Tram poster (cca. 24 x 17 cm)
Paint on cardboard.
Impressive, painted poster artwork from the year of 1956, created by Bertalan Altmann. It promotes the former national celebration of the constitution which was held on the 20th of August.
A new period started in Hungarian poster art after the 1956 revolution. The former Rákosi-regime was replaced by the Kádár-system, and the new political situation determined the cultural changes as well. The former great expansion of political propaganda posters of the 1950s came to an end as the new political leadership realized that political issues should be avoided on streets. Along with political propaganda posters commercial posters also disappeared for a while due to the lack of products and independent clients. On the other hand, the genre of cultural poster had its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s.
Although political matters could not appear on posters of the time, there was an exception: big annual political events, state celebrations and anniversaries. These events could fit in the range of cultural events and posters of them also could function as cultural posters. These annual events generated a separated type of cultural poster design and they also gave a hard task to poster designers. The topic was the same year by year and the iconography had its own recurrent elements: waving flags, emblematic state buildings and political symbols appeared in these posters. It didn’t belong to the fancied duty of poster artists neither, but it was a help in case of a constraint of financial matters.
Compared to the average number of copies of a poster (which was about 400-4000) these posters had a high number of copies, about 10-30 000. The size of the poster was bigger than average and the quality and thickness of the paper used was also better. So this genre was a special type from several aspects.
This poster artwork is a decoratively simple and concentrated piece with the national colours in the background and the dome of the Hungarian Parliament in green in the foreground.
The Hungarian Parliament dates back to the end of the 19th century. There was a public tender in 1881 to find the perfect architectural design, and Imre Steindl, one of the greatest Hungarian architects of his time, was the winner with his plan. The final edifice was built until 1905 and it became the third largest Parliament building in the world, and the secong largest one in Europe. The building is located in Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, along the river Danube. Because of its location, it also became a symbol of Budapest, just as the British Parliament became symbol of London.
The dome of the Hungarian Parliament is the centric element of the building and one of the main spectacles of Budapest, too. It’s characteristic design is depicted in an expressive way on the poster artwork. The political symbol of the red star, which was put on the top of the institution during the Socialist era, also had to be captured on the poster artwork.
This work was created for the 20th of August which was originally and is nowadays the national and state celebration of Hungary. It is also the anniversary of the canonization of the first Hungarian king, I. Stephen, but during the Socialist era, between 1949 and 1989, these were replaced by the anniversary of the new constitution that the first political leadership of the period created.
Although the poster artwork was created for propaganda reasons, it could fit into the range of cultural posters too. What’s more, due to the stressed presentation of the emblematic building of the Hungarian Parliament, and of course with an other title, the final poster could also have functioned as a tourism poster of its time.