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Portraits of a Painter

There are very few portraits left of Károly Markó, the Elder. We do not know any pictures of him as a young man. His earliest portrait should have been made by his student, József Molnár, in 1845. Since we do not know of the whereabouts of this specific painting, we do consider the ones made in 1847 of special importance, because they are regarded as the earliest known portraits of the master. It was Karl Rahl of Vienna who made a portrait of Markó in Florence, and Antal Ligeti subsequently copied a portrait of Markó done by Franz Schrotzberg who was also of Viennese origin. Fortunately, there were several other portraits made of him as a result of his visit to Vienna and Pest in 1853. Hans Gasser, a sculptor of Vienna, made a plaster portrait of him in 1853 and cut the same portrait from marble in 1855. At the same time, Miklós Barabás, a contemporary Hungarian painter, made a drawing and a litograph of Markó during the latter's visit to Pest. Nevertheless, a square-headed, bearded, and balding figure seems to recur in several of Markó's biblical compositions, so we cannot exclude the possibility of him having depicted himself in the role of St Peter, or of other saints. As far as his children's portraits are concerned, Katalin, his daughter, is the only one of whom there is no image left. We have a photograph of Ferenc, whereas Mór Than, a contemporary Hungarian painter, made a portrait of András, and an excellent portrait of Károly, the Younger, by Mihály Kovács was also left to us.

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