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

Roman Bridge at Mostar

Oil on canvas, 92 x 185 cm
Janus Pannonius Múzeum, Pécs

Csontváry visited Herzegovina in spring 1903 when he painted "Roman Bridge" and "Arrival of Spring in Mostar". The picture shows the small Balkan town with the bridge over the Neretva in the middle. The bridge is considered to come from Roman times although it is much younger than that: it was built in the 16th c. during the Turkish occupation.

On both sides of the river, houses with peaked roofs line winding streets. Behind the houses, one can see a hill: it is sharply silhouetted against the sky. Csontváry's picture reflects the view but he rearranged it to make the composition more impressive: he emphasized important motifs and abandoned less important ones. He united two views in order to emphasize characteristic features. The town appears to be desolate and lifeless, the vast silence is a major component. The pellucidly clean greenish water is flowing in a stately way and the glimmering water is surrounded by rocks as if lazily lying animals. Colours of the picture are bright, yet subdued and velvet-like. This is no longer the world of the small town in the Balkans, it is a part of Csontváry's dream world.