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Old Testament and New Testament

The landscape paintings depicting biblical themes of Károly Markó, the Elder, should be considered as a special group of his works. Markó painted his first pictures depicting scenes taken from the stories of the Old and New Testaments at the same time his earliest mythological compositions at the beginning of his artistic career in the mid-1820s. Most of his pictures produced at that time seem to anticipate his more mature style of later periods both in their choices of subjects and in their compositions, suffice it to mention the series of pictures entitled Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt and Christ and the Woman of Samaria. Some decades later he chose certain biblical themes which seem to recur throughout his oeuvre, as well as further increasing his reputation from the 1840s onwards, such as the compositions of Call of the Disciples and of Jesus on the Road to Emmaus. It was the 1850s that saw the recurrence of some previous themes. Markó had quite frequently painted Baptism of Jesus at the beginning of the 1840s, and subsequently recomposed it over ten years later in the course of carrying out his Mexican commission. At the same time Markó frequently produced images of the miracles of Christ, such as the abated storm and the healing of men possessed by the devil. Nevertheless, Markó should not be deemed as a painter of themes taken from the New Testament only. His choices of themes taken from the Old Testament can exclusively be interpreted in the light of the New Testament, for example, the multiplication of food in the story of Elias as well as the resurrection of the widow's son can be deemed as direct references to the miracles of Christ. At the same time, we can discover the motif of 'the breach of Sabbath', the gleaning in the story of Ruth and Boaz. Yet, in addition to his series of pictures and to themes recurring in his oeuvre there seem to be some pictures which were never followed by new ones, such as the image of Christ on the Cross, the baptism of the Ethiopean, or St Paul's shipwreck. Naturally, most of his choices of biblical themes were adopted by his circle of students. We can mention the picture by Ferenc Markó entitled Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan, and it was András Markó that finished his father's picture entitled Christ Constitutes St Peter Head of the Church.