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Stained glass - "Orpheus"

Miksa Róth1905/1915

Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

This composition by Miksa Roth (1865–1944) illustrates a scene from Ovid’s Metamorphoses in which Orpheus, playing his lute and singing a song of mourning for his beloved, tames the wild animals surrounding him. His wife Eurydice has stepped on a poisonous snake whose bite has taken her from among the living. Orpheus flies down to the underworld where, with his moving song, he wins the favour of the lord and lady of the underworld. They permit Eurydice’s soul to return with Orpheus to the world above with one condition: Orpheus may not look at her until they reach earth. Since he fails to resist, his wife remains the prisoner of the underworld. Another stained glass window in the museum’s collection features Artemis, the goddess of hunting, with her attributes: a deer and a bow held in her hand. Miksa Roth produced the Orpheus and Artemis glass pictures as copies of figural elements of a window covering several storeys of a building. The window, and therefore the full decorative programme, can be seen in the stairwell of a block of flats and shops built by the Kasselik Foundation at Vorosmarty ter 3. Completed in 1911, the building was designed by the architects Kalman Giergl (1863–1954) and Floris Korb (1860–1930). Here, the figures of Orpheus and Artemis are joined by that of Aphrodite. The window also has representations of birds and bouquets of flowers in decorative vases. Related to this are Miksa Roth’s birdand- flower stained glass windows in the building in Kalvin ter designed by Professor Dezső Hultl (1870–1946) of the University of Technology and built between 1912 and 1913 as the headquarters of the Farmers’ Insurance Association (now the AB AEGON offices).

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