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Mihály Munkácsy (Hungarian painter) 1844 - 1900

The native form of the artists name is Munkácsy Mihály. Munkácsy was born Michael von Lieb to German parents in Munkács, Kingdom of Hungary, the town from which he later gathered his pseudonym. Mihály Munkácsy's artistic career started in 1862, after the difficult years of being a joiner's apprentice, when he began to work with the academic painter, Elek Szamossy and later with the head of the Gallery of the National Museum, Antal Ligeti. In the museum he copied the works of the great masters, while he studied the rural genre paintings of Károly Lotz and János Jankó from the papers. The influence of these two masters can be well-seen on his intimate genre-painting, the Easter Sprinkling which was painted already in Vienna in 1865, at the Academy of Arts. It was around this time when his Biedermeierstyle portraits of his relatives and acquaintances were made, too. In 1866 he matriculated to the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. His paintings Storm in the Puszta and the Animal Watering were painted at this time, both having gloomy colours and the characteristics of emotional romanticism. Still this year he prepared drawings for the so called Honvédalbum, the album of Hungarian soldiers, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Revolution of 1848. One of its oil versions is The Battlefield of Isaszeg. In 1868 he became the student of Ludwig Knaus at the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf of whom he had been an admirer for a long time. But at this time he was already familiar with the works of the French Barbizon painters among whom the realist pieces of Gustave Courbet influenced him the most. We can consider the Yawning Apprentice as the first step of his towards the new style, especially the Study Head to it which has an attitude clear of humour and idealism; this is his first piece of realist painting in his oeuvre. A year later he painted his first significant work, The Last Day of a Condemned Man which creates a dramatic atmosphere through the various psychological representation and gloomy colours. He won one of the golden medals of the Paris Salon in 1870 with this picture and he became a well-known artist at once. Still in Düsseldorf was the Making Lint painted in 1871, inspired by the atmosphere created due to the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war then. But it has national roots since in the picture a Hungarian soldier hurt during the Revolution of 1848 is telling his memories to the women making lint for the wounded soldiers.

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