor Maria Theresa had the so-called Bergl Rooms painted with exotic landscape. She used these rooms during the hot summer months. The last project was the designing and laying out of the gardens under the supervision of court architect Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg. He constructed architectural features in the park such as the Gloriette, the Neptune Fountain, the Roman Ruin and the Obelisk Fountain. After Maria Theresa the Scönbrunn palace was used as a summer residence of Emperor Franz. During this intervening period Schönbrunn was occupied twice by Napoleon. Probably that was the time when the palace was painted in the shade now known as 'Schönbrunn Yellow'. Elisabeth's apartments, who were the wife of Emperor Ferdinand I, consisted of several rooms centred on the empress's salon in which she received her personal visitors. There is a marital bedroom, a dressing room and the Stairs Cabinet, which was her study.

From 1869, in preparation for the impending World exhibition to be held in Vienna in 1873, work was undertaken on the 18th-century Rococo interiors, which were either repaired or replaced with neo-Rococo features as an expression of imperial style. This restoration work affected the two galleries and the rooms in the east wing, which were to be used for high-ranking visitors. The walls of these guest rooms were hung either with tapestries from the imperial collection or refurbished with new red silk pineapple damask wall-hangings. Kamras Elvira


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Thomas Thornycroft (1815-1855)
Statue of Boudicca, 1902
Commissioned by Prince Albert
Victoria Embankment, London

Thomas Thornycroft (19 May 1815 – 30 August 1885) was an English sculptor and engineer. He was born at Great Tidnock, to John Thornycroft, a farmer. After moving to London, he became an assistant to the sculptor John Francis. Later in his life, he worked with his son John Isaac Thornycroft on steam launches. His works include two bronze statues of barons who signed the Magna Carta, an over-life-sized equestrian statue of Queen Victoria, several memorials to Prince Albert, as well as the statue of Boudicca.   

Boudicca’s statue stands in the heart of London, on the bank of the river Thames, near the Parliament building, at Victoria Embankment. It was placed there in 1902, when it was finally cast in bronze. The exact date when Thornycroft started working on it is unknown, but it was already in progress in 1864. The monument, installed on a plinth, depicts Boudicca and her two daughters on a war chariot with scythed wheels, drawn by two horses. The statue was commissioned by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria. In the Victorian era, Boudicca’s legend was revived, and as a great heroine protecting the nation, she became a symbol of the British Empire.

In the first century AD, there lived a Celtic tribe called the Iceni in Britain, in today’s territory of Norfolk and Suffolk. After the Roman occupation of Britain in 43 AD, most Celtic tribes were subdued. Some, however, could retain their independence to a certain degree. Such was the case with the Iceni, whose king at the time was Prasutagus, a friend and trading partner of the Romans. Prasutagus had a long and prosperous reign, and in his will he left half of his kingdom to his wife Boudicca, and his two daughters, the other half to the Roman emperor, hoping that it would be enough for the Romans to leave the tribe in peace. His will was ignored, however, and the Romans ravaged the lands of the Iceni, took their cattle and enslaved many of their people. Boudicca was flogged, her two daughters were raped.

In 60 AD she organized a revolt against the Roman Empire, which included not only her own tribe, but the surrounding smaller ones as well. The Romans, concentrating on fighting the Druids in Anglesey, were initially unable to face the armies of the Warrior Queen. Boudicca marched on and attacked major Roman cities: Camulodunum (Colchester), Londinium (London), which was burnt down, and Verulamium (St. Albans). Despite her initial success, she ultimately failed; she was defeated in the Battle of Watling Street, and killed herself on the battlefield. Nevertheless, she made Emperor Nero consider retreat from Britain.

Some find her status as a symbol of the British Empire somewhat ironic, since she herself was trying to rid Britain of the Roman Empire, and now her statue is watching over the city she once razed to the ground.

I chose this statue because it connects Celtic history with Roman history, the two branches of history I am most interested in. Parall Richárd

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Vasa was a Swedish warship built in the 17th century. It sank on its maiden voyage, not far from the harbor of Stockholm. It remained there, forgotten in the cold and dark water for 333 years. It was only discovered in the 1950s and salvaged in 1961. Since then a whole museum has been built to preserve this huge and surprisingly intact ship, which is actually the only one from that era (an astonishing 95% percent of the ship is completely original).
In 1626 King Gustavus Adolphus decided to raise a mighty fleet. To display his strength, he wanted several splendid flagships. The first of these to be finished was the Vasa. Constructing it took 2 years, 1000 oak trees, 64 state of the art cannons, approximately 500 sculptures, and a considerable workforce among whom there must had been several expert sculptors and many apprentices. The chief builder was a Dutchman, named Henrik Hybertsson. After his death, his assistant Henrik Jakobsson was put in charge. Both of them however was carefully supervised by the king himself, who even redesigned some parts of the ship (he added a second gun deck). Unfortunately he didn't know that his interference would cause the ship to be top-heavy, thus highly unstable. This is one of the reasons why the ship sank so miserably. (The other reason is a simple mistake actually. The captain left the gun ports open, so when the ship was caught in a gust of wind, water poured in.)
The conventionally artistic side of the ship is obviously the ornamentation. Its goal is to glorify authority, and to some degree frighten/impress enemies. Little is known about the sculptors. One of them was Mĺrten Redtmer, whose style was identified. Some of the sculptures are renassaince idealizations of Roman and Greek antiquity, "imported" by the Dutch and German artists. On the beakhead for example there are 19 (1 is lost) figures depicting Roman emperors from Tiberius to Septimus Severus. All of these are to be identified with Gustavus Adolphus. Furthermore, there is a portrait of him being crowned by two Griffins. Other sculptures are in Dutch grotesque style. These are mostly mermaids, wildmen, or only faces.
At present, all of the ship is bare wood, almost blackened by the years and by the injected preserving chemicals. Originally though, it was painted quite vividly. On some newer paintings the back of the ship is shown as being mostly gilded, and painted blue on the sides, but this was not so. The ship was not decorated according to early baroque, but rather late medieval style, which involves colourful figures.
Lastly, my reasons for choosing this ship as a work of art: First of all, to me art certainly involves the ancient point of view "techné" meaning technical skill, craftsmanship. To me, a wooden ship like this, swiftly driven by the wind is the definition of gracefulness. This ship is a remarkable piece of engineering (even as top-heavy as it is), but not only that. It is also artistic in a more modern sense, because everything about it is beautiful. Also, I am shocked by the fact that this was a warship. This is something very human, and romantic. Investing time and effort into something, despite knowing that it is bound to be destroyed. It is much like life
. Sajben Marton


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