The painter Gyula Benczúr was born on the 28th of January 1844 in Nyfregyháza and died on the 16th of July 1920 in the today known Szécsény. He was and still is one of the most successful and technically gifted artists from Hungary. Today we would describe him as a history painter.
Even as a child, Benczúr’s huge talent showed up in his early drawings. In 1861, he started his artistic education. He became a student of the German artists Hermann Anschütz and Georg Hiltensperger. In 1869, he continued his studies with the artist Karl Theodor von Piloty.
The first artworks of Benczúrs, for example, “Hunadis Abschied” or “ Rákóczis Verhaftung”’ dealt with tragic events from the history of Hungary. In 1970, he won the Hungarian national art competition for historic paintings with “Die Taufe des Vajk”. Later on, he started to deal with more mythological subjects in his paintings and was also very successful. Among other things he illustrated books from Friedrich Schiller and became a professor in painting at the Art Academy of Munich. The biggest parts of his artworks were commission portrait’s of aristocrats and Kings as well as historical paintings and altarpieces.
As one of the revolutionaries of the Munich art scene, he became a member of the art Community called “Allotria”. Willhelm Busch was a member as well. That community was against the extreme conservative exhibition policy during that time. It served economical goals and stood for the development in historicism.
His brother, Béla Benczúr who was an artist as well and an architect, designed his family house which stood in Ambach at the shore of the “Starnberger See”. Gyula Benczúr spent every summer there until he moved back to Hungary in 1883 to become a professor at a Hungarian painting school.
The artworks of Benczúr show tremendous knowledge and craftsmanship in the medium of oil paints. How he used different textures and materials are as impressive as his solid skills in drawing. The subtle composition in his artworks often creates a moody atmosphere, which fits perfect to the subjects in his paintings.