The Irish Madonna of Hungary

I did not expect to find many similarities between Norway and Slovakia, where I am today. I am wrong. They have similar populations, a bit more than 5 million. They both dissolved amicably a union with another country; Norway from Sweden in 1905 and Slovakia from the Czech Republic in 1993, the Velvet Divorce. They both have a unicameral multiparty democracy. They both had wartime governments that were subservient to Germany. Quisling entered the English language and Jozef Tiso did not but both were executed. Continue reading The Irish Madonna of Hungary

Holy Right Hand

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Last week, on 20th August, St. Stephen’s Day was celebrated in Hungary. I challenge you to name who wrote this, between the wars, about the St. Stephen’s Day procession of The Holy Right Hand in Budapest. “…the swaying canopy above the sacred relics borne by the Cardinal Prince Archbishop, glorious in crimson and ermine….bishops, monsignori and censer-swinging acolytes…all the rank and nobility of Hungary, some traditionally booted and be-furred with velvet dolmans slung across silk-embrodered tunics…all ablaze with the forgotten orders of a vanished chivalry.” Continue reading Holy Right Hand

From Art – Zanzibar

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In 1992 this picture won the BP Portrait Award, an annual prize that is still given at the National Portrait Gallery. It is by Lucy Willis who, at the time, was teaching Art to prisoners in Shepton Mallet jail and it depicts one of her classes. She looks through the other end of the telescope from the Koestler Trust artists, as it were. Continue reading From Art – Zanzibar