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The Hungarian Landscape

Apart from paintings of topographic precision produced right at the beginning of the artistic career of Károly Markó, the Elder, it was only 1853 that saw the emergence of the Hungarian landscape as a new theme in his oeuvre. This phenomenon is undoubtedly connected to his visit to Hungary in 1853. Two of his pictures painted at the time, showing the typical view of the Great Hungarian Plain, can be considered as emblematic pieces of 'the image of the Hungarian Plain' created by Hungarian Romanticism even if these paintings were brought back to Hungary as late as the twentieth century and became subsequently known to the Hungarian public. However, his son, András Markó, visited Hungary during the early 1850s, and it was this short stay that resulted in the painting of his Hungarian landscape with harvesters showing a slight touch of idealised vision learnt from his father. The youngest of Károly Markó's sons, Ferenc, left Italy for good around 1853 or 1854, and settled in Hungary. At first he also continued to depict the Hungarian landscape with typical staffages in accordance with his father's idealised vision, but he soon found his own style in a couple of years. The large compositions of his genre paintings tend to have just as prevailing elements as the landscape itself. The uniqueness of Ferenc Markó's art can be discerned through his capability of avoiding the stereotype imagery of the Hungarian landscape, including romantic sentimentality, as well as of adding some joviality to his portrayals. At the same time, Ferenc Markó is an outstanding representative of genre painting depicting Gypsies in the history of Hungarian painting.