Faces of Europe

The inspiration of nature

Landscape has been a subject and inspiration for many artists, and has often been used as a vehicle to evoke emotion. By the 19th century, many Arcadian and romantic landscapes portrayed a lost Eden against a context of industrialization.

Slovenian artist Franc Kavčič is a key representative of central European neoclassical style. His idealized landscapes depict the mightiness of nature and its hidden dangers.

Many painters combined landscape subjects with motifs from their native traditions to stir emotions about national identity. Hungarian artist Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka travelled far and wide to find a grand motif for his art. Thousand-year-old cedars play a prominent role in ancient Hungarian mythology and in choosing this motif Csontváry gave shape to an original concept of national identity.

The influences of major contemporary art movements were clearly evident in the work of many artists. Slovakian Zolo Palugyay, for example, studied in many European centres of contemporary art including Budapest, Krakow, Munich and Paris, but he sought a Slovak idiom in modern painting.

Croatian näive artist Ivan Rabuzin depicted lyrical and idealised landscapes, brimming with optimism and spirituality.