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The Beginnings of Károly Markó's Landscape Painting
European landscape painting had made signicificant progress by the early nineteenth century, whereas in the territories of the Habsburg Empire lying east of Vienna, more precisely in former Northern Hungary, pictures of quite rudimentary character, if not provincial compositions were still being produced. They tended to follow the taste as well as trying to meet the requirements of the nearest aristic centre, that is, Vienna. The practice of painting historical landscapes, mainly aiming at a picturesque view, was closely related to the so called topographic landscape and presented the places of emblematic events of national history, including its landscape and architectural elements. In the course of the first decades of the nineteenth century series of pictures depicting certain regions with their historical relics, castles and ruins in the first place, had become extremely popular and were subsequently published in albums with explanatory texts. Whereas in other regions of Hungary there hardly existed a school with relatively uniform sets of style in the given period, it should be noted that former Northern Hungary definitely had such a school, using, on the one hand, the topographic method, and on the other hand, the gouache technique, including its painstaking and detailed, yet rigid way of depiction. The most outstanding landscape painters of all were János Rombauer, János Jakab Müller, and József Czauczik who can be considered as the first examples for Károly Markó, the Elder. He probably was a student of Czauczik as well, and his first pictures should by all means have been made after the works of János Jakab Müller which he first copied and subsequently used as inspiration for his later activities. However, he gradually managed to surpass the style of his masters during the 1820s. Partly as a result of his studies undertaken in the Academy of Fine Arts of Vienna, and partly because of his artistic experiences of Vienna, Markó's painting had radically changed.