KISS, Bálint
(b. 1802, Szentes, d. 1868, Pest)

Battle Scene

1856-60
Lead-pencil on paper, 222 x 411 mm
Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, Budapest

Bálint Kiss's life was typical of many Hungarian artists' at that time. His great strenght of purpose and the true patriotism with which he supported Hungarian art is commendable. He was one of the first artists to try and meet the general demand for national traditions in fine arts. He studied historical painting at the Vienna Academy, and on his return home, like most of his colleagues, made his living from teaching art and painting portraits. He went on study trips abroad as he felt the lack of perfection in his works, though always persisting with historical compositions. He ran an art studio and was the first curator of the Picture Gallery of the National Museum. But his modest talent was not enough to perform so many duties.

One is immediately struck by the stagelike arrangement of his drawing, "Battle Scene", the overcrowded composition, the absence of perspective and his lack of thorough anatomical knowledge. He was probably influenced by the Baroque battle scenes he had seen in Vienna.