Alajos Strobl is a brilliant Hungarian sculptor, whose best masterpieces have long become the hallmark of ancient Budapest
Alajos Strobl (June 21, 1856 December 13, 1926) is a famous Hungarian sculptor of the late XIX early XX centuries, a prominent representative of realism in European fine arts. Strobl created a huge number of busts, tombstones and monuments dedicated to famous compatriots. His work was highly appreciated by his contemporaries, and his biography is closely connected with Budapest, where the brilliant master lived most of his life.
Alaios Strobl has also been a reputable mentor to aspiring artists. For more than 40 years, he successfully combined sculptural work with teaching activities and had a huge impact on the development of Hungarian art at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Biography of Alaios Strobl
Alajos Strobl was born on June 21, 1856 in the small town of Neuheusel am Liptau, which at that time belonged to Austria-Hungary, and nowadays is part of Slovakia. His family was international, on the paternal side the ancestors of the future artist were Germans, and on the maternal side Slovaks. From an early age, the boy showed a talent for art. While still in elementary school, he attended drawing lessons, and in the senior grades of the gymnasium he was happy to help craftsmen create patterns at the local oven factory.
Father Alayosha, who held a responsible post at a large smelting plant, favorably treated his son’s passion for creativity. Therefore, having received the parental blessing, the young man left for Vienna in 1874 and entered the school of applied arts. And two years later, Strobl became a student at the Imperial Academy of Painting and Sculpture, where his mentor was the respected professor Caspar Zumbusch.
After graduating from the academy in 1880, the young sculptor moved to Budapest and immediately applied for a competition to decorate the facade of the newly built opera house. By that time, he had already won several prestigious awards at academic exhibitions in Vienna and gained some fame in the country.
Suddenly, Alaios became the winner of the competition, beating many more experienced colleagues.
In accordance with the original project, approved by an authoritative commission, he created a number of sculptural works united by a common idea, including:
- full-length statues by composers Luigi Cherubini and Gaspare Spontini;
- figures of sphinxes at the main entrance;
- sculptures by Ferenc Liszt and Ferenc Erkel in the recesses of the façade.
Already in 1881, Alaios Strobl opened his own workshop in Budapest and very soon became the most demanded Hungarian sculptor in the entire Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was inundated with orders for the production of tombstones and busts from private individuals, and the city authorities constantly entrusted the master with the execution of the most prestigious monumental works of art. Despite the heavy workload, in 1885 Strobl agreed to take the position of art teacher at the Budapest College of Art and conscientiously trained young artists for many years. He brought up a whole galaxy of talented students, and towards the end of his life he headed the department of sculpture at the Hungarian University of Arts.
The artist’s personal life has developed happily.
In 1895 he married Aloysia Kratochvil, with whom he lived until his death. In this marriage, the sculptor had two children daughter Zsuzhanna and son Michal, who did not inherit the ability to art from their father.
At the World Exhibition in Paris In 1900, the sculpture “Our Mother” by Alaios Strobl was awarded a large gold medal. For outstanding services, the Emperor of Austria-Hungary awarded the artist the Order of the Iron Crown and the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Franz Joseph, and in 1913 bestowed upon him the title of nobility.
The last years of his life, despite the serious political upheavals that took place in Europe, the master lived in abundance. Until his last days, he continued to work in his workshop, creating new masterpieces, and on December 13, 1926, at the age of 70, Alaios Strobl died in his own house, surrounded by relatives. The remains of the genius were buried in the central cemetery of Budapest Kerepes, where his grave is today.
The most famous works of Alaios Strobl
The great Hungarian sculptor has created many skillful masterpieces during his life. And yet, the most famous works of Alaios Strobl are considered:
- The Janos Arani Monument (1893) is a majestic monument that adorns the entrance to the Hungarian National Museum. The poet embodied in bronze by the author rises above the square in the historic center of Budapest. Sculpture
- Our Mother (1894) is a work for which the artist was awarded the highest award at the international level. The image of a woman created by the master still amazes viewers with the incredible depth of all-embracing maternal love.
- The King Matthias Fountain in the Buda Castle Palace (1901) is one of the most photographed and recognizable landmarks in the Hungarian capital. The great ruler appears before the viewer in a hunting suit, and next to him lies a red deer defeated by a well-aimed shot.
- The equestrian statue of King St. Stephen in the area of the Buda Fortress (1906) is a large-scale masterpiece glorifying the first Christian monarch of Hungary. The famous king proudly gazes at his people from a pedestal and firmly holds the beautiful horse in obedience.
Alajos Strobl is rightfully one of the greatest sculptors in the history of Hungary of all times. And the monumental works of art created by the master still adorn the squares of ancient Budapest and annually attract millions of tourists to the city.