Mihály Von Munkácsy

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Munkácsy, Mihály Von


(real surname, Lieb). Born Feb. 20, 1844, in Munkács, present-day Mukachevo, Ukrainian SSR; died May 1, 1900, in Endenich (near Bonn), Germany. Hungarian painter.

Munkácsy studied under E. Szamossy from 1862 to 1863, and at the Vienna and Munich academies of art from 1865 to 1868. He also studied with L. Knaus in Düsseldorf in 1868 and 1869 and was influenced by the masters of the Dusseldorf and Barbizon schools and by G. Courbet.

Romanticism pervades Munkácsy’s early works (Storm Over the Plain, 1867, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest). In the 1870’s, influenced by revolutionary democratic ideas, Munkácsy created works permeated with social criticism and distinguished by the depiction of psychologically convincing situations and vivid folk types. Paintings of this period include The Last Day of a Condemned Prisoner (1870), which gained Munkácsy world fame; The Preparers of Lint (1871); and Nocturnal Vagabonds (1873), all housed at the Hungarian National Gallery. In his scenes of folk life, which contain many figures, Munkácsy achieved a highly dramatic and integrated composition using broad impasto brushwork and an emotion-packed palette consisting of tense contrasts of white with brownish or black tones. From the late 1870’s, while continuing to paint highly expressive landscapes and portraits (László Paál, c. 1876–77, Hungarian National Gallery), Munkácsy turned more and more to religious, historical, and genre subjects, which he executed in a trite, academic style (Ecce Homo, 1896, Deri Museum, Debrecen); he also returned to revolutionary themes (Strike, 1895, Hungarian National Gallery). Munkácsy’s best works are an integral part of 19th-century Hungarian realistic painting.


Aleshina, L. S. Mikhai Munkachi. Moscow, 1960.
Végvári, L. Munkácsy Mihály elete és müvei. Budapest, 1958.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.