(b. 1867, Somogysom, d. 1940, Budapest)

The Warlord's Sword

Oil on canvas, 161 x 150 cm
Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, Budapest

Béla Iványi Grünwald, like all the other members of Hollósy's circle in Munich, was greatly influenced by the fine naturalism of Jules Bastien-Lepage. Right until his Nagybánya period, he painted in a similar style. The War Lord's Sword (1890), a painting worthy of the standard set by Bastien-Lepage, is set apart from his other paintings from the same period; in this painting, just like in Bastien-Lepage's works, the rustic scenes are depicted with tender sympathy.

This painting takes us back to the world of legends dealing with the origin of the Hungarian people. According to the legend, in Attila the Hun's time a shepherd found God's sword standing thrust into the earth. The king interpreted this as a manifesation of God's will, and set off to conquer the western world with the sword. Iványi depicted this scene very simple, in accordance with the rules of tonal painting. As a result, the painting is very different from the representative historical tableaux produced during the time of the Millennial celebrations.