In the western suburbs of the 2nd district of Budapest, on Pasaréti Square, is one of the more striking examples of interwar modernist architecture in Hungary: the Franciscan Church of St. Anthony of Padua. The innovative nature of the design is apparent if we compare it with other churches built in Hungary shortly before, such as the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Győr of 1929, or the Church of St. Emeric in Balatonalmádi (1930). We can also gain a sense of the striking addition it made to the cityscape when we view it in its environs, a low-density neighbourhood of villas. It is commonly regarded as one of the most important churches built in interwar Hungary, and as evidence of the embrace by the Hungarian Catholic church of modernity. Consecrated in October 1934, it might have been the first example of functionalist church architecture in Hungary, had it not been for the tumultuous process of its approval that delayed its completion. As a result, the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Bertalan (1901–1971) and Aladár Árkay (1868–1932) is generally held to have that distinction.
Session 3 of our workshop Modernity and Religion in Central European Art and Architecture will take place at
18.00 CET on 18 March 2021
on Zoom, featuring papers by
Marcus van der Meulen (RWTH Aachen University)
Vanessa Parent (Montreal; Bibliotheca Hertziana, Rome).
The first event of our workshop Modernity and Religion in Central European Art and Architecture will take place at
18.00 CET on 4 February 2021
Cynthia Paces (The College of New Jersey, NJ)
will present her keynote lecture:
Nation-Building: Religious Structures and Politics in Interwar Europe
A marked aspect of modernist art and architecture was the search for the spiritual. This has long been recognised, but the involvement of organised religion remains much less examined. Focusing on interwar central Europe, the online lecture series Modernity and Religion in Central European Art and Architecture examines critically the stakes involved in the engagement with religious faith by artists and architects, as well as the role of religiously-motivated state and church patronage in shaping cultural politics.
The workshop is organised in cooperation with the Belvedere, Vienna.
The events will take place on Zoom, every fortnight starting on 4 Feb 2021 and concluding with a roundtable on 13 May 2021. The lectures will begin at 18.00 CET.
In the small town of Nymburk, some 55 kilometres to the East of Prague, sits one of the more unusual examples of interwar architecture in Czechoslovakia: the town crematorium. Built between 1922 and 1924, it is a plain rectangular main building – the ceremonial hall – with cylindrical front and back. Thanks to its plain unornamented forms, its low rectangular base, and a flat overhanging rectangular roof, it strikes the viewer like an exercise in the exploration of elementary geometry. This impression is reinforced by the portico around the sides and front, consisting of squat, plain columns. Everything about the building appears mis-proportioned. The portico columns seem too wide for their height, and the height (and that of the ground storey) appears to be out of proportion to the rest of the building. The upper part of the ceremonial hall thus looms over the storey below. In addition, the distance of the columns from the rest of the building gives it a squat appearance, as if it had in some sense been compressed by some enormous weight. We might dismiss this unprepossessing structure as a misconceived design, except that it is highly revealing not only about developments in architecture in Czechoslovakia, but also about social and cultural developments in Czechoslovak society.