Size: 77 x 57 cms
Status: in property of the Stamp Museum Budapest
Taormina as I view it
I have got again a unique story to share. The story started when I red an article about Picasso the title of which sounded the following: „Csontváry, the Hungarian painter who was adored by Picasso”. This article gave me also the knowledge of the fact that Csontváry who is a very much liked painter in our days died on starvation. The root cause for this kind of death was that the leftist Hungarian government of 1919 nationalized his pharmacie. His inheritors wanted to sell his good quality canvases bearing his paintings mere as a material. We owe much to the young architect Gedeon Gerloczy for the preservation of the pictures as recognizing Csontváry’s genius he bought up them. Picasso saw Csontváry’s pictures twenty years after his death in 1948 in Paris. And what did Piacsso say: „I did not know there existed another good painter in our century!”
This sentence initiated the process in me, to make a kind of statue to commemorate Csontváry. I like very much his picture, „The ruines of the Greek theatre in Taormina” which also was used by the Hungarian Post to print a stamp. My plan was to paint with stamps a picture of similar feature to resemble Csontváry’s caharecteristic colours from some of his pictures. I quickly realized that I could not paint ruines wit stamps I, therefore, looked for a picture to see how a theatre looked like in the ancient Greek times. I found the picture used for my paint on the Wikipedia. It was not an easy job at all! Firstly I did not find the necessary yellow stamps so I had to use the border sides of an old Hungarian stamp. I searched also for what did the ancient Roman people use as building materil and I found out that they used bricks of course. I found also some old Hungarian stamps to paint the brick walls. The greatest challange was to paint the auditorium itself So the question was for example how to paint seats graven into the rocks? I worked for a long time on this part of the picture as I wanted to make my viewers to feel the depths of the auditorium as well. I used an awful big number of stamps but most of them not in full but a stripe is seen only. The trees and bushes around the theatre make also a large surface, it was also a big work to paint this part of the picture. I new from the start already that I wanted people to sit in the auditorium but how can one do that by using only stamps? The final choice was an Italian stamp series featuring heads of ancient people. I did not have, unfortunately, Greek stamps for this aim, but I knew that Taormina was a small city in Sicily, a Greek colony in those times so I was free to use Italian stamps to paint people, I thought. My intention was also to show the three dimensions in the theatre what I wanted to foster by the use of colours as well and also to show teh diversity of the people present.
I really hope I could manage to pay tribute to Csontváry!