(b. 1862, Wien, d. 1917, Budapest)

Sermon on the Mountain

Oil on canvas, 135 x 203 cm
Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, Budapest

The first summer in Nagybánya resulted a large size composition of a biblical nature. The gloomy and splendid landscape inspired the painter to pass on a serious message. The three major elements of the composition are a group of people in the foreground, light green leaves of the trees in the forest and monumental mountain chain the background. Critics concluded from the dominance of nature that in the case of this picture nature dominates man who is subordinated to it, although Ferenczy does not consider him insignificant. He emphasizes the group of people by applying various tools: they are placed in the foreground, formal connections are justified by content and are the lightest strip as far as colour is concerned. Ferenczy was reported to have been preparing for this biblical topic very seriously. His family, friends and models accompanied him to the mountain he had selected and they posed for his picture. The final version was predecessed by a lot of studies and sketches, as well as an oil sketch for the whole composition which was ready by 1896.

The subject matter and the composition, however, still engaged him so he painted "Sermon on the Hill" in a second version where the figure of the man appearing in nature became even more accentuated. His figures were more condensed and became oversize. At the exhibition in 1903, the second version was presented which Ferenczy thought of as his final approach to the theme. The picture from 1897, however, survived in fragments. For reasons still unclear, its owner cut it into pieces. Unfortunately, the middle part was lost, only its right and left sides have survived.

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