(b. 1853, Kisszeben, d. 1919, Budapest)

Castellamare di Stabia

Oil on canvas, 101 x 120 cm
Janus Pannonius Múzeum, Pécs

Csontváry was about 50 years old when he painted this picture. His style was changing at that time: objective portrayal of nature was substituted by naive expressionism. He was in search of grandiose motifs of nature and history where grandiosity was not only a tool of expression, but a symbolic meaning as well.

The picture shows a small town at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. There are houses on the right, a bay on the left and Mount Vesuvius in the background. Water fills the picture up to two thirds of it. Water which appears to be calm has wild crests along the shore. There is a long breast-work along the road, projecting a sharp shadow on the cobble stones of the road. A cart with a donkey is standing crosswise on the road as if the animal had jibbed on seeing the wild waves. The waggoner is sitting indifferently in the driver's seat. A man is standing with his back to the load that is on the cart. A horse can be seen on the side of the picture. A figure is standing on the balcony of a house and is keeping watch. A cyclist can be seen somewhat away from him, his shadow is projectedon the wall. There is one more figure in the picture: a man sitting in a boat. There are no more signs of human beings around. The line of workshops and factories is continued by houses. The shape of the cloud follows the direction of the smoke. Two sailboats are gliding towards the coast one of which has the words, "Castellammare di Stabia, 1902" written on it.

The balance of the picture, the unity of town and nature, water and hill are perfect. The colours of the picture are bright. Houses are orange and pink, the water is royal blue and white. The sand is black with a strip as red as lava. The sailboats are orange and purple. The sky is a mixture of blue, grey, light green and greenish pink. One cannot help feeling the elementary power of nature. View becomes vision.