Pre-War Figurative Art
(1922 - 1950)
70 x 47 cm.
Tempera on board.
'I would be like a pair of compasses, the steel tip of which is stabbed into Rozsnyó, and the pencil end of the which in Pest writes the letters of Hungarian cultural history, if the gum of forgetfulness does not erase them', Tichy wrote about himself around 1913. Gyula Tichy was born in 1879, he finished his schooling in Rozsnyó, a Slovak town. In 1898 he applied to the School of Drawing, where he learned the art of drawing and painting under the guidance of László Gyulai and later Bertalan Székely. Although he only spent two weeks in Nagybánya, it was a revelation to him what he saw and experienced there. At the beginning of the century he visited Venice twice. The memories of his travels are fresh, lush, light-filled watercolours of the beach and harbour, capturing details of the sunlit coast and harbour, reflecting the impressionistic influence of his weeks in Nagybánya. Gyula Tichy's works were first exhibited at the National Salon in an exhibition of works by college students immediately after graduating from college. His early paintings were influenced by Böcklin, Stuck, Mucha and Klimt, and followed Art Nouveau in decorative style, formal language and formal construction. But he also produced post-impressionist, almost pointillist works. He worked on biblical, mythological and literary themes, mostly on cardboard, with individual compositions and conceptions.
In 1904 he took up a teaching post in Budapest, but his health deteriorated and a year later he went home to Rozsnyó. After regaining his strength, he started painting and experimenting with renewed vigour. It was then that he discovered the technique best suited to his personality, tempera painting, which led to a stylistic change in his art. In addition to his literary motivated works, he also created works of art on historical subjects, which are characterised by decorative qualities, the use of deep, velvety colours and Art Nouveau flatness. At the same time, these works are characterised by the gloomy, pessimistic atmosphere of the Hungarian world of the turn of the century. (The Kunsthalle rejected his paintings, and his visit to Gödöllő was not received as he would have expected.) However, he joined the KÉVE artists' association, of which he remained an active member for the rest of his life. KÉVE's exhibitions are primarily a means for him to meet the public, the general public, and also to be successful.
Around 1908, Tichy came closer to folk art, which then touched every genre of his art. At first he depicted idealized Hungarian heroes, the Kuruks and the rural peasantry, but from 1909 onwards he increasingly portrayed the true face of the countryside in his works, with loving sympathy. His painting of Ferenc Rákóczi II can also be classed among the latter. Tichy does not idealise the former Hungarian nobleman and Transylvanian prince, the leader of the war of independence named after him, nor does he depict him in battle or in his noble costume and attributes. But with his soldiers, who are cold and tired. Rózsnyó played a very important role in Rákóczi's life. It was here that the decision to dethrone the House of Habsburg was taken in 1707, and announced at the famous Diet in the same year in Ónod. The reason for this was the extremely cold winter that year, which also prevented the Diet from being held in Rozsnyo. The Prince lived in the Chamber of Mines building, which still stands today. From here Rákóczi addressed his diplomatic correspondence to many foreign rulers, distributed his military orders and met with delegates from the nearest counties.
Tichy's painting probably commemorates this winter event. It explains why they stand in the cold snow without horses, appearing to be waiting. Perhaps this is where the decision was made to let the messenger go, or perhaps they are awaiting his arrival.