László Mednyánszky's work is investigated in the present study in the context of Austrian “Stimmungsimpressio-nismus”, an artistic phenomenon, which corresponds in contemporary Hungarian art criticism to “Stimmungmalerei”(painting of sentiments, proposed 1886 by G. Keleti). The cult of French Impressionism has overshadowed in the art history of Central Europe a late 19th-century school of nature representation, based on sentiments and considered later as a provincial phenomenon. László Mednyánszky's paintings can be compared with the main representants of Austrian “Stimmungsimpressionismus”, and in fact he had contacts with painters as Emil Jakob Schindler, Robert Russ, Hans Canon, Wilhelm Bernatzik and Tina Blau. Inspite of his very deep knowledge about impressionist painting, he was mainly influenced by Barbizon painters, and in the first line by J. F. Millet. In the second part of the study figurative paintings by Mednyászky, representing poor people, are analyzed. Their relationship to the tradition of Ribera, Daumier, Géricault and mainly of Millet corresponds to a literary inspiration due mainly to the famous roman Les mystères de Paris by Eugène Sue. The great influence of this kind of literature is witnessed by friends of Mednyánszky.
László Mednyánszky's work during his whole period of artistic activity developed, in essence, independently from the then contemporary styles and current trends. This statement, however, does not exclude the fact that his work is marked by various deflections in both his personal style and the quality of paintings, and is interwoven with several experiments. So far a relatively clear picture of Mednyánszky's work and its development has been created, especially from the perspective of his major periods; however, almost all of his artistic activity is accompanied by experiments, deflections from the stream, returns to memories and moods of previous periods. That's why Mednyánszky's entire artwork is characterized by the plurality of style and motives. Since the late 70's, we have known from the painter's own diaries that he also intensively and theoretically studied the more clearly formal problems of painting. We study the art of Mednyánszky in the first half of the 1890's from the viewpoint of these experiments: e.g. the range of problems relating to allegoric representation, where we proved that Mednyánszky did not start dealing with the themes of death and its allegoric representation in a direct relation to the illness of his father, as it has so far been stated by a number of researchers, it culminated in this time. However, a grave, a cemetery, death, illness, bad luck, a dying person, a dead child, etc. are constantly repeated motives in his artwork. We try to find examples of paintings, which could have been marked by the painter as spiritual, pictures that he might consider imaginations between unrealistic and realistic, and also to discover what the painter was referring to as “conventional realism”or “a totally free form”and so on. Mednyánszky, in the second half of the 90's, did not continue these experiments; however, he used the previously obtained experiences, consisting mostly of his awareness of a painter's freedom and the determination of possible limits of representation, as these proved most convenient for the painter. Mednyánszky certainly made experiments of this nature, and in that period of time, i.e. around 1895, he made a particularly high number of them. It is obvious, that he was looking for new manners and outlets of expression, as well as for new themes, and, in parallel with pictures created in a proven way, he discovered some possibilities that can be considered extreme in the context of his artwork. These experiments, however, definitely did not satisfy him. However, a further step in the development of his artwork came about after his third stay in France in 1896–97.
Az alábbi tanulmány kísérlet a kiváló magyar festő, Mednyánszky László (1852-1919) új kiadású írásos hagyatékának interpretatív megközelítésére. A művésznaplók különös dokumentumai egy intellektuális tájékozódásban eltelt életnek: görög betűkkel írt - talán szándékosan kódolt - magyar, illetve német nyelvű gondolattöredékek. A szerző képeivel egyszerre született szövegek tehát, amelyek történeti szempontú feltárásra és befogadásra várnak. A művész „töprengéseinek” konstans tárgyai felfoghatók egy tematikus belső beszéd elemeiként. A feljegyzések tartalmi centrumában a XIX. század végi magyar társadalom kataklizmájának, erkölcsi-biológiai romlásának problémája áll. Festőnk e romlás hordozó alapját, magát a Rosszat is megnevezi. Ez pedig nem más, mint a kortársi anyagelvűség, sőt az ontológiai értelemben vett Anyag maga. Ellentéte a naplókban a Lélek, az örök Jó princípiuma, abban az értelem-összefüggésben, ahogyan az a görög idealista hagyományból ránk maradt. A mulandóságnak kitett érzékvilág, a kárhozatos test és a tiszta eszményiség nyelvileg kimutatható toposzai olvastán felvetjük egy platonikus-gnósztikus alapú dualizmus szerepét Mednyánszky világképében.
Ladislav/László Mednyánszky and his relationship to Strážky. Strážky/Nehre/Nagyőr in the Spiš region and the Late Renaissance Castle, owned by his family played an important role in the artistic evolution of the painter L. Mednyánszky (1852–1919). His memorial museum was installed in the restored castle, which opened with a new exhibition of his works of the family's heritage enlarged by paintings lent by the Slovak National Gallery of Bratislava. Strážky represented for Mednányszky not only a source of fundamental nature experiences and a constant object of his landscape studies but also the first impressions of rural life and social interest. He installed also his atelier in the castle, and many of his works are seemingly rooted in the circumstances of his family. Such are e.g. portraits of his father, mainly those representing him on the catafalque. The author proves in this essay, that Mednyánszky's interest for shocking subject matters concerning death, catastrophes, survival after death in the sense of the Symbolism can be hardly related to his experiences (his father died in 1895), and can be documented already after late 1870's.