Pilgrimage to the Cedars in Lebanon Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka


Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka Kisszeben [Sabinov], 1853 – Budapest, 1919

Date: 1907
Medium: canvas, oil
Dimensions: image: 200 × 192 cm frame: 210 × 203.5 × 9 cm
Type: painting
Inventory number: 93.25T
Collection: Collection of Paintings

Due to his life pattern, conviction and his individual, missionary art, Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka became an emblematic figure of Hungarian painting. Previously a pharmacist, he was already in his forties, when he began his artistic studies in Munich in 1894. After that, he travelled a lot to find the “great topic” for his art. His cedar pictures created in Lebanon, just like the Pilgrimage, are the key pieces of his oeuvre. Their symbolic force, on the one hand, come from their strong confessional value and can also be taken as hidden self-portraits, while on the other hand, they can be translated as general symbols. According to the then popular, Hungarian historic tradition, cedars played a salient role in Hungarian prehistoric mythology, so in a sense, Csontváry gave shape to a national programme. Csontváry’s painting technique represents his peculiar worldview as well: the animation of the earthly region is suggested by the broad impasto brushwork of thickly applied paint, while he painted the heavenly spheres with increasingly homogeneous and smooth surfaces.

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