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Fairy Ilona Meeting her Lover, sketch Mór Than


Mór Than Óbecse [Bečej], 1828 – Trieste, 1899

Date 1863
Object type drawing
Medium, technique paper, pencil

387 × 760 mm

Inventory number 1900-303
Collection Collection of Prints and Drawings
On view This artwork is not on display

Mór Than’s first significant state commission came for the interior decoration of the Vigadó Concert Hall designed by Frigyes Feszl, which he made together with Károly Lotz. The story of Fairy Ilona and Prince Árgirus is the theme of the cycle of frescos, which was chosen because certain elements were thought to be related to Hungarian folk tales.
The artist’s composition presents Ilona meeting her lover again. As this was the first Hungarian fine arts depiction of the story, the painter could not rely on any concrete Hungarian antecedents for presenting the figures, thus they recall the classical prototypes of Italian Renaissance, primarily those of Raphael, while the prince is dressed like figures in engravings depicting 19th-century romantic stories. The composition’s energetic animation recalls the mass scenes of historical painting, while certain elements refer to earlier iconographic traditions, such as the figure with the harp, the dancers below him, the cupids or the cloth held behind the fairy queen, which in the painting appears in black, decorated with stars – an attribute of the gods, a sign of immortality.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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