Gyula Benczur (Benczúr Gyula; January 28, 1844 July 16, 1920) the famous Hungarian artist of the second half of the XIX early XX centuries, an outstanding representative of historical, religious and portrait painting. Gyula Bentsur was a skilful master of the academic and romantic trends in European visual arts. The best masterpieces of his work today are in museums in Hungary, and magnificent altar paintings still adorn the churches and temples of Budapest. The master’s biography is full of interesting events and numerous travels to European countries.
Gyula Bentsur ran the Academy of Arts in Budapest for almost forty years and spent most of his life teaching. Among his students there are many famous artists, including three daughters Elsa (Benczúr Elza), Olga (Benczúr Olga) and Ida (Benczúr Ida).
Biography of Gyula Bentsur
Gyula Bentsur was born on January 28, 1844 in the city of Nyiregyhaza, located in the northeastern part of Hungary. And two years later, his family moved to Kosice, where the future artist subsequently received his secondary education. Even in high school, Gyula became interested in drawing, and his parents sent him to study at a private art school of the Klimkovics brothers Ferenc (Klimkovics Ferenc) and Bela (Klimkovics Béla).
Young Bentsur turned out to be a very capable student and already in 1861 entered the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, where Hermann Anschütz became his first mentor. And in 1865, Gyula transferred to the class of the famous professor of painting, Carl Theodor von Piloty, under whose leadership he graduated from the academy four years later.
After receiving his diploma, Gyula Bentsur went on a trip to Europe, first he visited Italy, and then he visited France. Upon his return from this trip, the artist continued his collaboration with von Piloti and worked in his Munich studio for the next five years. The young painter helped his mentor to fulfill several important orders, including fresco painting of the walls of the City Hall and the Maximilianeum Palace.
Already at an early stage in his creative career, the artist managed to achieve success.
His first painting of the historical genre, Farewell to Laszlo Hunyadi, at the exhibition in Pest in 1866, was warmly received by the public and critics. At the same time, the painter presented to the audience several portraits, which were also liked by the residents of the Hungarian capital.
In 1873, Gyula Bentsur married the sister of the German artist Gabriel von Max, Lina. In this marriage, the couple had four children, of which only the only son chose a career as a doctor, and three daughters deliberately linked their lives with art and achieved significant success in a creative career. Unfortunately, the first wife of the master died in 1890, after which he married Piroske Boldishar, a teacher at the Pedagogical College, but Bentsur no longer had children in his second marriage.
In 1875, the artist received the highest award of the Hungarian National Historical Painting Competition for the painting “The Baptism of Stephen I”. Shortly thereafter, he accepted an invitation to become a professor at the Munich Academy of Arts. Until 1883 Bentsur lived in the capital of Bavaria, successfully combining painting with teaching. But then Gyula left for his homeland, took an active part in the creation of the Hungarian Academy of Arts in Budapest and became its first director.
last years of life
During his long career, Gyula Bentsur has taken part in art exhibitions in various European countries. His paintings have often received top awards at the salons in Paris, Vienna, Munich and Berlin. A passionate admirer of the artist’s work was the Bavarian king Ludwig II, for whom the master wrote a number of works of the historical genre and portraits of members of the monarch’s family.
Until his death, the brilliant painter did not let go of his hands and created hundreds of beautiful works. Already in old age, he survived the terrible events of the First World War and witnessed the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. By that time, the great master had serious health problems that the doctors had not been able to resolve. On July 16, 1920, Gyula Bentsur died in his country villa in the village of Dolan, which today is part of the Hungarian city of Szeged. And at the local cemetery, the remains of the famous Hungarian painter still rest.
The most famous paintings by Gyula Bentsur
The creative heritage of the genius artist includes a huge number of colorful works. And yet, some of the most famous paintings by Gyula Bentsur include:
- Farewell to Laszlo Hunyadi (1866) is a work that announced the birth of a new master of painting to the general public. The artist managed to skillfully depict the touching moment of farewell of a young Hungarian nobleman to his family on the eve of his tragic death.
- “The Baptism of Stephen I” (1875) is a painting glorifying the great king the baptist of the Hungarians. The almighty monarch is depicted on it kneeling before the Pope at the time of the adoption of the Christian faith.
- “Woman Reading” (1875) is one of the most famous works of the romantic style in the work of the author. The image of a beautiful lady reading a book in a forest clearing still conquers the hearts of millions of viewers around the world.
- The Capture of the Fortress of Buda (1896) is a large-scale historical painting by the master, for which he received the main prize of the 1900 Paris Salon. It depicts the solemn moment of the victory of the combined forces of European countries over the army of the Ottoman Empire in 1686.