A recurring motif: the lute

03. August 2018

Beauty, rhythm, poetry, imagination, melody and harmony – these are the inscriptions of the stained glass windows of the Grand Hall of the Liszt Academy. The highly unique skylights were designed by Miksa Róth, similarly to all other windows and doors with glass inserts. According to the art historian and Róth-expert, Katalin Gellér, the artist showed quite a moderate face of his in this work.

Architects greatly enjoyed working with him, as he could marvellously tune into the style and design of all kinds of buildings. Clearly, he did not mean to overload the main building of the Liszt Academy with ornaments: the stained glass windows of the Liszt Academy have a more geometric and stylised design than the richly decorated environment would vouch for. For this reason, the windows are no examples of the nouveau art but rather of the Viennese Art Deco, which seems to have exerted quite a big influence on Róth. He might have even used the motif book of an important Viennese workshop, as the motifs of the windows do bear resemblance to those displayed in the book. It is rather conspicuous that the windows are as translucent as possible. In other words, the design is quite ethereal and uses only few colours. The lead pattern, however, constructing a design by introducing lead lines splitting the window-pane into sections is especially beautiful. The flower-motifs in the upper sections are stylised and moderate in colour: the prevailing colours are green, pale beige and yellow.


Photo: Liszt Academy / István Fazekas


The glass inserts in the doors have more vivid colours, and the forms definitely bear the hallmark of the Art Nouveau. The acid-etched glass panels of the doors on the first floor are framed with arched, richly ornamented borders. The skylights are also stained glass windows with pressed glass beads. As the artist Miksa Róth took into consideration that the hall would mainly be used in the evening, he planned spots also for the light bulbs behind the panes so that the design could be visible even if there was no external light cast on them. On all other windows there is a single consistent motif present: the lute. As it keeps returning in the interior ornamentation, I presume that the various designers working on the edifice had deliberated on how to harmonise the diversity so characteristic of the interior design of the Liszt Academy. Although there is no evidence that they had actual consultation meetings, I am convinced that they did discuss the concept and reviewed, even revised each other’s plans. Through the diversity of styles, they created harmony, which can still be admired today and whose impact has exerted fascination with generations of concert audiences right until today. 


Katalin Gellér