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Martin Benka: Captivated by nature

ONE of the most important figures in Slovak modernism in the first half of the 20th century, Martin Benka (1888-1971), gained much of his inspiration from the Slovak countryside and its people.
He would stroll across the hills and valleys of his homeland, paintbrush or pencil in hand, seeking spiritual succour as well as subjects to paint. He would stop and gaze in wonder, captivated by the beauty of nature.
A collection of the artist's works can now be seen at the Martin Benka Museum in Martin. Benka was a versatile artist, mainly a painter and illustrator.


THE MARTIN Benka Museum.
photo: Courtesy of SNM

ONE of the most important figures in Slovak modernism in the first half of the 20th century, Martin Benka (1888-1971), gained much of his inspiration from the Slovak countryside and its people.

He would stroll across the hills and valleys of his homeland, paintbrush or pencil in hand, seeking spiritual succour as well as subjects to paint. He would stop and gaze in wonder, captivated by the beauty of nature.

A collection of the artist's works can now be seen at the Martin Benka Museum in Martin. Benka was a versatile artist, mainly a painter and illustrator.

Whilst searching for characteristic features, forms and colours of Slovakia, he would visit regions where people lived simply, in communion with nature. The records of these travels, studies of the Slovak landscape and the pictures he painted, are not simply recreations of what he saw, but are infused with the emotions he experienced.


MARTIN Benka: The Countryside of Terchová, 1936, oil on canvas.
photo: Courtesy of SNM

Nature also contributed to the creation of Benka's style. The love that he felt for the country is reflected in the harmony with which he depicted the Slovak mountains as they changed appearance from season to season as well as in the way he captured the beauty of the hidden corners of Slovakia's varied landscape.

The Martin Benka Museum is located in the house where the artist lived and worked from 1959 to 1971. The permanent exhibition shows the house's authentic interior and part of Benka's extensive work, which numbers in the thousands.

The museum is situated at Kuzmányho 34, Martin. It is open Tuesday to Friday from 9:00 to 16:00 and on Saturday from 9:00 to 17:00. Tel: 043/4131-390.

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