Author: József Sisa
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The Hungarian Parliament – construction, decoration, ideology. The Hungarian Parliament in Budapest (1885–1902) was one of the largest buildings of its time in Europe. As home to the nation’s legislature, it also had to serve as a veritable monument glorifying the country’s history and its newly-acquired status within the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Following an architectural competition, Imre Steindl, a professor at the Budapest Technical University, received the commission to realise his plan. In fact, Count Gyula Andrássy, a highly influential aristocrat and statesman, had picked his entry due to its style, analogous to the Neo-Gothic style of the London Houses of Parliament. Though historicist in appearance and opulent in terms of materials and decoration, modern technology also played a considerable role in its construction. The statues in the rotunda and on the exterior of the building were meant to immortalise Hungary’s great historical personalities, even if their moderate size, uniform style and subordinated position curtailed artistic expression. The relatively small number of mural paintings, highlighting outstanding events of Hungarian history, were virtually overwhelmed by the wealth of colourful decoration. All in all, Steindl wanted the whole structure to be a single work of art bearing his mark. The Hungarian Parliament ranks high among parliament buildings on the international scene.