TYPOGRAPHY

Printed materials selected from the collections of the Library and the Archive of the Museum of Applied Arts


On World Art Nouveau Day every year on the 10th of June, we remember the anniversary of the death of the architects Antoni Gaudí and Ödön Lechner. This a Hungarian initiative has been held on an international level since 2013. The Réseau Art Nouveau Network (RANN) has designated a central topic for World Art Nouveau Day every year since 2017. This year RANN chose the theme of typography.


DESIGNS FOR POSTERS AND ADVERTISEMENTS

Proof – Leaflet for the Mercur Bank and Foreign Exchange Office, Ferenc Helbing, 1900, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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In this leaflet design, we can see Mercury, the god of thieves and commerce, standing behind Fortuna, the goddess of luck. The symbolism emphasizes the stability of the bank, with the god embodying the banking house supporting the goddess, contrasting financial stability with the uncertainty of luck. The necessary advertisement text is in the red section below the main figures. Here only the name of the bank and the year are seen with a floral decoration in each of the corners.

Proof – Leaflet for the Mercur Bank and Foreign Exchange Office (1900) by Ferenc HelbingMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Ferenc Helbing's monogram

The designer Ferenc Helbing had a career as a master of applied graphics that stretched from his beginnings as a printer’s apprentice all the way to being named director of the Iparművészeti Főiskola (Academy of Applied Arts). 

Helbing learned not only typography, but also the art of lithography as a printer’s apprentice.
At the end of the 19th century, the design of books, title pages for periodicals, posters, and invitations were also the job of a printer. Academic artists (e.g., János Vaszary) appeared in the profession later, and designers specialized in this work were being trained in the first decades of the 20th century.

Advertising Design for the Business Stationery of József Ede Rigler’s Paper Factory, Ferenc Helbing, 1910, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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The stationery, drawing accessories, and writing materials manufacturer József Ede Rigler played a significant role in the promotion of the Hungarian paper industry. Thanks to the wide selection and demanding quality of his products, they successfully competed with imported goods and his products were in wide demand. The multifaceted graphic designer Ferenc Helbing played a major role in the reputation of Rigler’s company, since he  became the head professional at the press in 1901. 

Advertising Design for the Business Stationery of József Ede Rigler’s Paper Factory (1910) by Ferenc HelbingMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

The special quality of this advertisement design made in 1910 is its column-like composition, which contains the genre-painting style scene, the text, and the frame decoration. The text cuts into the frame in the middle, so attention is drawn to one of the most important pieces of information, the word stationery. 

Advertising Card Design for the Stained Glass Artist Miksa Róth, Miksa Róth, circa 1902, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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The versatility of Art Nouveau artists is legendary, so it is no surprise that the master of stained glass windows and glass mosaics, Miksa Róth, made this advertising card for his company himself. Before this one example, Miksa Róth used a “historicizing”, crowded picture as an advertisement card. 

Advertising Card Design for the Stained Glass Artist Miksa Róth, Miksa Róth, circa 1902, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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The supple lettering of the brief, straightforward text is connected to the lead cames of an imaginary window. At the same time, the horizontal rows of the text interrupt the decoration of the window repeatedly and emphatically, drawing attention to the words. Róth emphasized the more important sections with larger lettering, in particular highlighting his own name. At the top, in the middle, the three coats of arms-traditional emblem of fine arts-are mere decorative element.    

Advertising Card for the Picture Frame Merchant Siegfried Tausig, Sándor Nagy, circa 1902, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Sándor Nagy, one of the focal points of Hungarian Art Nouveau and the master of the Gödöllő artists’ colony, was a painter, graphic artist, and applied artist all in one. He was an eternal idealist whose artistic career and natural way of life produced an extraordinary harmony. This advertising card for the picture framer and merchant Siegfried Tausig suggests the company’s profile with a prominent framework decoration, every line of which has supple curves. The handwritten text was a perfect choice for this frame, suggestive of the beauty of freehand drawing. 

Design for the Cover Page of the Sheet Music for Lajos Bartók’s Poem “Nem Szeretlek” (I Don’t Love You) (1898) by János VaszaryMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Design for the Cover Page of the Sheet Music

János Vaszary was primarily known as a painter, and it is less well known that he was one of the most sought-after applied graphics artists at the end of the 1890s, designing posters, invitations, sheet music covers, title pages, and illustrations. 

The poet and playwright Lajos Bartók, who is not as well known today, was a founding member of the Műbarátok Köre (Art Lovers Association). Perhaps this is why Vaszary knew him and agreed to design the cover of the sheet music for Bartók’s love song that had been set to music by Elemér Farnady.

The composition of the page is both opulent and elegant, and there is no feeling of overcrowding despite the relative abundance of text. Pale violet irises can be seen in the background, over which the text is printed in Hungarian and in French. 

The pale violet, gold, and green colors provide a backdrop for the unique style of the lettering and create a distinct rhythm on the title page, maintaining the elegance of the entire composition. The craftsmanship of the printers of the time is shown by the fact that they were successfully able to produce this design, which represented a rather complex overall task.

Signet Designs for the Magyar Iparművészeti Társulat (Hungarian Applied Arts Association), From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Signet Designs for the Magyar Iparművészeti Társulat (Hungarian Applied Arts Association), From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Signet Designs for the Magyar Iparművészeti Társulat (Hungarian Applied Arts Association), From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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The Hungarian Applied Arts Association published a competition announcement in January of 1903 in the pages of Magyar Iparművészet to design an artistic symbol containing the association’s M. I. T. monogram. Henrik Darilek made a total of eleven signet designs on four separate sheets for the above competition. He tried out the letters in various arrangements based on the model of jewelers’ maker’s marks with monograms, sometimes placing the letters above one another, sometimes alongside one another. He also employed a variety of stylized floral elements to link them together. 

INK DRAWINGS FROM „THE GREAT SONATA” SERIES

Ink Drawings from “The Great Sonata” Series, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Ink Drawings from “The Great Sonata” Series, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Ink Drawings from “The Great Sonata” Series, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Ink Drawings from “The Great Sonata” Series, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Ink Drawings from “The Great Sonata” Series, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Ink Drawings from “The Great Sonata” Series, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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The series of drawings entitled “The Great Sonata” is a masterpiece of the Art Nouveau era by the applied artist, architect, and graphic artist Lajos Kozma, who came to Modernism after going through numerous styles and later rejected Art Nouveau. In this series, the doubts of a young man are projected. He examines the meaning of life, human relationships, and the relationship of life and death through artistic means and seeks out or searches for the answers. 

Ink Drawings from “The Great Sonata” Series, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Kozma made a book cover bound in parchment for this otherwise unreleased series, only a few pages of which were published. The cover is secretive and mysterious, since it tells nothing of the contents except for the fact that the art of Transylvania defined the early works of the artist in a visceral manner. This is clear since the central band with the inscription rises like a wooden grave marker, but its carvings have been ennobled into a particular ornamentation through Kozma’s hands. 

COVER PAGE DESIGNS FOR PERIODICALS

Design for the periodical Múzeumi és Könyvtári Értesítő (Museum and Library Bulletin), From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Here we see Henrik Darilek’s designs for the Múzeumi és Könyvtári Értesítő (Museum and Library Bulletin) periodical from around 1910. All three are upright rectangles, following the form of the publication, and the text is made up of lettering of his own design.We find creative variations in terms of design and arrangement of the title, the colophon, and the decorative imagery. All three have a clean, linear design built up from stylized elements.

Design for the periodical Múzeumi és Könyvtári Értesítő (Museum and Library Bulletin)Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Cover Page Design for the Múzeumi és Könyvtári Értesítő

On the first one, the headline consists of letters of similar size, divided by a geometrical ornament. The border consists of small squares of different elements. The varied motifs of the border used to express the versatility of museological relics and of the knowledge in books.

Design for the periodical Múzeumi és Könyvtári Értesítő (Museum and Library Bulletin)Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Cover Page Design for the Múzeumi és Könyvtári Értesítő

The most significant element of the second sketch is the initial. The capital M is embodied in the figure of Minerva, who wears an ornamental dress similar to those of Byzantine empresses. The two ends of her stole hang deeply down, reaching the letters of the colphon, creating a columnar ornament on the left side.

Design for the periodical Múzeumi és Könyvtári Értesítő (Museum and Library Bulletin)Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Cover Page Design for the Múzeumi és Könyvtári Értesítő

The surface of the third sketch is defined by the connection between a larger and a smaller square. The upper, larger one bears the headline in several rows, enriched with a complicated, figurái decoration. The smaller square at the bottom contains the colophon.

Cover Page Design for the Új Idők (New Times) Periodical, Pál Horti, 1901, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Pál Horti’s design for the Új Idők (New Times) periodical is reminiscent of the art of Henry van de Velde, who was the first Art Nouveau artist working in an abstract style. Horti did not only design the frame beautifully, but also the block of text. He did not enclose the rows of text in a rigid square field, but instead the delicate curves of the margins gently blend in with the bends of the extraordinary shapes. 

Cover Page for the Periodical Népművelés (Public Education) (1909) by Ferenc HelbingMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Cover Page Design for the Periodical Népművelés

The cover page for the periodical Népművelés (Public Education) is an early example of a stylistic change that took place around 1910 in Ferenc Helbing’s works. Rich two-dimensional decorations appear with spiral or serrated elements reminiscent of carvings. In this way, Helbing was able to create an exemplary unity of image and text.

Headline Design for the Periodical Magyar Iparművészet (Hungarian Applied Arts), Ferenc Helbing, 1898, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Ferenc Helbing made this headline design according to the aesthetic and practical considerations of typography. The Art Nouveau lettering of his own design is simple and has slightly curving lines, and the black majuscules on a white background as well as the black lines and shading produce a decorative effect. The nude male with his back turned places a laurel wreath, the symbol of glory, on the “Magyar Iparművészet” inscription.

Cover Page Design for the Periodical Magyar Iparművészet (Hungarian Applied Arts), Antal Weinwurm, Henrik Pap, 1898, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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The watercolor cover page design made by Henrik Pap for Magyar Iparművészet (Hungarian Applied Arts), which is symmetrically composed and densely ornamented with organic elements, was made while taking into account its typographical (aesthetic and practical) arrangement. The artist used Art Nouveau lettering of his own design, which was characterized by alternating thin and thick lines, as if they were written using a pen. 

Cover Page Design for the Periodical Magyar Iparművészet (Hungarian Applied Arts) (1898) by Árpád Ádámosi SzékelyMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Cover Page Design for the Periodical Magyar Iparművészet

On his cover page design made for the first issue of Magyar Iparművészet (Hungarian Applied Arts), Árpád Ádámosi Székely depicted a female figure that holds in her upraised hands a large piece of fabric caught in the wind.

The artist used Art Nouveau lettering that he had designed, which is integrated aesthetically into the composition.
The nude female figure symbolizing freedom is a metaphor of the Art Nouveau, which broke away from everything that contemporary academic art represented.

Cover Page Design for the Periodical Magyar Iparművészet (Hungarian Applied Arts), Pál Horti, 1900, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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This is Pál Horti’s cover page design for the competition announced in 1900 for the Magyar Iparművészet (Hungarian Applied Arts) periodical. He designed the lettering in the Art Nouveau style, and every letter is upper case and can be placed between two parallel horizontal lines. The letters stand close to one another and touch, even sliding over one another in the title.

Cover Page Design for the Periodical Magyar Iparművészet (Hungarian Applied Arts) (1913) by Sándor PrenoszilMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Cover Page Design for the Periodical Magyar Iparművészet

Sándor Prenoszil used soft Art Nouveau lettering with fine lines on his cover page design made in 1913, which he paired with a blossoming fruit tree and a beautiful lady. The text dominates the left-hand side of the page. Every letter is upper case in the cover page design and can be placed between two parallel horizontal lines, and the letters are placed a bit far away from one another.

The modeling of the letter M and the double letter TT is worth noting.

COVER PAGES OF THE PERIODICAL MAGYAR IPARMŰVÉSZET (HUNGARIAN APPLIED ARTS)

Coverpage for the periodical Magyar Iparművészet (Hungarian Applied Art) 1910/2-3. (1910) by unknownMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Coverpage for the Periodical Magyar Iparművészet 1910/2-3.

In place of imposing Art Nouveau ornamentation, the design of the title block and lettering, in particular the elongated letter I, provide interest to the cover page of this 1910 double issue of Magyar Iparművészet (Hungarian Applied Art).

The particularly long stem of the letter I extends down to the bottom of the page like a flagpole, and the lines of text are hung from this. The ribbons waving to the left of the letters I and M provide a fresh appearance and the illusion of fluttering to the composition. 

Coverpage for the periodical Magyar Iparművészet (Hungarian Applied Art) 1900/4. (1900) by Walter CraneMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Coverpage for the Periodical Magyar Iparművészet 1900/4.

Walter Crane had a major influence on the blossoming of Hungarian applied arts at the turn of the century. This Walter Crane special issue of the periodical Magyar Iparművészet (Hungarian Applied Art) from 1900, with a cover page designed by the artist himself, is proof of his active relationship with Hungarian artists.

On the right-hand side of the title page is a female figure, an allegory of art surrounded by laurel branches. She is holding a banner in her hand, and on this is the emblem of the artist, a crane (referring to his last name) as well as the initial W of his first name. 

The composition of the title block, which imitates a page from a codex, and the medieval design of the lettering show the influence of Pre-Raphaelite art.

Coverpage for the periodical Magyar Iparművészet (Hungarian Applied Art) 1901/1-2., Géza Maróti (Rintel), 1901, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Peacock feathers and ears of wheat drawn with fine lines frame the title on this cover page designed for Magyar Iparművészet (Hungarian Applied Art) by Géza Maróti. The title of the periodical and the crest of the artist in a laurel wreath stand at the center of the composition.

Coverpage for the periodical Magyar Iparművészet (Hungarian Applied Art) 1909/4. (1909) by Lajos KozmaMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Coverpage for the Periodical Magyar Iparművészet 1909/4.

Lajos Kozma designed this  Magyar Iparművészet (Hungarian Applied Art) cover page for issue 4 of 1909, and his monogram can be seen in the lower right-hand corner built into the framework of the page.

The wooden grave markers used as decorations alongside the text are characteristic cultural relics of the Székelyföld region of Transylvania. Together with the stylized pair of birds, they are a good example of how the designers at the beginning of the 20th century attempted to adapt folk art motifs to modern needs.

Cover Page for the periodical Magyar Iparművészet (Hungarian Applied Art) 1914/3., Sándor Nagy, 1914, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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The text is entirely subordinated to the ornamentation that dominates every surface on this cover page made by Sándor Nagy in 1914. The allegorical figures stoke the fire of art, but the multitude of expressive monsters indicate the end of the Art Nouveau period.

BOOKS

Zoltán Pap: Muzsikaszó. Regény dalban. (book) Zoltán Pap: Muzsikaszó. Regény dalban. (book), Árpád Basch, 1910, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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This volume of songs that was published in 1910 is decorated by plants often used in Art Nouveau, laurels and thistles. The dynamic, Art Nouveau curves of the gold lettering supplemented with straight lines is adapted to the available space. The letters are connected by fine-lined floral ornamentation, augmenting them. The sophisticated, Art Nouveau appearance of the volume stands in sharp contrast to the content, the world of Hungarian-style art songs. 

Book (Mikszáth, Kálmán: Pernye) (1903) by Ilona MátéMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Mikszáth, Kálmán: Pernye

The boldly shaped letters with white outlines define the character of the cover of this volume of short stories published in 1903. The grayish-green cloth binding designed by Ilona Máté,  who was all of sixteen years old at that time.

Book (Mikszáth, Kálmán: Pernye) (1903) by Ilona MátéMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

The Art Nouveau curves that make sharp, angular turns in places provide a framework for the inscriptions of the author,  the title, and the publisher. 

Book - Eötvös, Károly: Utazás a Balaton körül. (1902) by Ilona MátéMuseum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Eötvös, Károly: Utazás a Balaton körül

The angular forms of the floral motifs on the cover of this volume of short stories issued in 1905 frame the title. The angularity of the playful letters of varying size fits in well with the flower blossoms composed within squares. 

The intertwined letters RT in the lower right-hand corner of the cover are the corporate symbol of the publisher (Révai Testvérek – Révai Brothers), and they are not only interwoven with one another, but also meld into the gilded framework. 

The binding was made at the Nándor Gottermayer Bookbinding Institute and the design is the work of Ilona Máté according to the monogram in the lower left-hand corner of the cover. 

Miklós Vitéz: Évforduló (book), From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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A large floral motif dominates the cover of this book designed in 1911. The designer, Lajos Kozma, experimented with simplifying the forms of folk art in a geometric manner so that they could be used in modern applied arts. 

Poems of Elek Koronghi Lippich. 1880-1902. (book)Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Koronghi Lippich Elek költeményei

This volume of poetry published in 1903 also received a binding printed in  gold with folk decorations, and the title inscription is integrated into the entire composition, surrounded by star-like decorations.

Poems of Elek Koronghi Lippich. 1880-1902. (book)Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

As a supporter of the Gödöllő artists’ colony, Lippich had two of the colony’s leading artists, Sándor Nagy and Aladár Kriesch, illustrate the book. 

Book - Antal, Sándor: Jörru története, István Örkényi, 1913, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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This is one of the volumes of short stories covered in so-called Kner cloth by the Kner Press, which strove for both mass production and artistic quality. Its cover pattern is made up of strongly stylized bird and flower motifs, which became repeated decorative motifs along with the letters KNER.

Calendar - Hornyánszky Viktor Csász. és Kir. Udvari Könyvnyomdája, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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The female figure designed in the spirit of the Art Nouveau ideal of beauty draws first one’s eye on this high-quality, colorful calendar  made for the year 1901. This allegory of time is surrounded by a richly decorated ornamental frame that integrates the text as well.   

Calendar - Hornyánszky Viktor Csász. és Kir. Udvari Könyvnyomdája, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Calendar - Hornyánszky Viktor Csász. és Kir. Udvari Könyvnyomdája, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Calendar - Hornyánszky Viktor Csász. és Kir. Udvari Könyvnyomdája, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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Book - La Sainte Bible. Version d'Ostervald., Sándor Nagy, 1904, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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The only known instance of bookbinding in the history of the Gödöllő artists’ colony was a French-language Bible. The engraved leather figural composition and lettering on this unique leather-bound book made by Leo Belmonte based on the designs of Sándor Nagy comprise a perfect unity. The peaceful scene of paradise depicted on the front cover of this Bible embodies the mindset of the Gödöllő artists’ colony. 

Book - Eötvös, József: A XIX. század uralkodói eszméinek befolyása az államra, unknown, 1902, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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The embossed ornamentation surrounding the title inscription of together with the showy Art Nouveau lettering of the title make up the decorative element of this book published in 1902. When it was issued, the content of the book was already a historic document, which may have justified its restrained appearance. 

Book - Poems by József Kiss, Simon Hollósy, Béla Iványi Grünwald, János Thorma, István Réti, Károly Ferenczy, 1897, From the collection of: Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
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In 1897, the Révai Testvérek (Révai Brothers) publishing house issued a deluxe edition of the collected poems of József Kiss, a popular and highly influential poet of the turn of the century. The volume was illustrated by the artists of the Nagybánya (present-day Baia Mare, Romania) artists’ colony that had been organized one year earlier (Károly Ferenczy, Béla Grünwald, Simon Hollósy, István Réti, and János Thorma). The decoration and the dynamic outlines of the lettering show the influence of Belgian and French Art Nouveau. 

Design for the periodical Múzeumi és Könyvtári Értesítő (Museum and Library Bulletin)Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Credits: Story

by Hilda Horváth, PhD; Ágnes Prékopa, PhD; Zsófia Hutvágner; Eszter Marosi; Jessica Sete
Sarolta Sztankovics (ed)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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