Road through the Woods (Night Travellers at a Cross)
After his studies in Munich and Paris, Ladislav Mednyánszky was one of a few Hungarian artists with experience of new French trends and the Barbizon school. More valuable artistic experience was gained by him during a stay at the painter’s colony in Szolnok in 1880. The main themes in his painting during this period were forest scenes, figures on bridges as well as roadside crucifixes. The painting of night travellers was probably finished during the first half of the 1880’s, and it displays the above-mentioned influences. The motif of the Cross in a forest, symbolising death, occurrs regularly in Mednyánszky’s work. As Csilla Markója writes, „Mednyánszky understood painting as a momentary concentration and a method of crystallizing the strength and energy that he felt towards a motif; he always sought the most suitable way of expression and depiction“. Our theme reflects his interest in unhappiness and suffering. The Forest Path shows three figures with downcast heads, praying in a dark corner of the forest by a Cross during a bright night. The monumental scale of the composition is emphasised by the proportions of the figures as well as by the brilliant light effects. The painter created an almost monochrome composition of shades of brown, from which yellow and orange tones catch the light. A similar motif could have been seen in the All-Saints Day, which was published in the Vasárnapi Újság periodical in 1888. Text: Katarína Beňová
Literature: 111 diel zo zbierok. Slovenská národná galéria. Bratislava : SNG, Vyd. Slovart, 2008. 277 s. ISBN 9788080856014(viaz.), 136-137.
Markója, Csilla (ed.): Ladislav Mednyánszky, 1852 - 1919. SNG, Slovart, 2004, s. 473, kat. č. 19