0268 The Millennial Monument in Budapest as a Bearer of Memory, National Identity and Self-Awareness

  • Gábor György Papp (Author)

    Gábor György Papp works as a research fellow at the Institute for Art History of the Research Centre for the Humanities of the Lorand Eötvös Research Network (formerly: of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences) in Budapest. His fields of study include the history of art, architecture, sculpture and urban planning in the 19th century as well as art historiography. Earlier, he investigated the interrelationships of Central European architects and sculptors and the transfer of knowledge among them. His current research focuses on the emergence of the national idea and its reflections in art and architecture in Central Europe in the 19th century. Articles that have resulted from his current research are: "Can There Be Such a Thing as National Style? Otto Wagner and National Architecture in Hungary", in: Acta Historiae Artium 59 (2018), no. 1, 285-297; "Renaissance Architecture and the Search for the Hungarian National Style in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries", in: Forging Architectural Tradition: National Narratives, Monument Preservation and Architectural Work in the Nineteenth-Century, eds. Alexander Lupienko and Dragan Damjanović, New York 2021 (forthcoming).

Identifiers (Article)


In the 19th century, one of the most important national events in Hungary was the 1896 millennial celebration of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin. A central act of the festivity’s symbolical episodes was the erection of the so-called Millennium Memorial (or Millennial Monument) at Heroes’ Square in Budapest. The monument consists of a colonnaded architectural framework that embraces a sculpture gallery featuring Hungarian leaders and rulers. My paper presents the history of the monument from concept to completion. Besides the artistic patterns of the architectural framework designed by Albert Schickedanz, special attention is given to the sculptures of the Hungarian sculptors who worked under the direction of the artist György Zala, as well as to the relations between the sculptors and the artistic scene of Vienna, and to the models they used. In addition to these primarily art historical aspects, my paper discusses the cultural context of the Memorial. It seeks answers to the questions of how the Memorial became a symbol of national identity already at the stage of planning and what ideas about the shaping of the national self-image defined the final form of the Memorial.


Budapest, Millennial Monument, 19th century, national identity, national self-image, cultural context