Art Piece of the Month / June-July

Károly LOTZ (1833-1904): A Bridge in Rákospalota

1879

oil on canvas

97 x 147 cm

 

One of the most esteemed Hungarian painters, Károly Lotz’s oeuvre is mostly recognized due to his mural works (Concert Hall, National Museum, Keleti Railway Station, Opera House, St. Stephen's Basilica, and Parliament House) as well as his portraits and nudes today. However, he exhibited landscape pieces (both in Budapest and Vienna) even at the start of his career, especially paintings depicting the Great Hungarian Plain. However, the workload stemming from his regular commissions often overshadowed this aspect of his oeuvre. From the 1870s, he was a regular guest in Káposztásmegyer, residing in the villa of his old friend and painter, Károly JAKOBEY, and made excursions to the neighboring towns of Rákospalota, Fót, and Alag. The still unregulated streams named Rákos and Szilas invited the artist to paint several watercolor and oil paintings.

 

This particular piece is the most elaborate one of this aforementioned group. The idyllic genre piece is from the end of the era when Budapest-based artists started to discover the still untouched and natural surroundings and suburban areas of the capital. Of course, the landscape in the painting is beyond unrecognizable today due to extensive urbanization in the past 120 years. Presumably, the scene depicts the bridge and the surrounding area over Szilas stream in Old Fót Street in the 15th district.

 

The mature landscape paintings of Károly Lotz were inspired by several sources, including the Barbizon school and the old Masters, such as Rubens' landscapes. In addition, Lotz’s artwork is not only a good example of Hungarian romantic landscape painting – painters of the later artists’ colonies of Nagybánya and the Great Hungarian Plain also acknowledged their predecessor in Lotz. 

 

 

Photo: Ágnes Bakos, Bence Tihanyi

 

 

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