The artist, living a life of real poetic asceticism in the Swiss Alps, painted the Maternité pictures in the 1890s. These paintings occupy a particular place among his monumental landscapes and mountain scenes of serene sensitivity. The opposing poles of demonic evil and devoted, tender motherly love appear in these canvases, which are imbued with the excitability of late 19th century Art Nouveau and Symbolism. There are four examples of this latter subject matter which vary the details and atmosphere of the same motif only with minor differences; the most representative of them and the largest in size is in the Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Milan. The Budapest picture is a piece of the series which shows possibly the greatest artistic sensitivity in its resolution, and the most unified composition. Its delicately-carved frame is an organic part of the work.

Ferenc Tóth


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