Visual Representation of the Intellectuals and Philosophers in the Hungarian Reform Era (1825–1848)

  • Béla Mester
Keywords: caricatures, Hungarian Reform Era (1825–1848), portraits, public realms, common sense, visual representation


In the modern cultural industry, visual representation acquired a special role. In East-Central Europe, portraits made in this crucial epoch created a solid visual canon of the national classics. Another sign of this cultural transformation is the new structure of the public realms, because of the functional transformation of the usage of urban places. In the case of the topic of this paper, the Hungarian Reform Era (1825–1848) was this crucial epoch. In the present paper, an overview of the appearance of the portraits of the known intellectuals will be offered. In the non-censored press of the revolutionary period, the genre of caricature appeared as a counterpart of these ‘star-portraits’, as it will be shown in the next section. In the last section, a tension of these highly individualised portraits will be analysed both in the idealistic form of ‘star-portraits’ and the caricatures, and the appearance of the same figures within the visual representation of the revolutionary mass-scenes. The most emblematic location from this point of view is the place around the Hungarian National Museum. In the history of the European philosophy, this transformation of the visual representation and the usage of public realms is connected with the subsequent waves of the common sense philosophy from its Scottish roots through the philosophy to its special role in the Hungarian intellectual life.

Political Imagination