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Sputnik versus Apollo

Science, technology and the Cold War in the Hungarian visual arts, 1957–1975

Acta Historiae Artium Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae
Author: Sándor Hornyik

In 1957, when the Soviet Union sent into orbit Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite in history, the Cold War stepped into a new phase; the Space Age began. In 1961 came another victory: the first man in space was also communist. In this regard, the Sixties were about the nuclear arms race that meant a scientific and technological competition as well. Then came Apollo 11, the spaceship and the lunar module, which proved unquestionably that the West had won this war. This paper discusses the Hungarian artistic reception of this scientific and technological war. Some artists served well the aims of the Eastern Bloc; others had their own political and aesthetic motivation. Some used the official visual culture; others tried to transform it. Describing the scientifically and technologically oriented visual arts (mainly painting) of the Long Sixties (1957–1973), I will focus mainly on one topic: aviation and military technology. Besides, I intend to deconstruct the apparently plausible narrative that claims that the early heroism (late Fifties) of the Soviet technological and military supremacy turned into a resigned acceptance of defeat in the early Seventies

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The purpose of this paper is to produce an approach to Sol through Numismatics. I intend to point out the possible correspondences existing between the god Sol, referred to as Sol Invictus in historiography,1 and Apollo. While the solar facet of Phoebus Apollo is well known, to what extent he exerted an influence over Sol Invictus has yet to be elucidated. Comparing types and chronologies plus describing correspondences between the two gods in an homogeneous process may actually constitute a different approach. Three aspects will be taken into consideration: iconography exchange, the chronological relationship and the propagandistic function of coin legends. The aim is to incorporate the knowledge thus gained into a critical analysis of Sol in the 3rd century.

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This paper has been intended to describe the influence of an archaeological source and a literary source on Horace's ode Dive, quem proles. The author intends to prove that Horace has composed the ode as if he was walking from the portico to the cult statue in the Temple of Apollo on the Palatine. In the second part of the paper the parallel motifs of the second Callimachean Hymn and the Horatian poem, e.g. mimesis, hybris, are analysed.

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. Frisk , Hjalmar 1954 -1972 Griechisches etymologisches Wörterbuch . I-III. Heidelberg : Carl Winter Universitätsverlag . Graf , Fritz 2008 Apollo. London and New York: Routledge . Graf , Fritz 2009 Apollo, Possession, and Prophecy

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Four bronze cows by Myron, the Athenian sculptor, stood in front of Apollo’s temple on the Palatine hill, which Octavian dedicated in 28 BCE. They were placed close to the altar and the statue of this god, in the courtyard of the temple, whose portico was decorated with statues of the 50 daughters of Danaus. The meaning of those statues is clarified by a passage from Pausanias, who tells the story of Danaus coming to Argos and claiming kingship for himself, even if in competition with Gelanor. Suddendly a herd of cows appeared in front of the city, led by a bull. A wolf challenged him, fought, won, and became the leader of the herd. This omen pointed at Danaus as the chosen one for kingship, and he had thus a temple to Apollo built as a thanksgiving to the author of the prodigy. This was an evident comparison to the story of Octavian himself, who won the competition for political leadership in Rome thanks to Apollo.

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The guiding idea of my article is to see the mythical and political ideology conveyed by the western side of the Ara Pacis Augustae in a (hopefully) new light. The Augustan ideology of power is in the modest opinion of the author intimately intertwined with the myths and legends concerning the Primordia Romae. Augustus strove very hard to be seen by his contemporaries as the Novus Romulus and as the providential leader (fatalis dux, an expression loved by Augustan poetry) under the protection of the traditional Roman gods and especially of Apollo, the Greek god who has been early on adopted (and adapted) by Roman mythology and religion.

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Propertius Kr. e. 16-ban keletkezett actiumi elégiája (IV 6) — az Aeneis pajzsleírásának egy utalását leszámítva — az első szöveg, amely a Kr. e. 28-ban fölszentelt palatiumi épületegyüttest az actiumi csata eseményéhez köti. A tanulmány azt vizsgálja, hogy a Propertius-költemény hogyan kapcsolódik a templom és könyvtár épületéhez, az elégia hogyan építi föl a kulturális-politikai emlékezet terét. Először a verset meghatározó gyűrűs szerkezet pontos föltárására tesz kísérletet, majd a propertiusi Augustus-kép néhány vonását tárja föl, végül pedig azt kutatja, hogy Propertius, illetve Horatius szövegeiben hogyan jelenik meg a kor kánonteremtő igénye, az irodalmi nyilvánosság kérdése, a Bibliotheca Apollinis Palatini kulturális üzenete.

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Stage curtains are works in the border zone between applied art and high art, having a special place on account of their function and peculiar theme in the oeuvre of some 19th century artists. In that of Sándor Liezen-Mayer the salient places are taken by painting and literary illustration, but in indirect relationship with illustration his commissions to design stage curtains also constituted an organic part of the oeuvre. Designing the program and executing the painted stage curtains was squeezed to the periphery of 19th century painting, whereas in that-time art life it had an important place as an artistic task of great prestige since the late 18th century. With the demotion of allegoric representations into the background the huge surfaces of stage curtains began to feature compositions of a different type, which drew partly on the earlier stock of allegorical elements and partly on literary motifs.

Liezen-Mayer’s contemporary and former colleague at the Academy Hans Makart produced the important pieces of the last great period of curtain decoration, which might have partly been the model for the Hungarian artist, too. Liezen-Mayer’s two curtain designs known today are from the beginning and end of his career, as if framing the oeuvre. The two designs separated by some thirty years are variants of the same allegorical scene: Apollo, the ancient god of arts is seen in an easily interpreted composition, surrounded by diverse attributes and allegorical figures as an illustration of the mythological tradition. Only plans survive of the two – colour schemes and large cartoons –; the comparison of the two provides a firm basis to trace the change in the artist’s outlook over his career.

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Augustus' approach to cults of foreign origins has recently undergone much reconsideration. Until the late 20th century, scholars largely regarded the emperor's religious policies as deeply conservative, maintaining that Augustus was mostly preoccupied with the ‘restoration’ of ancient Italian religion and discouraged the worship of foreign gods. In the last three decades, however, scholars have identified a rather different trend, noticing, in fact, Augustus' openness towards the ‘foreign’. In this paper, I explore Augustus' position about ‘foreign’ rites that were highly popular in contemporary Rome, and specifically, the Eleusinian Mysteries, the Egyptian rites, the cult of Mater Magna, and the cult of Apollo (although, as I clarify below, the last one cannot be strictly labeled as ‘foreign’). I offer a survey of ancient literary sources – giving an interpretation of them as comprehensive as possible considering the nature of this contribution – and argue that Augustus was not only receptive of ‘foreign’ practices but was also able to shape the ‘foreign’ to his own advantage and self-promotion, transforming it into a vital feature of the new imperial reality.

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