Mihaly Munkacsy Biography | Oil Paintings

2-20-1844 Munkács, HUN - 5-1-1900 Endenlich, GER

Back to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Munkacsy, Mihaly

Mihaly Munkacsy artistic studies began with an apprenticeship to an itinerant painter, Munkácsy went to Budapest, where he sought the help of established artists and with the help of the landscape painter Antal Ligeti, he was able to receive a state scholarship to study abroad. In 1865 at the age of twenty-one, he studied at the Academy of Vienna under Karl Rahl, the following year, he studied at the Munich Academy for two years, and went to Paris to see the Universal Exposition. In 1868 he moved to the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf to study with the popular genre painter Ludwig Knaus.

In the early years of his art career Mihaly Munkacsy painted scenes from the daily lives of peasants, in a colorful, theatrical style of contemporary Hungarian genre painters, but later he began to give careful consideration to the scene into which he set his figures.

In 1869, Mihály Munkácsy painted his much-acclaimed work The Last Day of a Condemned Man, considered his first masterpiece. The picture was exhibited at the 1870 Paris Salon and won the Gold Medal, it instantly made Munkácsy a popular painter.

Mihaly Munkacsy, with the success of his Salon show, together with his friend, the landscape artist László Paál, moved to Paris, permanently. He continued to paint genre pictures like Making Lint and Woman Gathering Brushwood. The zenith of Munkácsy's career was between 1873 and 1875 when he painted Midnight Ramblers, Farewell, Churning Woman, and Pawnshop.

In 1878, he painted a historical genre picture, The Blind Milton Dictating Paradise Lost to his Daughters, which marked a new milestone in his oeuvre. The picture was bought and sold by Austrian art dealer Charles Sedelmeyer, who offered Munkácsy a ten-year painting contract. This deal made Munkácsy a wealthy man and an established member of the Paris art world.

Sedelmeyer needed him to paint expansive scale pictures which could be shown alone. They decided that subjects taken from the Bible would be most popular. In 1882 Mihaly Munkacsy painted Christ in front of Pilate, which was followed by Golgotha in 1884. The trilogy was completed by Ecce Homo in 1896, bought by the Hungarian government in 2014 for US$5.7 million.

Mihaly Munkacsy did not abandon genre painting, but his settings changed. In the 1880s he painted many so-called salon pictures, scenes set in sumptuously furnished homes of rich people. These pictures were extremely popular especially among American buyers and fetched great prices.

Despite the fact that Munkácsy, enjoyed social prestige and wealth and was a celebrity in the art world, he was always uncertain and continually scrutinizing his own ability, and by the 1890s, his depression developed into an extreme psychological illness. His last pictures are troubled and sometimes even bizarre, as in Victim of Flowers.

Art Movement: Realism.
Artists Influencing Mihaly Munkacsy: Karl Rahl, Ludwig Knaus.
He Traveled To Austria, Germany, France.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.

Mihaly Munkacsy Hand-Painted Oil Painting Reproductions.

Mihaly Munkacsy Museum Art Replicas on Canvas.