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Animated Picnic in May



On the website of the Hungarian National Gallery you can read a super painting analysis of Pál Szinyei Merse’s painting entitled Picnic in May. If someone hasn’t read it yet, make sure to visit the site and spin through the material as it contains a wealth of interesting information about the origin, characters and reception of the work. 

The picture is inarguably one of the most outstanding works of Hungarian painting, although, after its birth, it was criticized by the public and professionals. Szinyei writes about this in his autobiography:

“Why should I paint? I can’t paint better than the Picnic in May, and no one needs that.—Well, I didn’t paint!—I farmed, rode horses, built a house, designed a garden, my children, family affairs kept me quite busy. That’s how many years passed.”

So in early May, believing in an open and free summer, I animated the characters in the painting, spiced up with some humor:

Heinrich Max—Szinyei’s old friend, the brother of Gabriel Max, whom he met in Munich
The painter himself, lying on his stomach
The smoking man is a South Tyrolean architect. The woman in the white dress is the sister of Szinyei’s wife, Mrs. Mária Gundelfinger Probstner.
The lady in the pink dress worked as a professional model, her name unknown. The courting man is Baron Zsigmond Luzsénszky. He was Szinyei’s main family confidant.
In the background, women walking with umbrellas called staffage

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