Istvan Orosz

27/7/12 – Hungarian Artist, Istvan Orosz skull features a close resemblance to Holbein’s Ambassadors?

A friend had sent me a link to her blog via skype, which features the works of Istvan Orosz who explores the iconic imagery of the skull. According to Gallery Diabolous, Istvan Orosz is a Hungarian artist who graduated as a designer in the 1970’s.

Istvan’s skulls feature similarities to European Renaissance art, which used the skull as a frightening representation of death. Istvan’s work also features a close resemblance to Hans Holbein’s illustration, The Ambassadors.

Antoni Cadafalch argues that Hans Holbein was an artist within 15th century who introduced a series also known as the “Dance of Death”, which featured a dancing skeleton terrorising or mocking other living beings, which also projected a morbid and a sinister depiction of death. (Cadafalch, 2011 p.3-15)

In comparison, John Limon explains that Holbein’s, Ambassadors features certain elements, which suggest or refer to the image of the skull. The image features two men on each side of the frame, which are composed with a table that is covered with different objects or instruments. The actual image of the skull is not clear or direct to the viewer from a first glance, although when the viewer begins to perceive the image from another angle, the skull is slightly noticeable. (Limon, 2012 p.114)

Hans Holbein, Ambassadors (1948 – 1953) Skull is sometimes noticeable from different angles or perspectives (Limon, 2012 p. 114)

One could argue that Istvan’s works features a similar style to Holbein’s Ambassadors, which encourages the viewer to perceive the work from various angles or positions in order to recognise the shape of the skull. Istvan’s work features a subtle interpretation of a skull, which is defined through the human form that is positioned in different angles.

The skull is clearly identifiable, although it does take several times to recognise the skull through the composition between everyday objects and the human body. Istvan may have been influenced by Holbein’s work, which also uses the human form as a way to suggest or relate to the image of the skull.

Istvan’s work relates to the image of the skull, although Holbein’s Ambassadors encourages the viewer to search for the skull, which is unrecognisable at a first glance. Istvan’s work is visually compelling and the use of the human body resonates the border between life and death through the shape of the skull.

The images of Istvan’s work have been sourced from Mountboard, which is a blog that features contemporary art and design. The blog is definitely worth checking out!  Mountboard,

Gallery Diabolus, “CV, Istvan Orosz”, Gallery Diabolus, (Accessed 27/7/12)

Limon, John, Death’s Following: Mediocrity, Dirtiness, Adulthood & Literature (USA: Fordham University press, 2012) p. 114

Cadafalch, Antoni. The Day of the Dead: El Dia De Los Muertos.  London: Koreno Books, 2011 p. 5 – 17

4 responses to “Istvan Orosz

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