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Miksa Róth: Coloured sunlight

On 9th of April at 5 pm, the exhibition “Coloured sunlight” will be opened in the lobby gallery of  National Library of Estonia, with the introduction of curator Ms Katalin Gellér.


„Coloured sunlight”
The exhibition, with the help of enlarged photos, sketches, contemporary and recent photographs introduces the most beautiful stained glass and mosaic masterpieces of the famous Hungarian Art Nouveau master, Miksa Róth.

RóthPlakátAt the turn of the 20th century, glass and mosaic art was undergoing a renaissance. With the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 and the creation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, there was a surging need for buildings with economic and governmental purposes. As in the case of churches, cultural and entertaining institutions, galleries, baths and cafeterias, the buildings were decorated with sculptures, paintings, ceramics and coloured stained glass and mosaics according to its function and importance. After flourishing in the Middle Ages, the popularity of the newly discovered mosaics in the 19th century was so great that it was used in private spaces, in apartment houses and also the villas of affluent citizens.


Miksa Róth’s first commissions were to restore monuments, but they were followed by many tasks requiring independent design. His most renowned works included the building of the Parliament in Budapest, the Holy Right Chapel in the palace, the Academy of Music, the National Bank, the former headquarter of Gresham Insurance, the “chapel of Lipótmező”, and many crypt and mausoleums of the Fiume Road National Graveyard and the cemetery in Kozma street. Hungary’s Permanent Art Hall in Venice, the town halls of Târgu Mureș (Marosvásárhely) and Subotica (Szabadka) are also decorated by mosaics and glasses designed by Róth.

Designers and technicians working in his shop were working in many styles, depending on the building and the customers’ wishes: roman, gothic, renaissance, baroque motifs were used, and from the turn of the century, Art Nouveau-style ornaments as well. The multi-coloured, iridescent new glass type Tiffany, researched at the end of the nineteenth century was used by Róth in a unique way, and he also introduced mosaic art in Hungary. With his mixed technique works, he won medals in national and international exhibitions in a row.

He worked with prominent architects of the time, including Imre Steindl, Ignác Alpár, Ödön Lechner, Géza Maróti and Samu Petz. He worked also with the of the most significant Hungarian Art Nouveau painters like Aladár Körösfői-Kriesch, Sándor Nagy and Ede Thoroczkai Wigand. Based on their plans, the stained glass windows and mosaic ornaments of the Hungarian Art Nouveau’s art complex of European standard, the Cultural Palace in Târgu Mureș (Marosvásárhely) were prepared. Róth had multiple international commissions as well, including the glass ceiling of Mexico’s Teatro Nacional, prepared based on the plans of Géza Maróti, were prepared in his workshop.

There is no other decorative art style that could grab our soul so deeply like the art of the glass staining, because the light going through the stained glass is actually the sunlight that melts into colours."

−−−A stained glass artist about glass staining [The confessions of Miksa Róth], Budapest, 1942, 17.


Miksa Róth (1865-1944)


rothmiksa portreHe was the founder and leader of the most renowned and productive Hungarian workroom of the glass window and mosaic art which had renewed on the turn of the 19-20 century. His workroom, founded in 1885, received numerous orders thanks to the major construction projects after the Compromise. Buildings for economics and public administration offices, churches, synagogues, showrooms, baths, cafes, private houses and mansions were decorated in his workroom. From the end of the 1890s, foremost in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, he applied the new glass type discovered by L. C. Tiffany and nationalized the mosaics making.


His outstanding works include the Parliament, the Holy Right Chapel of the Royal Palace, the Academy of Music, the Venetian Standing Hall of Music of Hungary, the former headquarters of Gresham Insurance, the Cultural Palace of Târgu Mure and the Lipótmezei chapel. Many tombs and mausoleum in the National Cemetery of Fiumei Street and the cemetery of Kozma Street are decorated with mosaics. He worked with the most important architects and painters of the age. He has also made foreign orders: for example, the glass ceiling of the Mexican National Theater, designed by Géza Maróti (1910), was made in his workroom.


The success story, a rich career with the outbreak of the Second World War, took a tragic turn: after the 1939 Jewish law came out, he closed his workshop. In 1944, he died in his home.




The curator of the exhibition is Katalin Gellér, art historian, president of the Hungarian Art Nouveau Society, senior co-worker of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.


Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
Miksa Róth Memorial House, Budapest
Kiscelli Museum, Budapest
Town Museum of Gödöllő
Hungarian Museum of Architecture, Budapest
Photo artists (Imre Bálint, József Hajdú, Miklós Hevér, Éva Mester, Norbert Perness, Fruzsina Spitzer, István Plájás, Pál Tóth Péter)




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