PICTURING CHILDHOOD 

THE CHILD IN HUNGARIAN ART PAST AND PRESENT

New temporary exhibition in the Castle Museum.

 

For many adults, as they look back, childhood means carefree idyll and lost contentment, expressed by Gyula Illyés as ‘the eternally familiar unknown’. Today, the concept of the child is usually full of positive connotations like innocence, purity and happiness. Looking back in history, we see a continuous change in the public perception and cultural role of children and the demands placed upon them. How are these expectations and roles reflected in works of art? Where do we see the mother as Madonna, and where as a working woman? Where does the family come over as an economic unit or the guarantee of royal succession or a tiny atom of community? How do the children of famous painters appear in their pictures? How have artists set boys apart from girls through the choice of dress and children’s toys? How have pictures been put to educational use through images of studious schoolchildren, well-mannered girls and pious boys? How did a new form of acceptance appear at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, when artists started to recognise the significance of the way children play, draw and tell tales? What is there beyond the ideal of the angelic child? How does art present children’s vulnerableness? And how do adult artists look back on their own childhood?

 

The first – and up to now, last – time that the images of children in Hungarian art went on display was in 1940. The present exhibition looks back over three centuries of children in art, through masterpieces and lesser known work by the finest artists of the time including Miklós Barabás, József Borsos, Károly Ferenczy, Aladár Körösfői-Kriesch, István Csók, István Szőnyi and Gyula Derkovits. Paintings, graphics, statues, photographs, books and videos present a constantly-changing vision of the fragile, ephemeral phenomenon of childhood.

 

The exhibition runs from 13 October 2016 to 19 February 2017.

 

 

 


 

 Interior photos - Photos by Ágnes Bakos and Bence Tihanyi