Ceiling of the Hungarian State Opera

A closer look at the fresco by Károly Lotz

The round ceiling of the grand auditorium is decorated by a monumental fresco entitled the Apotheosis of Music painted by one of the most significant painters of the 19th century, Károly Lotz (1833-1904). The painting blends perfectly into the neo-renaissance style of the building despite its dynamism characteristic to baroque works. In the focus of the fresco, Apollo can be seen playing the lute while the gods and goddesses of Olympus along with the graces and muses listen to his performance. The centre of the ceiling is dominated by the chandelier manufactured in Maniz designed by architect Miklós Ybl.

Ceiling of the Hungarian State Opera (1884) by Károly LotzHungarian State Opera

Among the numerous figures in the fresco, all the important Greek gods and goddesses can be spotted such as Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and love.

The monumental fresco is 45 metres in perimeter and 9 metres in diameter. It is the absolute masterpiece of its painter Károly Lotz, who painted several frescos in other significant Hungarain monuments.

The central figure of the fresco is Apollo, god of music and poetry. He is surrounded by the twelve major gods and goddesses as well as their entourage.

Aphrodite, the goddess of love is observing her own beauty in a mirror held by a putto.

On the right, Zeus, the king of gods is sitting on his throne along with his wife Hera, the goddess of women an mariiage.

In this part of the fresco, the central figure is Nike, the goddess of victory. Other significant gods around her are Dionysus, god of wine and fertility, Poseidon, god of all seas (recognizable for his trident), Zephyrus, god of the west wind, and Boreas, god of the cold north wind.

The chandelier was also designed by the architect of the Opera House, Miklós Ybl, and it was manufactured in Mainz. Originally, it was lit up by gas, later electricity was introduced. It weighs almost 3 tons and has about 240 light bulbs. Twice a year, it is lowered to the floor manually for maintenance.

Credits: Story

Story by: György Jávorszky
Editor: Balázs Rákóczi

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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