A free guided tour was offered to those who visited the Greek Catholic Museum on 17 October at 5 pm. The invitation was for a guided tour, but the visitors got much more than that: the invited speaker, Ádám Kisléghi Nagy, Kossuth Prize-winning painter and “painter of the Holy”, led the almost a hundred people on a passionate art historical, aesthetic and theological journey.

Those who are familiar with the art and ars poetics of Ádám Kisléghi Nagy know that he relates both art and the world to God, and therefore what he speaks about is a crystal-clear, no-frills, sometimes even passionate and ironic, sincere confession of faith.

“There is only one reality: God” – he quoted Béla Hamvas – and followed this message through his entire lecture. “Before the Fall, Heaven and Earth were the same, above and below were the same, the Earth reflected divine perfection – but then everything became confused. This is what St. Paul says: For now we see only in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. The heavenly mirror, the mirror of perfection, is shattered, and modern creators, consumerism, money, power, human nature, are breaking it into even smaller pieces. This museum reveals some shards of the mirror of perfection. Collecting and exhibiting these fragments suggests that there is hope in this confused, lost world.”

Because art is not for the individual, about the individual, but about God alone. Because art is sacred. It is not profane, not an end in itself, not a “gag”. Art is a law, but not a law unto itself. It is sacred because it serves, like angels. It may start from the depths, but it lifts you up, not brings you down.

Art is ever-changing and yet constant. It is a statement and not a babble. Art is pleasurable and painful. It can speak of the hidden through the intelligible, not the hidden through the hidden. To everyone, not just the elite.”

Through icons, paintings and liturgical objects, the artist presented the message of the painters who created the paintings hundreds of years ago with pioneering use of colours.

“These paintings prove that people wanted to see the heavenly mirror, the mirror of perfection.”

Following the guided tour, there was also an informal discussion with the artist, and at the request of Professor Bernadett Puskás, he gave a lecture on painting techniques for students of the University of Nyíregyháza and those interested in the subject.

By Király András