(b. 1844, Munkács, d. 1900, Endenich)

Baby Visitors

Oil on wood, 110 x 150 cm
Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, Budapest

The year 1874 was a turning point in Munkácsy's life: he married the widow of Baron de Marches, which changed his lifestyle fundamentally. The painter, who had an impoverished childhood and was just as penniless as a young artist, all of a sudden became rich; now he came to live in a luxurious villa and had a busy social life. His new lifestyle soon became apparent in his art, too. Following his wife's advise, he gave up painting realist genres, and started to produce the so-called salon pictures, which depicted scenes from the social life of the bourgeoisie.

In "Baby Visitors" the young mother and her new-born baby are visited by girl-friends, but the real topic of the picture is the luxurious interior of the bourgeois salon and the elegant dress of the ladies. The wonderful richness of colours is the greatest merit of this painting. From the time of the salon paintings his entire oeuvre was characterized by this brilliance; the grim and dark pictures were replaced by bright and joyful paintings. The colours of this painting represent the high quality of Munkácsy's colourism.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.