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Alfred Altdorfer (c.1480-1538)

The battle of Alexander at Issus (1529)

Oil painting on Panel

158.4 cm x 120.3 cm (62.4 in x 47.4 in)

The Battle of Alexander at Issus was commissioned by William the 4th of Bavaria and his spouse Jakobaea of Baden, as part of a set of historical pieces that was to hang in his Munich residence. The painting had many owners; some of them very famous, for instance Napoleon I, who was a noted admirer of Alexander the Great. “The Louvre held it until 1804, when Napoleon declared himself the Emperor of France and took it for his own use /…/ The Battle of Issus was restored to the king of Bavaria in 1815”. It later passed from the royal collection to Alte Pinakothek art museum in Munich, Germany, where it remains.

Albrecht Altdorfer (c. 1480 – February 12, 1538) was a German painter, engraver and architect of the Renaissance working in Regensburg”. He acquired an interest in art from his father. “The exact date and place of Albrecht Altdorfer's birth are unknown, although he was associated with the Bavarian city of Regensburg for almost all of his life”. He was the guiding spirit and one of the main representatives of the Danube school of painting. His early figure paintings show a growing preoccupation with landscape, until in “St. George and the Dragon” (1510) the knight is practically overwhelmed by the primeval forest in which he performs his feat.

His favorite subject was the leafy and impenetrable forests of Germany and Austria. “He was also among the first to depict sunset lighting and picturesque ruins in twilight. Several of his altar panels in the Church of St. Florian near Linz, completed in 1518, depicting the Passion of Christ and the martyrdom of St. Sebastian, are night scenes in which he exploited the possibilities of torch light, star light, or twilight with unusual brilliance”. Altdorfer’s masterpiece, the “Battle of Alexander at Issus” (1529; Alte Pinakothek, Munich), is both a battle scene of incredible detail and a highly dramatic and expressive landscape.

The Battle of Alexander at Issus is painted on a limewood panel and portrays the moment of Alexander the Great's victory; being more specific, it depicts the turning point of the battle. As some might have noticed, the soldiers on the foreground are still fighting, unaware that at the very moment Darius III of Persia had turned his chariot away from the battlefield and is being chased by Alexander the Great and his soldiers.

The vertical format was dictated by the space available in the room for which the painting was commissioned – each in William's set of eight was made to be the same size. At an unknown date, the panel was cut down on all sides, particularly at the top, so the sky was originally larger and the moon further from the corner of the scene. The scene is approached from an impossible viewpoint – at first only feet from the fray, the perspective gradually ascends to encompass the seas and continents in the background and eventually the curvature of the Earth itself.

Thousands of horse and foot soldiers immersed in a sea of spears and lances populate the foreground. The two armies are distinguished by their dress, anachronistic though it is: whereas Alexander's men clad themselves and their horses in full suits of heavy armor, many of Darius' wear turbans and ride naked mounts. The bodies of the many fallen soldiers lie underfoot. A front of Macedonian warriors in the center pushes against the crumbling enemy force, who flee the battlefield on the far left. The Persian king joins his army on his chariot of three horses, and is narrowly pursued by Alexander and his uniformly attired Companion cavalry. The tract of soldiers continues down the gently sloped battlefield to the campsite and cityscape by the water, gravitating toward the mountainous rise at the scene's center.

“Beyond are the Mediterranean Sea and the island of Cyprus. Here, a transition in hue is made, from the browns that prevail in the lower half of the painting to the aquas that saturate the upper half. The Nile Rivermeanders in the far distance, emptying its seven arms into the Mediterranean at the Nile Delta. South of Cyprus is the Sinai Peninsula, which forms a land bridge between Africa and Southwest Asia. The Red Sea lies beyond, eventually merging – as the mountain ranges to its left and right do – with the curved horizon”.

“The painting's subject is explained in the tablet suspended from the heavens. The wording, probably supplied by William's court historian Johannes Aventinus, was originally in German but was later replaced by a Latin inscription. It translates:

Alexander the Great defeating the last Darius, after 100,000 infantry and more than 10,000 cavalrymen had been killed amongst the ranks of the Persians. Whilst King Darius was able to flee with no more than 1,000 horsemen, his mother, wife, and children were taken prisoner”.

I chose this picture because I find its highly detailed and complex composition absolutely magical and genius. Gusyachikin Anastasia


“Altdorfer, Albrecht”. WebMuseum:. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2014.

The Editors of Encyclopćdia Britannica. “Albrecht Altdorfer (German Artist)”. Encyclopedia   Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2014.

“The Battle of Alexander at Issus”. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Feb. 2014. Web. 02            Mar. 2014.


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Hyeronimus Bosch (1450?-1516)

The Garden of Earthly Delights (1504)

Triptych and shutters: Oil on panel

Central penal: 220X195 cm; Wings: 220X97 cm

Museo del Prado

Hyeronimus Bosch was a uniquely gifted and genius painter of Dutch origin, born in Hertogenbosch, located in the southern part of the Netherlands. That is where he got his name from, as originally he was not called Bosch, but his whole name was Jheronimus van Aken. He was born in about 1450 and died most certainly in 1516. His father and uncle bequeathed to him a strongly religious belief system and they also cultivated in him his artistic inclinations. His father was actually the artistic adviser to the town's religious confraternity, the Illustrious Brotherhood of Our Blessed Lady, which Hyeronimus also joined in his life. Consequently, religion and art became firmly intertwined for him.

We do not know many biographical data about his life; however he left to the after-ages a series of remarkable and extraordinary paintings. These prove him an artist who defied any art form before and in his time. He was a revolutionarily groundbreaking artist with an outstandingly autonomous style. Although he painted in the era of Renaissance, he is often considered a forerunner of surrealism because of the vision-like, grotesque, associative and turbulent fantasy characteristics of his artworks.

His paintings can be grouped into three categories. Firstly, there are his early paintings in which he depicted humanity's vulnerability to the temptation of evil, the deceptive allure of sin, lust, heresy and obscenity. In these works of art calm and prosaic settings are filled with people who exemplify the absurdities of the human race. However, the imagery was mostly conventional with only the occasional intrusion of the bizarre in the appearance of an intruding demon or magician.

His middle period was marked by an eruption of fantasy, monstrous apocalyptic scenes of chaos and nightmare, in which humanity falls prey to the before-mentioned alluring sins. These images are contrasted and juxtaposed with idyllic portrayals of mankind in the age of innocence. In this era of his artistic life, he created his famous panoramic triptychs (three-panel paintings). These demonstrate a disconcerting mixture of reality and fantasy, life uncorrupted and corrupted.

His later works are fundamentally different. These are mostly close-ups with densely compacted groups of people. They also communicate more calmness and peacefulness and sometimes even represent saints in repose and contemplation.

The Garden of Earthly Delights:

His probably most famous painting depicts the biblical history of the world from the 3rd day of creation to the Day of the Final Judgment, within which it also presents the progression of sins: Sloth, Vanity, ·Gluttony, ·Avarice, ·Lust, ·Envy and ·Wrath

On its outer wings the globe is painted on the 3rd day of creation and is contained in an opaque crystal sphere, which might symbolize the fragility of the human world. It is painted with grisaille technique, that is, in monochrome style: in one color or in shades of one color.

By looking at it more closely one can see God in the upper-left corner reading a book, which aids him in calling the world into existence. As the word of God descends the material world is created, which will eventually be tainted and corrupted through humankind's sins, which process can be seen on the inner panels.

On the three inner panels there is a whirlwind of extraordinary, confusing and insane images. The left side the Garden of Eden is enlivened by many fantastical and real creatures, some of whom already show some signs of aberration, foreshadowing the oncoming of the deviation of the human race. On the central panel Adam and Eve's progeny frolic unselfconsciously, engaging in the seven deadly sins. This part of the painting is sensually and sexually overloaded.

The right-wing panel is the most unsettling one, being cluttered with the punishments of people for their sinful behavior. And here comes the hind-and-seek part of the different details:

         The prideful woman will spend eternity staring at her reflection on the backside of a devil, while being fondled by another demonic creature, being recognized for her beauty.

         Gluttons are consumed and defecated by the enormous bird-like creature, and fall into a pit of vomit.

         The greedy man shoots gold coins into the same pool.

         Hunters are now hunted; the huge rabbit injured and is now carrying a man. This represents the idea that the whole world is now upside-down; nothing is as it was and supposed to be.

         The slothful man on the right is visited by demons in his bed.

         The knight somewhere in the middle is threatened to be eaten by hellish creatures, probably for his violent warlike lifestyle.

         The tumultuous group in the foreground suffers for the excesses of gambling.

 Everything in this picture is either out of proportion or is not functioning as it should. For instance, musical instruments are enlarged and used as tools of torture.  Everything is in absolute chaos.

And finally, here comes a song based on the musical notes painted on the bottom of one of the people pushed to the ground by, and stuck under, a huge musical instrument. It gives an idea to us regarding the sort of music the artist imagined being played on the Day of Apocalypse:

The reason why I choose this painting is because this is one of those that made the greatest impression on me when first seeing it. Moreover, its quality of being detailed makes it exactly like an interesting and intriguing piece of writing: by rereading it one can always find something new and meaningful in it. Szujó Dóra


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Csontváry Kosztka, Tivadar (1853-1919)

Traui tájkép naplemente idején, 1899

Oil on canvas, 34.5 x 66.5 cm

In private collection


Tivadar Kosztka Csontváry was born on 5 July 1853 in Kisszeben, Hungary (today Slovakia), and died 20 June 1919 in Budapest. His ancestors were Poles who settled in Hungary. Although Csontváry was obsessed with his Hungarian roots, he grew up speaking Slovak mixed with German. He was a pharmacist until his twenties when his painting career started in an unusual way. On the hot sunny afternoon of 13 October 1880, when he was 27 years old, he sat down to rest for a minute in front of the pharmacy he was working at, and he started doodling the wagon with an ox on the other side of the street in front of him on the back of a prescription paper. When the pharmacy-keeper saw the drawing, he exclaimed “You were born to be a painter!” Then, according to his autobiography, a black triangle appeared in his palm and he could hear a voice above his head saying "You will be the greatest sunway painter, greater than Raphael!"

So, the next year, in 1881, he traveled to Rome and visited the galleries of the Vatican to investigate and study Raphael’s works. This is where he became fully aware of his calling as a painter, and where his ideas for his big future travels and for some of his works were conceived.

From 1890, he traveled around the world. He visited Paris, the Mediterraneum (Dalmatia, Italy, Greece), North Africa and in the Middle East Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt and Syria and painted pictures. Often his pictures are very large, 5mx5m is not unusual.

He started to study and take lessons in painting regularly only at the age of 41. He studied in Munich, Karlsruhe, Düsseldorf and Paris, but mainly he was a self-taught painter.

He painted his major works between 1903 and 1909. He had some exhibitions in Paris (1907) and Western Europe. Most of the critics in Western Europe recognized his abilities, art and talent, but in the Kingdom of Hungary during his life, he was considered to be an eccentric crank for several reasons, e. g. for his vegetarianism, anti-alcoholism, anti-smoking, pacifism, and his cloudy, prophetic writings and pamphlets about his life, genius and religious philosophy. Some of his biographists considered this as a latent, but increasingly disruptive schizophrenia. Although he was later acclaimed, during his lifetime Csontváry found little understanding for his visionary, expressionistic style.

His art connects with post-impressionism and expressionism, but he was an autodidact and cannot be classified into one style. He identified as a "sunway"-painter, a term which he created.

Some critics say the term “sunway” means the presence and cooperation of light and air together. He was interested in the fact that as the sun travels the sky, the sunlight has different effects at different times of the day and wanted to observe and record these effects, changes and different stages accurately. According to his theory, the sun gives energy to the ground and the ground gives part of this energy back to the sun, and the colors in his paintings testify this constant energy flux.

This quote from the website of the Hungarian National Gallery explains the essence of Csontváry’s sunway paintings perfectly.

“One of the central problems of Csontváry's oeuvre was the objective possibility and subjective ability of painting light, first of all sunlight. In his nocturnal pictures he also examines the nature of light from a very modern point of view. Csontváry was preoccupied by night not because of the darkness, nor because of its mysticism or romantically animated symbolism. His pictures are about electric light, or the conflict of electric and natural light effects. In all his nocturnal pictures man-made artificial light and people moving at ease in the dark have distinguished roles. The fishermen, café guests, workers at the power plant, people idling around the railway station in other night-scenes fill the realm devoid of sunlight with life just as naturally as do the idyllically naive figures of the promenade in Athens. In his day pictures light consecrates the landscape, and divine energy radiates to the earth from the fantastically colourful skies, but Csontváry leaves the night to man as a human territory.” (Hungarian National Gallery)

The official Hungarian title of the painting is Traui tájkép naplemente idején, or in English something like “Trau landscape during sunset.” But there is debate about whether this is the original title. The picture is part of a series of five paintings completed between 1899 and 1900 in a town called Trau, today Trogir in Croatia.

The place where the picture was painted can be determined exactly. The bridge is the one that connects the old city of Trogir with the Island of Chiovo, and on this painting we can see the buildings along the shore of the Island. The buildings are reflected in the water as well as the fishing boats, and the street lamps. There is also a human figure almost in the middle of the picture.

I decided to choose a painting by Csontváry because I wanted to introduce a Hungarian artist, and I have been to the Csontváry Gallery in Pécs, so I was familiar with his works to an extent. I have chosen this particular painting of Csontváry because it is sort of a current topic since it appeared publicly only recently in November 2012, after 113 years of “hiding” in private collections. It was sold at an auction in December 2012 for 240.000.000 Ft, which counts as a record price in Hungary. Kónya Rebeka


“Csontváry Kosztka, Tivadar - Pleasure Drive in Athens by the Light of a New Moon.” Magyar Nemzeti Galéria. Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <>


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Salvador Dalí

Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus), 1954

Oil on canvas Physical data: 194,3 cm x 123,8 cm

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domčnech, 1st Marqués de Dalí de Pubol, was a Spanish-Catalan surrealist painter.

Surrealism was a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for its visual artworks and writings. The aim was to "resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality." Artists painted unnerving, illogical scenes with photographic precision, created strange creatures from everyday objects and developed painting techniques that allowed the unconscious to express itself. Features element of surprise unexpected juxtaposition, non sequitur (does not follow). Dali followed for a while, however, there was a change in his style.

It happened in the 1940-1950s. His interest in surrealism decreased or completely diminished, instead he has got fascinated with nuclear science, partly because the recent bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He said: “The atomic explosion of 6 August (1945) shook me seismically, thenceforth, the atom was my favourite food for thought”.

He developed then a new style, philosophy on his own, the nuclear mysticism. He outlined it in an essay, Mystical Manifesto (1951). This new theory of art that combined religion, mathematics, science, and Catalan culture in an attempt to revive classical values and techniques.

The painting is oil on canvas. As nuclear mysticism implies, classical elements are featured as well as ideas inspired by math and science. Examples of the former are the drapery of clothing, and the Caravagesque lighting of Jesus. Although he left the surrealist movement, there are still dreamlike features, for example the levitating Jesus and  the giant chessboard under him.

Examining the painting carefully reveals that the face  of Jesus is not shown. Dali did so in his other painting, Christ of St John of the Cross. The point of this is to leave only the “metaphysical beauty of Christ-God”.

In the the background, the  bay of Porta Ligat is depicted, a place in Catalonia where Dali had a house and lived for most of his life. This is also a reference to Catalonia.

If one takes a careful look at the knees, he or she will realize that those are extremely detailed. This is because there are portraits of gala (on the right) and dali (left) painted. his might symbolize that he accepted Jesus as his saviour.

The most striking feature of the painting is probably the strange geometrical structure above which Jesus levitates, the hypercube or tesseract. It serves as a geometric symbol for the transcendental nature of God. As God lives in a place incomprehensible for humans the hypercube exists in four spatial dimensions, which is also inaccessible to the mind. However,  the painting is only two dimension, which is a symbol again. It represents Christ in a human form of God. The original title, Corpus Hypercubus can either refer to Christ’s corpse or the geometric forms. It is obvious that Crucifixion features a vast number of cubes. There are the aforementioned hypercubes, the chessboard under Christ and Gala stands on one.

The fact that Christ is levitating and  not fixed to the cross means that he rises above Earthly hate and suffering.

The woman in the bottom left corner is Gala depicted as  Mary Magdalena (or maybe as Holy Mary). She was Dali’s wife, and looks  up to Jesus on the painting. Dalí thought of her as the "perfect union of the development of the hypercubic octahedron on the human level of the cube". He used her as a model because "the most noble beings were painted by Velázquez and Zurbarán. [He] only [approaches] nobility when painting Gala, and nobility can only be inspired by the human being.

Finally,the hidden geometry of the picture is also stunning. There are a lot of vertical lines, mostly due to the hypercubes. Those  possibly evoke feelings of stability and  monument. Two triangles are formed as well, one consists Jesus (his arms and legs), which is pointing down with the other, made up of Gala, looking up. The triangle facing up gives feelings of stability and security, while the other tension and uneasiness. As a result of this, the picture is very dynamic. Additionally, the two triangles can  symbolizes the condescension that a God made to atone for the world, or man. Jesus is  Heaven pointing towards Earth, while Gala is Earth seeking God. Tamási Olivér


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Henry Fuseli (1741-1825)

The Nightmare,  1781

Oil on Canvas, 101.6 x 127 cm.

Detroit institute of art

Henry Fuseli was a Swiss painter, draughtsman and writer on art who worked and spent most of his life in Britain.

Interpretations of The Nightmare have varied widely. The canvas seems to portray a dreaming woman and the content of her nightmare. The incubus and the horse's head refer to contemporary belief and folklore about nightmares, but have been ascribed more specific meanings by some theorists. Contemporary critics were taken aback by the overt sexuality of the painting, which has since been interpreted by some scholars as anticipating Freudian ideas about the unconscious.

The Nightmare offers both the image of a dream—by indicating the effect of the nightmare on the woman—and a dream image—in symbolically portraying the sleeping vision. It depicts a sleeping woman draped over the end of a bed with her head hanging down, exposing her long neck. She is surmounted by an incubus that peers out at the viewer. The sleeper seems lifeless, and, lying on her back, she takes a position believed to encourage nightmares. Her brilliant coloration is set against the darker reds, yellows, and ochres of the background.

Fuseli used a chiaroscuro effect to create strong contrasts between light and shade. The interior is contemporary and fashionable, and contains a small table on which rests a mirror, phial, and book. The room is hung with red velvet curtains which drape behind the bed. Emerging from a parting in the curtain is the head of a horse with bold, featureless eyes.

The Nightmare invoked the relationship of the incubus and the horse (mare) to nightmares. The work was likely inspired by the waking dreams experienced by Fuseli and his contemporaries, who found that these experiences related to folkloric beliefs like the Germanic tales about demons and witches that possessed people who slept alone. In these stories, men were visited by horses or hags, giving rise to the terms "hag-riding" and "mare-riding", and women were believed to engage in sex with the devil. The etymology of the word "nightmare", however, does not relate to horses. Rather, the word is derived from mara, a Scandinavian mythological term referring to a spirit sent to torment or suffocate sleepers. The early meaning of "nightmare" included the sleeper's experience of weight on the chest combined with sleep paralysis, dyspnea, or a feeling of dread. The painting incorporates a variety of imagery associated with these ideas, depicting a mare's head and a demon crouched atop the woman. Aghamohsenifashami Alireza


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Jason Heuser, (1986 - )

John F Kennedy - Alien Hunter, 2012

Graphic, animated art, originally printed on 80lb high gloss paper, 11x17

Jason Heuser is a young American artist, a great admirer of history. His name is not so popular because he has not made a significant number of pictures yet. The reason for this is that he has a unique style that cannot allow him to compose works of Art frequently.

Because Heuser loves American presidents - in order to compose a picture - , his first step is to choose the right character for the imagined picture before doing anything else. Then he seeks for either obvious or hidden facts about the given president. If he can find some sort of myths concerning the character in addition, then it is especially good. After all his research, Heuser draw the sketch of the picture by pencil, and then he edits them with computer.

This recipe is not different in case of John F. Kennedy - Alien Hunter. Heuser found out that Kennedy had connections with horses; his big dream was conquering space and the Moon. Putting together all the facts that Heuser had, he was able to compose a picture that illustrates all these pieces of information including obvious and hidden (fun) facts (for example, a portrait of Marilyn Monroe can be seen on his uniform).

I was trying to find a picture that is unique and extraordinary of a contemporary artist who is just experiencing how the world of Arts works. When I first saw the picture it immediately grabbed my attention. Using computers for editing a picture is still controversial in case of Arts, but it is interesting when an artist is trying to compose something new. Balatoni Ádám




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Frida Kahlo

Self Portrait Between the Borderline of Mexico and the United States

 Oil on metal, 12 ˝" x 13 ľ"
Collection of  Maria Rodriquez de Reyero
New York City, New York, U.S.A.

Frida Kahlo is one of Mexico's most famous artists and also a popular feminist icon She's best known for her daring self-portraits depicting the suffering she experienced in her personal life.

Frida Kahlo was an extraordinary individual who liked to live in constant self-expression. This is most evident in her art, the way she dressed, and also the way she carried herself. She was also known to dress in men’s clothing and even cut her hair “like a man” once. Frida liked to drink, smoke, and say countless profanities. She liked to engage in sexual relations with both men and women. These acts were all seen as rebellious behaviour back in the early 1900’s. Yet, after analyzing these acts with our modern feminist perspective we can see them a unconventional or even revolutionary feminist acts of her time.

After being in the United States for nearly three years, Frida was growing homesick for Mexico. In this painting, Self Portrait Between the Borderline of Mexico and the United States, Frida makes clear her ambivalent feelings towards "Gringolandia" (the United States). In a sweet elegant pink dress and white gloves, she stands like a statue on a pedestal between the two different worlds.

In her hand she holds a Mexican flag which must indicate where her loyalties lie. On one side, the ancient Mexican landscape, with its rich warm natural earthy colours, exotic plants and pieces of Aztec sculpture. The forces of nature and the natural life cycle govern the Mexican side. On the other side, the dead, technology-dominated landscape of the United State is portrayed in dull greys and blues. There is just one link between the two worlds: an electricity generator standing on the U.S. soil draws its power from the roots of a plant on the Mexican side, which it then supplies to the socket on the pedestal on which Frida is standing.

The legend on the pedestal reads: "Carmen Rivera painted her portrait the year 1932". (Carmen was Frida's baptism name.) Millich Zsófia


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Jeff Lemire (1976 - )

Cover art of Sweet Tooth #10, 2010

Jeff Lemire is a Canadian comic book writer and artist. He was born on March 21, 1976 in Essex County, Ontario. He originally attended film school, but later he realized that the medium of comics fits his personality better. His first work was the self-published graphic novel Lost Dogs in 2005, which won a Xeric Award. In 2008-2009 Top Shelf Productions published his Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated comic book, Essex County Trilogy. This comic was featured on the 2011 Canada Reads selection of essential Canadian novels, being the first graphic novel appearing on this list. Since 2009 Lemire is working for DC Comics, and produced successful comics under the Vertigo imprint of the publisher, like The Nobody, Sweet Tooth and Trillium. More recently he moved on to the DC Universe imprint. He is currently writing Green Arrow, Justice League United and New 52: Futures End, and he have just finished his critically acclaimed run on Animal Man this March.

Sweet Tooth is a comic book limited series written and drawn by Lemire, colored by Jose Villarubia and published by the Vertigo imprint of DC Comics. The series ran between 2009 and 2013, it ended with the 40th issue. The setting of the story is a post-apocalyptic world, in which a mysterious disease decimated the human population. At the same time, newborn children started to have extraordinary physical features resembling different kinds of animals, and they are apparently immune to the plague. The main character is Gus, a 9-year-old boy with deer features, who lives a solitary life with his deeply religious father in the woods of Nebraska.  After his father dies, he meets a grim and mysterious man called Jeppard, who promises him to take him to the Sanctuary, a place where the animal-children can live in safety. However, his companion betrays Gus and gives him to a science faculty in exchange for the bones of her wife. The leading scientist of the faculty, Dr. Singh is especially interested in Gus, since he was born before the outbreak of the epidemic, possibly making him the first animal-child. In issue #10, Dr. Singh hypnotizes Gus to find out more about his past, and the scene depicted on the cover symbolizes this event.

I choose this picture because the synergy between the story and the art of this comic had a huge impact on me. The story is often brutal and even scary, and it deals with mature topics like cruelty for the “greater good” and the future of humanity. However, we experience these events through the eyes of an innocent, uncorrupted and hopeful child, bringing peace and kindness to this gloomy atmosphere.  This duality is perfectly mirrored in Lemire’s illustration. The art is creepy and unsettling; especially the eyes of the characters are unpleasant to look at. At the same time, the sketchy, simplistic style of drawing is similar to the art seen in children’s books, adding the pure, childish layer of the story to the artwork. In my opinion, this dual effect makes this comic one of a kind, and justifies calling it a real work of art. Rakovszky András


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Édouard Manet (23 January 1832 – 30 April 1883),

Le déjeuner sur l'herbe ("The Luncheon on the Grass") 1862-1863

oil on canvas, 208 cm × 265.5 cm

Musée D'Orsay, Paris

Édouard Manet was born in Paris on 23 January 1832 and died in 1883. He is often grouped with the impressionists but he was never an official member of the Impressionist movement. His paintings helped to bridge the gap between realism and impressionism. The main idea of impressionism was plein air painting (painting outside with a quick impression of nature instead of painting in a studio), which gave artists a new freedom to portray what they saw. Manet's career straddled this movement and realism. 

One of his most popular paintings, Le déjeuner sur l'herbe – Luncheon on the grass - showcases both styles of his career. It was one of the first three works that Manet originally submitted to the the Salon de Paris, but all of them were rejected. Luncheon on the grass was first exhibited in 1863 under Manet's title, Le Bain - The Bath. Manet's work created a huge scandal because there is a female nude within a larger work that contained male figures fully clothed.

According to a theory, we can see on the picture two ‘artists’ and a model, who are relaxing in front of a canvas that the nude has just posed for. The bather’s figure is out of scale because it is not ‘real’; it is part of another canvas. The background is a ‘painting’ called The Bath, which explaining the painting’s original title by Manet.

We can observe Manet’s flat application of color; the lack of subtle gradation that can be seen in the other works that have influenced this painting; and the lack of depth or perspective, what we can see in the position and size of the bather in the background of the work.

Le déjeuner sur l'herbe is now exhibited at the Musee d'Orsay. I chose this painting because when I saw this picture a few years ago in Paris it charmed me and I was really interested in  the theory of the second canvas. Kaszás Fanni


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Claude Monet (1840-1926)

La Gare Saint-Lazare, 1877,

a.k.a. The Saint-Lazare Station
Oil on canvas, H.:75 cm, W.:104 cm
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

The Saint-Lazare Station

Claude Monet was born in Paris in 1840, but spent his early years in Le Havre. Here, he was encouraged by Boudin to paint, and to paint outside, especially. In 1859, he went to Paris to attend Académie Suisse, where he met Pisarro, and later Jongkind, Renoire, Sisley, and Bazille. Monet learned the basics of the art of painting in Paris. He painted many wonderful paintings, such as Camille or The Woman in the Green Dress, but his most recognized piece was the one called Impression, sunrise (1872). This particular picture launched the new style, Impressionism. Interestingly, this technique - showing momentary feelings and impressions - was looked down first, critics said pictures painted in this way seemed unfinished and strange. Nevertheless, painters of this style were happy to use the word "impressionist" to describe themselves.
Impressionists said no to the academic way of painting. They stopped painting models in studios and started working in the open air. Because nature changes so quickly, their method of painting had to be changed as well: the lack of time made artists work faster. Using colors straight from the palette, working with loose brush strokes, playing with lights became 'it". Painters thought that art is for art itself (l'art pour l'art), they did not intend their paintings to have conceptual content, but put the emphasis on the impressions they had during working, their art was completely subjective. The painting was not a photograph of the given place, but rather a blurry and strong memory.

The theme of the train was an entirely new thing in the 19th century, and Monet was so fascinated by the Saint-Lazare station that he painted a whole series based on it between 1876 and 1877. I chose this painting because even though trains and stations are usually dirty and depressing, this one - maybe because of the colors used - looks welcoming and happy, not to mention that the features of Impressionism can be easily observed. For instance, there are no outlines or edges, people and buildings are blurred. For me, it feels that the emphasis is on the train arriving to the station. A possible interpretation can be that someone is waiting for someone who is on that train, and while he or she is so thrilled to see that person, he or she cannot and does not even want to see anything or anyone else. I like how Monet uses the color blue to show the steam and fog. A contrast between brown and light blue can be also seen, representing the station and the sky. Viewers can almost smell the smoke and hear the noise the train makes as if they were there at the station.
To sum up, an impression is definitely made. Lagzi-Kovács Kinga

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Edvard Munch (1863-1944)

Evening on Karl Johan, 1892

Oil on canvas, 84,5cm X 121cm work of

Edvard Munch was born in 1863 in the town of Adalsbruk, in Loten, Norway. He was the son of a doctor, and a priest. His family later moved to Christiana (now Olso) where his mother later died of tuberculosis, and he and his siblings were raised by their strict and pious father. Munch’s father’s religious fanaticism had a strong effect on him as a child, and it would continue to plague him throughout his life as well as his career. The nightmares that his father’s piousness caused would be subjected to his artistic abilities later in life; it should also be mentioned, that Munch was a very distant and introverted child, one who already showed signs of a depression that would later strike him in his adult years.

After studying engineering he decided to drop out and join the Royal School of Art, to the disapproval of his father; from here he eventually got a scholarship to study in Paris. His time in Paris had a strong influence on his painting; he finally came into contact with a world of Art; it was also here that began to break out of his introverted behavioural style; unfortunately it was in a negative direction, towards bad drinking and brawling habits. From here he moved on to Berlin where he received his first opportunity to exhibit his paintings in a collective gallery; his talent went unrecognized by his contemporaries, even being abelled as ˝controversial˝.

In 1893, his work The Scream made him immediately popular in the art world. It was also at this time that he fell in love with Tulla Larsen, whom he could have wedded, but as a result of his inability to commit, he fled from her. She eventually wed his younger colleague, driving him into insanity (along with the death of his father, and his eventually decline with alcoholism). After 8 months in an insane asylum, he was released a much calmer individual; he moved home to Norway where he would remain throughout his life in peace until the Nazi invasion. He died in 1944 at the age of 80.

Munch’s works can be split into two possible categories: those he painted before his admittance into a sanatorium in 1908, and those that came after his release. His pre-madness paintings take on a solemn atmosphere; his oppressed upbringing, coupled with his already introverted, miserable personality set the stage for the gloominess of his work. Furthermore, he was most interested in capturing the emotional and psychological states of the subjects of his works. His most widespread themes include the femme fatale, hopelessness, the inevitability of death, and lonesomeness. His later years also deal with his search for the psychological and emotional exertions of his subjects, but he viewed it in a more positive light than before; he also engaged in painting personal portraits for those willing to pay, as well as landscape paintings. He was one of the most influential symbolist painters ever; this meant that he neither wanted to create a perfect illusion as the Romantics, nor did he want to present the depressing reality of the world, but instead he looked to create an ideal society to which he could bring reality in close relation. The symbolists were also highly interested in dreams and the supernatural, something accredited to the Romantics, but with less dark perceptions.

Evening on Karl Johan was painted in 1892. It presents perfectly his obsession with the disentaglement of the emotions, and more importantly the emotions of the general public. He wished to know why everyone was so similar, and why therefore everyone was so different than he himself. In the painting the man on the street heading in the opposite direction has been identified as Munch; he attempted to express his unwillingness to be naďve to the world, and naive towards death. The faces of the character can also be seen, albeit not visibly; their expressions exhibit horror and desperation. They also seem to be moving towards the audience, however there is no evidence of their movement; Munch loved playing with static subjects, a person frozen in time, not only physically but also emotionally. The buildings head into the background from where the crowd is coming , which can be identified as a place of death considering they are all dressed for a funeral. Munch wanted to bring the audience’s attention towards this point because it allows us to ask questions about ourselves and our lives, one of the goals of symbolism. He is willing to search for answers to these questions, which is why he is heading in that direction. Partay Róbert


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Ilya Repin (1844-1930)

Barge Haulers on the Volga, 1870-3

Oil on canvas, 131.5 x 281 cm

Ilya Repin was born in the town of Chuguyev in the Russian Empire (today's Chuhuiv in Ukraine) in 1844. He grew up an ordinary boy from a poor family, and no one imagined he would ever achieve greatness, especially as a painter.

One of his most famous works is Barge Haulers on the Volga. He created this masterpiece during the years 1870-73.

Barge Haulers on the Volga is considered one of the great masterpieces of Russian art, a fine example of realism. The painting hinted at his political and social positions, as it depicted the extreme harsh scene of the hauling of a barge upstream by exhausted laborers. The depiction adds to the sense that human s are treated worse than animals in the way harnessed humans appeared more as beasts of burden. It was clearly an attempt to expose the harshness of life of barge haulers.

Each of the men depicted displayed their uniqueness. The individual in the very front appears to be resigned and sad, with the hauler immediately on the right seemingly staring at the painter -- a haunting look, almost as if he was staring directly at a hypothetical camera. Other figures depict exhaustion, toil, surrender, and so forth. Most oddly, the figure of the young man, wearing a large cross, shows both innocence (perhaps naivete) and hope.

There is also depiction of serious contrast in the painting. First, the one young boy standing tall next to all the other old, defeated men. Second, the sail-barge, which is flying an upside-down Russian flag, seems to be an obsolete piece of maritime technology (forcing the necessity of the barge haulers), while there is a steam ship in the background sailing away in the exact opposite direction.

Because of the social commentary that came from this work, after it was completed it was purchased by Grand Duke Vladimir (2nd son of Tsar Aleksandr II, younger brother of Tsar Aleksandr III) and often exhibited overseas, where it won many awards. However, conservative elements in Russia disliked the social elements of this painting in its depiction of the social inequality of the period.

Despite the difficult conditions and the appearance in the painting, these haulers were not depicted slavishly. They, as heroic figures in rather miserable conditions, proceed to do their task with dignity. Their souls are indeed free, even if their bodies are not.

Repin painted the faces of individuals with great care and love, as he had met all of these people in real life. He made several trips to that part of the Volga, and spent a lot of time observing the boatmen and the haulers, at the same time making many sketches of these figures. That is why the individual faces in the painting looked so real, and the collected group represents the collected image of the Russian people.

Repin truly loved this piece of art, his masterpiece, his social commentary. Serogina Svitlana


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Jan van Eyck (1391-1441)

The Arnolfini portrait (1434)

Oil on oak, 82.2x 60 cm

The National Gallery, London

Jan van Eyck is the most famous member of the Van Eyck family, originally from Maaseik, a town in the Belgian province of Limburg. According to the surviving documents, Jan Van Eyck was born around 1390. Van Eyck family was famous for bringing realism to medieval art and Jan specifically for the pure illusionism and the pure fiction reflected in his works. Pursuing a career at the courts of John the Bavaria, count of Hainaut-Holland (1422-24) and Phillip the good, Duke of Burgundy (1424-51), secured him a high social standing that was uncommon for the artists at that time. Moreover, taking diplomatic missions turned him into an educated man. He tried to promote his abilities by the practice of signing and dating his pictures. Van Eyck died in Bruges in 1441 and was buried in the church of St Donation, which was destroyed during the French revolution.

The Arnolfini Wedding, one of the most popular masterpieces of that era, was painted in 1434. It is also known by other names such as: The Arnolfini Double Portrait and The Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife. There have been disagreements over the identity of the couple in this painting. Therefore, Art critics have concluded that the male in the painting is either Giovanni di Arrigo Arnolfini or his cousin, Giovanni di Nicoalo Arnolfini, both Italian merchants in Bruges when van Eyck was living in that city. The pregnant woman in the painting is likely to be the wife of one of the two (Giovanni di Arraigo or Nicola Arnolfini).

Remarkable illusionism, use of light and the convincing depiction of the room and its inhabitant are amongst the salient features of the painting. Van Eyck attempted to create a work with an intensity of both the tone and the color and that was why he used the technique of applying translucent glazes, layer upon layer.

Everything in this painting has a symbolic meaning. Art historians believe that this unique painting portrays a marriage contract in form of a painting. “Almost every object depicted in this portrait is in some way symbolism of the holiness of matrimony”. Helen Gardner, an American historian and educator supports this by referring to the "persons themselves, hand in hand, taking the marriage vows”. There are other symbols shown for the marriage theme, such as the pregnant woman, since fertility is an essential quality for a wife and the oranges which are the symbol of love in marriage.   

The material wealth and opulence of the Arnolifinis is another theme of this painting. Their clothes, made of expensive materials such as fur, wool, linen, leather and the astonishing dimensions of the lady’s gown on one hand, and the furniture of the room and the dog,  a rare and precious Brussels Griffon on the other hand, represent the high social status and material wealth known of the Arnolfini family in Bruges.

The most controversial object of this portrait is probably the mirror, in which not only the couple, but also two other people can be seen. As the inscription on the wall above the mirror reads: "Jan Van Eyck was here in 1343", the presence of the artist himself is confirmed; not at the easel painting the couple though. He was probably a witness to the couple’s marriage. However, the identity of the other person has remained unknown and there’s no hunch as to who he/she might have been.

The Arnolfini portrait was bought by the national museum in London in 1842 and is now kept there in a very good condition. Some of the painting's minor defects have been successfully retouched.

In the course of history many critics have tried to give a new twist to this painting and to the meaning behind its central figures. However, whatever meaning has been given to the scene and its details, I believe it is one of the characteristics of any piece of art work to hold a secret within, which does not allow a definite interpretation of that secret. Afkham Ebrahimi Shirin


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Vincent van Gogh
Starry Night over the Rhone

Arles, France: September, 1888
Oil on Canvas, 72,5 cm x 92 cm

Musée d'Orsay
Paris, France, Europe


Probably everyone is familiar with one of the greatest artists of all time, Vincent William van Gogh. However, if anyone would mention “starry night” in connection with his name, most of the people would automatically think about his painting called Starry Night and not its predecessor, Starry Night Over the Rhone, which was painted in September 1888.

Firstly, it is important to mention some details about Vincent van Gogh. He was born on the 30th of March in 1853 and was a post-impressionist Dutch artist. He was notable for his bold colours and he had a great influence on the 20th century art. However, after years of mental health problems, he died on the 29th of July in 1890. Concerning his death, there are a lot of conspiracy theories. One of them is – which most likely is the truth – that he shot himself. However, he did not die from this shot; he was taken to two surgeons who were not qualified to treat him properly and that is the reason why his wound became inflected and he died because of that. Yet, during his life, “he produced more than 2,100 artworks, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolours, drawings, sketches and prints. His work included self portraits, landscapes, portraits and paintings of cypresses, wheat fields and sunflowers.”

In 1888, he moved to Arles and decided to rent out a house – later called the Yellow House – and he focused on his Yellow House project from August 1888 till his mental breakdown the day before Christmas. The aim of this project was to decorate his rented home with beautiful paintings. One of this project’s paintings was the Starry Night Over the Rhone. It shows Van Gogh’s view from his rented apartment in Place Lamartine to the river and commemorates happy memories.

Secondly, he firstly mentioned painting this particular picture in a letter to his friend, Eugene Boch in 1888. He described the picture to help his friend imagining it. He mentioned 12 colours, the Great Bear constellation, the lovers in the foreground and portraying the landscape as it was. In the background of the painting, there are a lot of bright stars that – with the homes’ lights – are reflected on the river too.

However, we can see that there is a lack of separation between the sky and the river. This gives the impression that the lovers in the foreground are wading out of the water of the Rhone river, possibly escaping a sinking boat that is ambiguously depicted in the water behind them. With this, he decided to give the painting an ambiguous meaning about his own darkening mindset toward relationships and life in general.

Moreover, Starry Night Over the Rhone is a 72.5 cm x 92 cm oil on canvas picture, which was first exhibited in 1889 at the annual exhibition of the Société des Artistes Indépendants in Paris, together with the Irises. Now, it can be seen at the Musée de’Orsay in Paris.

I chose this picture because of its beautiful colours that all remind me of a relaxing walk at a summer night near a river and because of its calming effect on me. Also, I find it really impressive that – although Vincent van Gogh had mental health issues – he could capture the beauty of the simplest things and put it on canvas. Tóth Fanni


Meaning & Analysis: Starry Night Over the Rhone by Vincent van Gogh. [ONLINE] Available at: . [Last Accessed 08.03.2014].





Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei, born 18 May 1957 in Beijing, is a Chinese contemporary artist, active in sculpture, installation, architecture, curating, photography, film, and social, political and cultural criticism.

Ai Weiwei's father was the Chinese poet Ai Qing, who was denounced during the Anti-Rightist Movement. In 1958, the family was sent to a labour camp when Ai Weiwei was one year old. They were later exiled to another Chinese city in 1961, where they lived for 16 years. When Mao Tse-tung's died and the Cultural Revolution ended, the family returned to Beijing in 1976.

In 1978, Ai enrolled in the Beijing Film Academy and studied animation. In 1978, he was one of the founders of the early avant garde art group the "Stars", together with many other Chinese artists, who have become very famous since.

From 1981 to 1993, he lived in the United States, mostly in New York. He studied briefly at Parsons School of Design and at the Art Students League of New York. He later dropped out of school, and made a living out of drawing street portraits and working odd jobs. During this period, he gained exposure to the works of Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, and Jasper Johns, and began creating conceptual art by altering readymade objects.

When he was living in New York's East Village (1983-1993), Ai carried a camera with him all the time and would take pictures of his surroundings wherever he was. The resulting collection of photos was later selected and is now known as the New York Photographs.

Ai collaborated with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron as the artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics.

As a political activist, he has been highly and openly critical of the Chinese Government's stance on democracy and human rights. He has investigated government corruption and cover-ups, in particular the Sichuan schools corruption scandal following the collapse of so-called "tofu-dreg schools” in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. More than 90,000 people were killed in the 8.0 magnitude earthquake including more than 5000 children who were in school at the time.

Ten days after the earthquake took place in Sichuan province on May 12, 2008, Ai Weiwei led a team to survey and film the post-quake conditions in various disaster zones. In response to the government's lack of transparency in revealing names of students who perished in the earthquake due to substandard school campus constructions, Ai recruited volunteers online and launched a "Citizens' Investigation" to compile names and information of the student victims. On March 20, 2009, he posted a blog titled "Citizens' Investigation" and wrote: "To remember the departed, to show concern for life, to take responsibility, and for the potential happiness of the survivors, we are initiating a "Citizens' Investigation." We will seek out the names of each departed child, and we will remember them."

As of 14 April 2009, the list had accumulated 5,385 names. Ai published the collected names as well as numerous articles documenting the investigation on his blog which was shut down by Chinese authorities in May 2009.

Straight consists of 38 tons of steel rebar that was recovered from schools that had collapsed during the earthquake in Sichuan. The mangled, bent and buckled rebar was straightened with great effort by Ai and his assistants and arranged in waves as Ai's response to the refusal of the government to acknowledge the victims. This piece is accompanied by an incredible film showing the fallen schools and towns and the labor put into straightening the rebar, and a 3-hour and 41-minute long audio recording with all the names of the children read out. On the wall behind the piece are the names and birth dates of the children who were killed in the quake.

Ai suffered headaches and claimed he had difficulty concentrating on his work after he returned from Chengdu in August 2009, where he was beaten by the police for trying to testify for Tan Zuoren, a fellow investigator of the shoddy construction and student casualties in the earthquake. On 14 September 2009, Ai was diagnosed to be suffering internal bleeding in a hospital in Munich, Germany, and the doctor arranged for emergency brain surgery. The cerebral hematoma is believed to be linked to the police attack.

The reason why I chose this particular piece of art is that my favorite author, John Green introduced me to it when he talked about it in one of his video blogs. This is what he says about Ai WeiWei and his art:

“’Poetry makes nothing happen’, W. H. Auden once famously wrote. It is a way of happening; a mouth. Straightening this rebar didn’t bring back those children or hold the shoddy contractors accountable; it made nothing happen. But the way of happening threatens the Chinese government enough that they detain and threaten Ai Weiwei because in a world super-saturated with tragic statistics where even photographs and videos can lose their punch, Ai found a way to bring form to love and anger and grief. That’s why good art matters so much […] and why it has always mattered. Even if it does make nothing happen.” Kónya Rebeka



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Hossein Amanat

Azadi Tower, 1966-71

Tehran, Iran

The Azadi Tower (Shahyad Aryamehr) was the scene of many protests during the 1979 revolution and remains a focal point for demonstrations today, including some huge demonstrations during the post-election crisis in 2009. Built by architect Hossein Amanat during the Pahlavi era, it shines as the central attraction at the heart of Tehran. The construction work took only few years from 1966 to 1971, and since then it has become one of the most important monuments of the country. Aside from being a remarkable monument, the tower has a lot of interesting aspects for foreigners to come and visit. It contains a museum and an audio\visual theatre which helps the audience to discover about Iran’s history and culture.

To give a brief information about the architect and construction of this magnificent piece of art; the architect, Hossein Amanat won a nationwide competition in 1966 to design the Shahyad tower (King’s memorial) as a young graduate from the university of Tehran, his first architectural project that led him to create some of Iran’s most important projects in connection with the traditional Persian architecture. He used white marble from the Esfahan region, about eight thousand blocks of stone. The shape of each stone was calculated by computer and programmed to include all the instructions for the building’s work. The actual construction of the tower was carried out, and supervised by Iran's finest master stonemason, and the main financing was provided by a group of five hundred Iranian industrialists. Soon after the revolution, Amanat and his family were forced to flee the country because of the harsh conditions brought by the revolution to the country. He decided to move to Canada in 1980 and since then he designed several administrative buildings, libraries, and multifamily condominiums all over the world.

The Museum of the tower contains objects such as gold and enamel pieces, painted pottery, marble, miniature, and paintings that they are all located among black marble walls. A concrete mesh forms the ceiling. Approximately fifty pieces have been selected, each representing a particular period in Iran's history but the main display is occupied by a copy of the Cyrus Cylinder (the original is in the British Museum), and with the help of golden letters on the walls of galleries, translated from Cyrus Cylinder, viewers could find their way to the audio\visual department. There are also a lot of priceless objects from the seventh to the nineteenth century represented from Empress Farah Pahlavi’s collection.

The Audio\Visual hall invites visitors to discover Iran's geographic and natural diversity along with its fundamental historical elements. The landscapes and works of art, the faces and achievements, calligraphy poems and technical undertakings, the life and hopes of a population were shown through its ancient miniatures. The show which required a lot of supplements such as cameras, thousand meters of film, and almost 20 movie projectors was devised by a Czechoslovakian company at that time.

For me, as an Iranian, this memorable piece of architecture at the heart of Tehran, is always the representative of the power of my nation, a nation that has been through many ups and downs, but will always stay strong. Aghamohsenifashami Alireza


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Frederic Bartholdi

The Statue of Liberty, 1886

Liberty Island, New York

The Statue of Liberty, officially named the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World, sits on the 12-acre Liberty Island in New York Harbor. This national monument, has represented freedom from tyranny, financial hardship and suffering for many immigrants since the late 1800s. The French gave the Statue of Liberty to the United States as a gift to mark the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence.


French sculptor Frederic Bartholdi collaborated with French engineer Gustave Eiffel to create the statue. They designed the massive structure using thin beaten copper sheets covering a steel framework. Eiffel, also responsible for the Paris Eiffel Tower, created the frame of the statue. Its design and construction were considered an engineering masterpiece of the 19th century. American architect Richard Morris Hunt designed its pedestal. Completed in 1884, the French warship Isere transported the statue in 350 parts and packed in 214 crates. It was dedicated on October 28, 1886.

Physical Description

The Statue of Liberty looks like a tiny figure when viewed from the Brooklyn Bridge; however, at close range, it is an impressive figure in the New York Harbor. From pedestal to tip, the 225-ton (450,000-pound) statue is 305 feet, 6 inches, with the face measuring more than 8 feet tall. There are 154 steps from the pedestal to the head, and the figure has a 35-foot waistline.


The physical features of the Statue of Liberty have symbolic meanings. The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation website says the broken shackles at Liberty's feet symbolize breaking away from tyranny and oppression. The seven rays on her crown represent the seven continents; each weighs about 150 pounds and is about 9 feet long. The National Park Service says the 25 windows in her crown signify gemstones found on the Earth and heaven's rays shining over the world. The torch signifies lighting the path to freedom, reflecting the sun during the day and illuminated by 16 floodlights at night.

The Pedestal

The Statue of Liberty is not only a national monument; it serves as a reservoir of the statue's history. The pedestal contains a lobby, exhibits on the first and second floors and a 10th-floor observatory. Millich Zsófia


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Glamuzina Paterson Architects (Ltd)

Brick Bay House, 2011

Snells Beach, New Zealand, Area: 240 sqm
Engineer: Ashby's Consulting
Builder: Ryan O'Malley

I read somewhere that art does not have to look nice, it has to make you feel something. Admittedly, the Brick Bay House is not the most beautiful building people have built, but still - it has its charm.

The Brick Bay House is located in Auckland, New Zealand, and was designed for a family of five. The clients wanted the house not to stand out from its surroundings that is why it is matched to the land. It has views to Kawau Bay and is situated in such a way that the bedrooms are down the hill, so they are separated from the road which goes behind the building.

The design was done by Gominic Glamuzina and Aaron Paterson, both Auckland-based architects, award winners, and regular contributors to the famous architecture website The project description says that the house (built in 2011) is a mixture of a farming house and an elegant shed, so the outside is not really impressive indeed. On the other hand, the interior is beautiful. It is spacious and airy, and because of the lot of glass used, really bright. Glamuzina and Paterson worked with a lot of timber inside and outside as well, showing that modern does not really mean metal and plastic only. The outcome is a friendly, warm, and welcoming home.

If the aim of the construction was to build a house which is isolated from nature but still brings the owners close to it, I think Glamuzina and Paterson did a great job.  Lagzi-Kovács Kinga


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Tom Wright (architect)

Burj Al Arab. 1999

Height: 322 m; number of rooms: 202;

number of floors: 60

Tom Wright is a British architect who designed the giant building of Burj Al Arab (in English: Tower of Arabs), located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He is now part of a team called WKK which is “a new architectural practice in the UK dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in architecture, masterplanning and design”. His mission was to create a building that can be an iconic statue of Dubai – like Sydney Opera House in Sydney or the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The Burj Al Arab is the only official 7-star luxury hotel in the world. With its 322 meters, it is the 4th tallest hotel in the world (note that the first two can also be found in Dubai). The building is magnificent in itself, but the main merit of the construction is the artificial island on which Burj Al Arab is standing. The island was constructed by the so-called “honeycomb pattern” – which means that the concrete blocks were loosely put together in order to prevent the ground from eroding. The construction of the island took more time than the building of the hotel itself. The island is 280 meters far from Jumeriach beach, so it is connected to the mainland by a “private curling bridge”.

Burj Al Arab has a couple of luxury restaurants and big rooms mixed with the style of Eastern and Western design to please tourists from all around the world. The shape of the hotel forms a modern yacht sail which symbolises a modern aspect of the developing future of Dubai.

The building has been heavily criticised by experts saying that the hotel is nothing else than an “extraordinary investment with state-of-the-art technology in order to express the power of wealth of Dubai”. I agree with the critics, and my opinion is that if this building stood somewhere else in the world, it would trigger different effects of the public.

I chose this work of art because I really like the construction itself and the shape of the hotel. Although I agree with the critics, I try to look at Burj Al Arab as a building itself and nothing else. Balatoni Ádám



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Leonardo da Vinci

 Da Vinci was one of the greatest creative minds of the Italian Renaissance, hugely influential as an artist and sculptor but also immensely talented as an engineer, scientist and inventor. He was born on 15 April 1452 near the Tuscan town of Vinci, the illegitimate son of a local lawyer. He was apprenticed to the sculptor and painter Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence and in 1478 became an independent master. In about 1483, he moved to Milan to work for the ruling Sforza family as an engineer, sculptor, painter and architect.

In 1482 Leonardo Da Vinci, by then already an accomplished engineer and artist, approached Ludovico seeking patronage. The Sforza family fortunes (and the taxes of the people of Milan) went on to pay for many of Da Vinci's most famous works.

Leonardo's horse (also known as Gran Cavallo) is a sculpture that was commissioned of Leonardo da Vinci in 1482 by Duke of Milan Ludovico il Moro, but not completed. It was intended to be the largest equestrian statue in the world, a monument to the duke's father Francesco. Leonardo did extensive preparatory work for it, but produced only a clay model, which was destroyed by French soldiers when they invaded Milan in 1499, interrupting the project. About five centuries later, Leonardo's surviving design materials were used as the basis for sculptures intended to bring the project to fruition.

In 1493 he presented a 24' clay model on the occasion of Ludovico's daughter's wedding, from which a bronze horse could be made. The clay model stood in place until the territorial politics turned bloody. Seeking an ally against Venice, Ludovico allowed French invaders to pass though on their way down to Naples. When the French troops turned on him, he was forced to use the 80 tons of bronze that had been set aside for the horse to make weapons for the Battle of Fornovo, the first of many battles in the Italian Wars which enveloped Northern Italy. Then in 1499 invading French archers used the huge horse for target practice, reducing the fragile model to ruins, and marking the end of the artistic boom times.

In the chaos of those years, Da Vinci's molds and sketches of the original horse were lost, and the project abandoned.  Then, five centuries later Leonardo Da Vinci's "lost notebooks" were found in the Biblioteca Nationale in Madrid in 1965, including his sketches for the horse. In Allentown, Pennsylvania retired pilot and collector or Renaissance art Charles Dent read about the notebooks and the story of the never-built horse in National Geographic in 1977, and decided to complete the story. He brought on the sculptor Nina Akamu to realize the design from Da Vinci's original drawings.

It is not exactly the same as Da Vinci's horse would have been. She says, “The sculpture which I created for the Leonardo da Vinci's Horse Inc. pays homage to the creative genius of Leonardo. It is not intended to be a recreation of his sculpture. However, it has been significantly influenced by certain works of art and writings from that period, and specifically Leonardo's notebooks and accompanying drawings with great emphasis on his involvement with the Sforza monument”. Gusyachikin Anastasia



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Dog Bark Park/Inn Bed & Breakfast
Sweet Willy & Toby (1997)
Dennis J. Sullivan and Frances Conklin
Cottonwood, Idaho

Some people are obsessed with their dogs but the owners of this “dog” are living in their Dog Bark Park, which is an inn and was created by its owners: Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin. They have been working there since 1997 as a married couple.

First of all, it is important to mention a couple of things about the artists. Dennis Sullivan is a self-taught chainsaw artist, who has been carving for over twenty years. Frances Conklin joined him fifteen years ago and also carves. Their big break came in 1995, when they were able to sell their carvings on QVC television. After that, they started craving little statues for more than 18 months. With this spirit, they collected a bundle of money and put all of it into their “pet project”. After investing everything, they started to build step by step their inn, Dog Bark Park. What is more, at Dog Bark Park, they specialize in creating folk-art style wooden cravings. They have a collection of over 60 different breeds and poses of dogs. Moreover, they even offer the opportunity for their guests that they will carve their pets from photos, too. Furthermore, they received the 2003 Take Pride in Idaho Cultural Tourism Award for a large carved art exhibit depicting the story of Seaman, the dog who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their exploratory journey to the Pacific two hundred years ago.

However, as I mentioned before, the main building in Dog Bark Park Inn, named Sweet Willy, is accompanied by a 12-foot-high wood carving of another beagle named Toby. Both building were created from pine in 1997. This bed & breakfast is a dog outside. Inside, it is a charming escape from the ordinary – from the twenty-six carved dogs on the queen headboard to a cosy loft room in the dog’s head, to dog-shaped cookies on the pillow. The second story deck is the perfect place to enjoy prairie views and starry nights. Moreover, people can play a game with their partner or children; what is more, they can snuggle up with a book from the inn’s extensive collection of reading materials, games and puzzles.

Furthermore, Dog Bark Park Inn offers an expansive continental self-serve breakfast featuring our family’s secret recipe for The Prairie’s Best Fruited Granola. Breakfast also includes a variety of teas, coffees, juices, fresh fruits, boxed cereals, milk, yogurts, cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, bagels, home-baked pastries. Although the inn offers everything that a modern family would need these days, there are two exceptions: there are no Internet and television.

All in all, for today’s travellers, Dog Bark Park Inn offers a glimpse into bygone days with all the comforts of our modern days. Every people should visit this charming Dog Bark Park – located in north central Idaho on US Hwy 95 at Cottonwood, Idaho – at least once in their life. I chose this building because I find it fascinating that these people were capable to fight for their dreams. Also, because I believe that it is a very profitable idea. Moreover, if I had the opportunity, I would definitely try this accommodation out because it is fun and I love dogs. Tóth Fanni


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Antoni Gaudí (1852 –1926)

Park Güell, 1914


Antoni Gaudí was a Spanish Catalan architect, who was the figurehead of Catalan Modernism. Gaudí's works reflect his highly individual and distinctive style and are largely concentrated in Barcelona, notably his magnum opus, the Sagrada Família. Much of Gaudí's work was marked by his big passions in life: architecture, nature, religion. His architecture was inspired by oriental arts (India, Persia, Japan), the neo-Gothic movement, organic style and nature, the Moorish monuments in Spain. The style that most influenced him was the Gothic Revival from which he moved towards Modernism. He brought more Gothic forms into the Catalan national style that aimed to combine nationalism and cosmopolitanism. He also used geometrical forms on his works, such as paraboloids, hyperboloids and helicoids. Another element widely used by Gaudí was the catenary curve.

Park Güell is a garden complex with architectural elements situated on the hill of El Carmel in the Gŕrcia district of Barcelona.  It was designed and built in the years 1900 to 1914. It has an extension of 0.1718 km˛, which makes it one of the largest architectural works in south Europe. The park was originally part of a commercially unsuccessful housing site, the idea of Count Eusebi Güell, after whom the park was named. It was inspired by the English garden city movement.  The main entrance to Park Güell is on the south side, on Carrer d’Olot, from which visitors can enjoy the spectacular view of the stairway with the hypostyle room. The wall of the park is made of rustic stone topped with ceramic tiling and medallions bearing the name of Park Güell. The iron gates of the Park are designed in the shape of palm leaves. The dragon stairway is divided into three sections, along which runs the water from a fountain that fedruns, once supplied from the tank under the hypostyle room. On the first landing are some capricious shapes like goblins, while halfway up the steps is the emblem of Catalonia and further up the dragon, or salamander, covered with decorative tile-shard mosaic which has become the most popular image of the park. The great entrance stairway leads to the Hypostyle Room, which was designed to be the market for the estate market. It is made up of 84 of striated columns inspired in the Doric order. Right at the centre of the monumental zone of Park Güell is the large esplanade which the plan called the Greek Theatre and which has more recently been rechristened as Nature Square or Plaça de la Natura. Kaszás Fanni



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Michelangelo Buonarotti (1475-1564)




Michelangelo Buonarroti (Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni) was born on March 6, 1475, in Caprese, Italy.

Michelangelo was a sculptor, painter and architect, considered to be one of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance period -- and probably of all time. His work demonstrated psychological insight, physical realism and intensity.

In early life, Michelangelo was less interested in schooling but had a keen eye for art, watching painters and stonemasons. He began studying with the finest painters in Florence at age 13. It was there where he was exposed to fresco painting, laying the foundation for his most memorable work -- the frescos in the Sistine Chapel.

David, his most famous sculpture, is a Renaissance masterpiece created between 1501 and 1504. It is a 5.17m marble statue of a standing male nude. The statue represents the Biblical hero David, a favored subject in the art of Florence.

The biblical figure of David was special to the citizens of Florence. He symbolized the liberty and freedom of their republican ideals, which were threatened at various points in the period by the Medici family and others, the same upheavals that caused Michelangelo to leave early on in his career.

Traditionally, David was portrayed after his victory, triumphant over Goliath. However, Michelangelo has depicted David before the battle. This interpretation comes from the seminal Gardner's Art Through the Ages. Davis is tense, but not so much in a physical as in a mental sense. The slingshot he carries over his shoulder is almost invisible, emphasizing that David's victory was one of cleverness, not of sheer force.

At the time was no Italian state; powers rested with individual city-states and smaller entities. Florence, a republic at the time, was surrounded by enemies much stronger and numerous than it was. When the statue of David was placed in front of Palazzo della Signoria, the people immediately identified with him as a cunning victor over superior enemies and symbolized Florence's struggles against its foes. Svitlana Serogina



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Gyula Pauer (1941-2012)

Shoes on the Danube promenade, 2005

Cast iron

This unique work of art was conceived by film director Can Togay and created by him and the sculptor Gyula Pauer. It is situated on the bank of the Danube River in Budapest between Roosevelt and Kossuth square, and gives remembrance to the people who were shot from behind,  and who then fell into the river, during the fascist Arrow Cross terror in the time of World War II. It was placed there on 16 April, which is the official Holocaust Memorial Day in Hungary.

It consists of 60 pairs of period-appropriate shoes cast from iron and all of them are attached to the stone embankment. All these shoes are of different size, which demonstrates that in those horrible times no one was spared, not even little children, from the brutality and atrocities of the fascist regime. Furthermore, there are three cast iron signs, situated on the ground, with the following text in Hungarian, English, and Hebrew: “To the memory of the victims shot into the Danube by Arrow Cross militiamen in 1944-45”.

Most interestingly, there are some true stories about the events connected to the shoes on the bank from the bloody and hostile period of the war. One name quite prominent in these is that of Raoul Wallenberg’s, a Swedish diplomat, back then the ambassador for his country in Hungary. He is now hailed as a hero for working around the clock to save Jewish people from being sent to Nazi camps in different parts of Europe. In the building of the Swedish Embassy at 2-4 Üllői street and in another 32 rented buildings he sheltered countless Jews in fear of being transported, declaring these building extraterritorial and under the protection of the Swedish state.

Moreover, there is another famous story regarding the events of the rescue of the Jews. This took place on 8 of January, 1945, in the dead of the night. An Arrow Cross execution brigade stormed into one of the protected buildings and led its inhabitants away, to slaughter them on the river bank. Fortunately, later they were all rescued by some extremely brave policemen, led by Karoly Szabo.

His and Wallenberg’s actions, I believe, illustrate inspiring evidence of human sense of justice, courage and love. That is why I chose this work art, besides its aesthetic beauty. Szujó Dóra


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Puskas Ferenc Stadium, 1953

The Puskas Ferene Stadium was originially known as the Népstadion, or ˝the People’s Stadium until it had its name changed in 2002. The stadium had been built and named Népstadion on August 20th, 1953, on St. Stephen’s Day or the Day of Dominion in Hungary. However, the history of the stadium is much more complicated and full of twists-and-turns than most stadiums; it took decades of planning and agreement to finally get the construction under way. Twice the stadium was planned to be built for an Olympic Games, however, the first games in 1898 were eventually held in Athens, and while the second bid was successful, the 1920 Olympics were not held because of the Great War. Later, both in 1924 and 1945, the acts that intended to see the construction of the stadium were passed in Parliament but in neither case was the law taken seriously, possibly because of the lack of funds (both times Hungary had just climbed out of a World War). In 1947, as a result of a catastrophic unfortunate accident at the Fradi stadium, where although no one was killed, the collapse of a stand forced the politicians to rethink their viewpoint of the construction of a new stadium.

The construction of the stadium, in terms of effort, was in a category of its own. The amount of manpower, machine power, and sheer determination was something unwitnessed in Hungary. The place of the stadium was established to rest in the place of the old horse racing track but for this to become a reality, a 27 hectare had to be cleared, which meant a 664 thousand cubic meter movement of land. There was 84 pieces of machinery being used on the site by an infinite amount of people; the population took part in the construction out of prestige, no one asked for payment (except the professionals naturally) yet they all flocked to be part of this masterpiece. The furnaces burned on-site so that the creation of the 45 thousand cubic metres of concrete needed could be produced for the building blocks, some of which weighed between 20-24 tons. The technology that went into the building of the stadium was also highly developed at the time: 18 thousand lightbulbs were used to light stadium, these lightbulbs were connected by 150 thousand metres of wire, which ran around the entire building. When it seemed the works would not be completed, the defence minister was entrusted to bring in 1000 soldiers to finish the work by St. Stephen’s Day; he succeeded.

The opening ceremony took place on August 20th, 1953 with massive celebrations. The head of the Olympics Committee was invited to take part, next to whom Rákosi Mátyás was unwilling to sit, therefore he did not attend. I assume he was not missed. The festivities began with 12 thousand gymnasts and another 2 thousand other athletes walked around the stadium to greet the crowd. Later 10 thousand doves were released into the air, creating an extravagant, yet senseless scene. There were two competitions with foreign teams: the athletic teams of Hungary beat the athletic teams of Norway, and later Budapest Honvéd beat Spartak Moscow 3:2. At the end of the show, a pyramid of red stars and the Hungarian freedom statue rose high into the air, commemorating the victory of the Hungarian working man in building the stadium.

The stadium became a focal point for a great many successful endeavours, such as the 7:1 victory of the Hungarian football team against the English in 1954. A year later, the maximum capacity of the stadium peaked at 104,000 for a game between the Austrian and the Hungarian football team. It has since been the venue for concerts from a number of artists such as Louis Armstrong, Queen, Michael Jackson, Depeche Mode (X3), and George Michael.

Since the original construction of the Puskás Stadion, the building continues to deteriorate. In 1959 the stadium’s capacity was raised to 84 thousand, and there were many plans to increase it further; however, instead of an increase, it saw a decrease as a result of its worsening condition. Currently, it only allows a capacity of approximately 35 thousand people because the higher rafters are too dangerous to visit. Finally in 2011, just like in the first Orbán Cabinet, the second Orbán Cabinet also saw the necessity to build new stadiums in Hungary; the Puskás was also on their list, and the construction has already been commissioned and is expected to be completed for 2017; this way we will be able to make a bid for a venue of the 2020 European Championships. The stadium will cost 35 billion forints (much more than the original 160 million that the original construction cost) and it will seat approximately 65,000 people. Partay Róbert


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Shigeru Ban (1957-)

Centre Pompidou-Metz

Shigeru Ban, a Japanese architect, was born in 1957. He is famous for using cardboard tubes and papers as building constructions. He is attracted to these types of materials firstly because of some advantages such as the low price and their capability of being replaceable and recyclable and most importantly because of his attraction to ecological architecture. He has successfully managed to make these constructions waterproof, fireproof and less vulnerable. This year, 2014, he was named the 37th recipient of the Pritzker architecture prize, which is a very famous award in the world of architecture. Under the western education, he is one of the few Japanese architects who have come up with a combination of both eastern and western architecture. One of his notable works is the Centre-Pompidou of Metz, designed by him in 2006.

Centre-Pompidou-Metz, is located in the historical city of Metz in France. It is a museum of modern and contemporary art and a branch of Pompidou Arts Centre of Paris. The first impression for this building came to Ban by the Guggenheim museum of Bilbao and its sculptural architecture, designed by Frank o Gehry in 1998. Centre Pompidou-Metz is one of the largest temporary exhibitions located outside of Paris, which includes different galleries, a theatre and an auditorium as well as large windows depicting some symbols of the city such as the famous cathedral of Metz. Moreover, it is located in the former train station of Metz, a historical and important area for its location during the two world wars and its neighborhood to German borders. This temporary museum was built for several reasons. The main reason was to attract more tourists to other French cities than Paris. Since its inauguration, this place has become one of the most visited cultural venues in France with 800,000 visitors in the year following its inauguration. Another reason is its ability to display some very large works of art that could not be shown in the Paris museums due to the ceiling height. A 90-metre wide hexagon used in the roof is one the museum's major achievements and the pattern evokes the woven structure of a Chinese hat. One of its magnificent aspects is that it echoes the building’s floor map. Ban believes structures should seem invisible and incorporated into the design. For him, the most important thing is the philosophy and the concept behind his works. As he claims, “if a building is loved, it becomes permanent. When it is not loved, even a concrete building can be temporary”

Therefore, although this beautiful museum in Metz in temporary, I believe it is going to be remembered for a very long time. Not only because of its beautiful view and remarkable architecture, but also because of being loved. Afkham Ebrahimi Shirin



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Andre Waterkeyn

Atomium, 1954-8


The Universal Exhibition in Brussels in 1958 needed a spectacular structure which would serve as a lasting symbol of the event and to display the capabilities of Belgian industry. The metal industries' trade associations promised the Commissioner for the 1958 Exhibition that they would provide this symbol. In fact, they had already started working on it in the autumn of 1954.

André Waterkeyn, a director at the Federation of the metalworking, mechanical and electrotechnical engineering industries, was the one came up with the Atomium project in November 1954.He wanted to reproduce the concept of the atom, which is at the heart of all the sciences concerning matter. This materialized by magnifying 160 billion times the elementary iron crystal on the scale of its atoms.  The idea consisted nine huge spheres connecting each other with tubes, representing a centred cubic system. He chose iron because it represents well the Belgian metal industries which were supposed to build the monument, which he started to call “Atomium”.

The project was submitted in December 1954 to the directors of the metal industries' trade associations and to the General Commissioner of the Exhibition. Both approved it.

Three industrial groups - the Federation of the metalworking, mechanical and electrotechnical engineering industries, the Belgian blast-furnace and steelworking group and the Union on non-ferrous metals industries - joined together in a non-profit-making organisation to construct the Atomium. Waterkyn became the Managing Director, his assistant was M. E. Greiner. A vast number of specialists worked on the project as well called in and helped happily.

The construction started finally and although they faced many difficulties and it was sometimes dangerous, Atomium was finished for the deadline.

It was built by private enterprise, with the support of the authorities, but the three Belgian metal industry associations were in charge for the work, and it was completely non-profit.

The Atomium played its role for the Exhibition of 1958 so well that the City of Brussels wanted to keep it afterwards. Since then, it has welcomed thousands of visitors and still keeps all of its significance. It does not represent, as some tend to think, the liberation of nuclear energy, but the marvellous organization of molecular structures on an infinitesimal scale, and the importance of past, present and future discoveries in this fascinating field.

Lastly, it is important to note that the nine spheres do not actually represent atoms. The structure of metals consists symmetrically organized elements, which are not atoms. The reason behind it is that atoms lose some electrons, hence becoming particles with a positive charge: ions. The lost electrons surround the ions afterwards as an electron cloud (this is why metals lead heat well and can be easily bent). In the case of the iron, it forms an imaginary cube, with an ion in the middle- just as in the Atomium. There is, however, one problem then with the magnificent Belgian monument. The ions are in place but in reality there is no bond between them like the linking tubes on the Atomium. Their purpose there is to keep the whole thing together, they do not represent any meaningful thing. Tamási Olivér


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Carlo Marochetti (1805 – 1867)

Duke of Wellington Statue

Glasgow, Scotland


Carlo Marochetti was an Italian-born French sculptor. He was born in Turin, but he was brought up in France. He followed King Louis-Philippe into exile in 1848, after that he lived in London. He often made sculptures about the famous figures of English history, most famous of them being the equestrian statue of Richard the Lionheart, which was displayed at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851.

One of his other famous works is the Duke of Wellington Statue in Glasgow. Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769 – 1852) was one of the most successful military leaders in British history. He was born in Ireland from an Anglo-Irish family, and he pursued a military career from a young age. Early in his career he served in Ireland, the Netherlands and India, but he rose to significance during the Napoleonic War. He was a General, then the Field Marshal of the British army, and the ambassador to France after the 1st exile of Napoleon. During Napoleon’s 100 Days he was the leader of the allied army that defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. Because of his stark personality he earned the nickname “The Iron Duke”.

The statue is located on the Royal Exchange Square in Glasgow, in front of the Gallery of Modern Arts. What makes this statue really interesting is that it is usually seen with a traffic cone on its head. The tradition of putting cones on Wellington’s head dates back to the 1980s, allegedly started by a drunken college student. In 2013 the city council announced a renovation project, in which they would have raised the plinth of the statue to stop the ‘vandals’. This announcement caused a public uproar, including the Facebook group ‘Save the Cone’, which accumulated more than 45,000 likes. Because of the disapproval of the citizens, the council decided not to carry out the project. Rakovszky András