Hungarian National Gallery English


Young Shepherdess
Ferenczy, István

Young Shepherdess
(The Beginning of Fine Art)

, White marble
94 cm

Inv.: 3662
Location: Buildings C-B, 1st Floor

Ferenczy, István - Young Shepherdess

István Ferenczy wrote to his parents from Rome on May 26, 1821: "by next spring I should like to complete a marble figure that implies the beginning of Kunst, notably: a young shepherdess scratching the shadow of her lover into the soil." This act-as tradition says-marks the beginning of the "fine arts": the girl is the first instinctive artist, listening to the dictates of her emotions when depicting another person. Ferenczy sent home the work dedicated to his patron palatine Joseph and it was put on display in a room on the ground floor of the royal castle and later transferred to the National Museum. It was a great success inspiring poems in praise of the artist and his work. In his epigram Ferenc Kazinczy called the work Graphidion-meaning "kindly little drawer". The sculptor acquired the knowledge leading to the programme of the Young Shepherdess from his studies of the art of classical antiquity. The statue emanates classic timelessness. "What beauties there are here!" Kazinczy writes. "The upper part is uncovered so that nothing of the charms of the girl be hidden, while the lower part-quite intelligently-is veiled by fine drapery and its folds."