Exposition of 17th – 19th century portraits from the Spiš Region
The collection of 17th – 19th century portraits consists mostly of works from the family gallery. Individual families who owned the mansion or were related to the owners supported portrait art by commissioning local and foreign artists. Several of the portrayed subjects were significant figures of cultural and historical, political and economical life in the Spiš region.
Strážky and Ladislav Mednyánszky
Ladislav Mednyánszky (1852 – 1919) is one of the prominent representatives of Central European painting of the last third of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The mansion in Strážky is the only place in Slovakia in which a permanent exposition of his work is presented. The exposition documents Mednyánszky’s bond to Strážky, since his life and work are strongly connected with it. He spent most of his childhood there and constantly returned as an adult. His only permanent studio, which was built for him by his father, is located in Strážky, above the farming wing on the premises of the mansion.
The exhibition of Mednyánszky’s work in Strážky documents the painter’s artistic development predominantly from 1900; his primary motifs were the surroundings of Strážky and the great natural beauty under the Tatra mountains. His landscape painting reacted to the influences of predominantly French landscape painting, the so-called intimate landscape, which he transformed in his own artistic expression. Expressing the impressions from the landscape which reflected his mood became his basis. The first section of the exposition presents the painter’s early period connected with the Tatra mountains motif, as well as his first portraits of local peasants, farm laborers and coachmen, distinctive types of men, who, he a less rugged person, greatly admired. The second section of the exposition predominantly incorporates works from the 1880s with motifs of forest hideaways and figures on a bridge inspired by the Strážky surroundings. Not only landscape painting, but also the number of preserved portraits and portrait studies completes the picture of the work of Ladislav Mednyánszky. The group of so called unfinished works, predominantly portraits, which Mednyánszky, after capturing the basic form of the portrayed person, left in this working stage, is a unique collection. The third section reacts to the turbulent period around 1895, when the artist’s father died. Overcoming his death became the main theme in this period, which is documented by the motifs of death, spirits and melancholy motifs. The war paintings constitute another motif. Mednyánszky actively participated in World War I as a war artist and he not only captured the horror of war, but also everyday life in camps. He also frequently connected the figural genre with the landscape genre. The exposition is also complemented by large landscape works (particularly from the period around 1900). This pertains to diverse approaches to perceiving the landscape from classically apprehended works up to expressive paintings. The collection includes works of Ferdinand Katona (1864 – 1932) the painter’s student and painter from the Spiš region, who was greatly inspired by his teacher.
The figure of Ladislav Mednyánszky is permanently connected with the mansion in Strážky.
The exhibited set of works originated directly from the family estate and is complemented by further SNG purchases from private collections.
A brief historical exposition introduces the history of the mansion and the municipality and the development of the families who owned the mansion. The beginning of the significant Slovak historical library, which is a part of the national cultural heritage, dates back to the last quarter of the 16th century. The library has developed continuously for 400 years and today it has approximately 8,500 books, magazines and maps.
Slovak Art of Sculpture of the 20th Century
The permanent exposition of plastic art of the 20th century, in which the works of the most prominent Slovak artists are represented, is installed in the impressive English park, which sprawls across the Poprad River to the surrounding landscape.