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Budapest by Labrosse | Citadella

Attention, attention, arms stretch in the bottom of the statue in the summer heat – only the elbows mind the new, lengthy and cascading state. No poise at all. Nudity and lurking everywhere: even trees have eyes here. In the meantime, people gasp on Verejték utca, and a frog guitar plays the background music. The pink elephant peeping out on the right never forgets: it sometimes recalls that boy and that girl in the square of the blanket. How does freedom feel? Like a memory, nothing else. The special characters of Daniel Labrosse take over the buildings of Budapest for an entire year here, on HYPEANDHYPER! Look at the picture, and try to find all three giraffes now at the Citadella!

“The Citadella holds a special place in my heart. When my girlfriend first visited me from the States a few years back, I gave her a tour in the city, and we tried to visit places even I hadn’t had the chance to see before. One these places was the Citadella, which has since become one of our most frequently visited rendezvous spots. We promised each other that once this voluntary lockdown is over, climbing to the top of Gellért Hill and admiring the fantastic view will be the first thing we do.

I planned to draw the Citadella from the beginning of the series, but anytime I started it, something didn’t feel right, and my sketch created about the Liberty Statue was left semi-finished in a folder on my computer for months.

Usually I create in swift pace, however, my illustrations about Budapest need a bit more time. I always start with the outlines of the given building, which can take up to several weeks in the case of larger residential units. If that’s done, my characters move in, I start coloring and once I am at the final touches, I hardly want to look at my illustration, I am exhausted and I simply must shift my focus to something else. 

On the first day of the lockdown, I dusted my previous semi-finished Liberty Statue sketch, I gave it one more shot, and once I have lifted my pen to draw the first line, I didn’t want to put it down ever again. Although I am quite proud of the entire series, this was the first piece after which not only wasn’t I exhausted, I rather felt uplifted and recharged” – tells us Dani about his latest work.

Your task this time: find all three giraffes!

The Citadella

The Citadella is situated on top of the 235 meter high Gellért Hill, built by Julius Jacob von Haynau in 1854, after putting down the revolution of 1848-49. The structure itself is 220 meter wide, with walls of a height of approximately 16 meters. The Italian word “citadella” means a castle-like elevated fortress, or a defensible structure built on the highest part of a city, surrounded by walls. Although earlier it was used for military purposes, today, the former fortress offering the most spectacular view in the city forms part of our World Heritage.

The Liberty Statue created by Zsigmond Kisfaludi Strobl and erected in 1947, which is a prominent feature of the cityscape of Budapest, can be found in the bottom of the wall of the Citadella facing the city. The female figure of the statue was based on Erzsébet Thuránszky Gaál, a young novice, who the sculptor met by chance. Astronaut Bertalan Farkas took a miniature of the statue into space with him in 1980.

The monument displaying a female figure holding a palm frond in her raised hands is 14 meters high, and rises to 40 meters together with its pedestal. The official name of the original composition also encompassing several smaller statues was Liberation Monument; it was erected to commemorate the deed of the Soviet army, ending the occupation of Budapest by Nazi Germany. After the regime change, the group of statues was somewhat altered – the sign on the pedestal of the Liberty Statue was changed, and the statue of the Soviet soldier standing in front of it was moved to Memento Park in Budatétény in 1992. The female figure symbolizing liberty is still one of the most important emblems of the city today.


In our latest Budapest by Labrosse series, the special characters of Daniel Labrosse take over the buildings of Budapest for an entire year here, on HYPEANDHYPER! Come, take a look and play with us!

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