Marked by a lavish palette and infused with light, István Buda's painting changed and developed in the past decades as a result of similar inner (spiritual and intellectual) processes, to reach what is now a clean, yet original form of expression in lyrical abstraction. Trilingual Transylvania and its rich intellectual heritage shaped the mind of the young Buda, who was born and raised in Cluj- Napoca (Kolozsvár). As a man and an artist, he could rely on the moral foundations provided by his family, and the superior craft imparted by his schools. Thanks to the cultural history of his native land, the cultural sensitivity of Transylvania's middle class, and his familiarizing himself with the artistic treasures preserved in churches and museums, drawing became his principal means of self-expression at a young age. With the end of the 20th century, and well into the first decade of the 21st, the artist's painting becomes more and more relaxed, gesture-based, and the formerly decisive lines gradually lose their sharp contours: the last figures disintegrate and disappear in the expressive play of the brushstrokes, which are now thrashing wildly, now interweaving softly. This is how the composition - which is based on conscious and rigorous principles, and is outlined on the base layer of the paintings - "falls victim" to the artist's individual impressions, following the inner voice of the soul. Lines are replaced by patches, straight lines by ceaseless swirls of an Art Nouveau decorativeness, which goes to reinforce a sense of impulsiveness, rather than deliberateness, in the viewer. There is no specific visual content anymore, the message finds expression in colours and gestures, dissolved in the mysteriousness of the myriad different kinds of lights.

Extract from the study
Péter Fertőszögi
Art historian, Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Kovács Gábor Art Foundation


István Buda has an amazingly sure compositional touch: the heightened colours and transposed forms which characterise his works actually remain within the laws of the picture. Each painting has a very definite and firm structure, enabling the viewer to associate with the more abstract formal language at his or her own cultural level. Buda's works cannot be called non-figurative: they are, in fact, very figurative, suggestive creations able to convey the artist's thoughts while serving as instruments of visual pleasure, providing a feast for the eye. These paintings reveal a well-rounded character and István Buda represents a touch of colour all his own in contemporary Hungarian art.

Dr. Lóránd Bereczky
Art historian, critic
Retired General Director of the Hungarian National Gallery



Like the Cumean Sibyl, the priestess who recorded her divinely-inspired prophecies in Greek hexameters on palm leaves. As a talented artist Buda also records his enigma-prophecies: not on leaves, but on canvas.

Unlike the Sibyl, the artist sends out his messages with the intention that they will survive. Aeneas admonished the Sibyl to do the same: "Foliis tantum ne carmina manda, / ne turbata volent rapidis ludibria ventis; / ipsa canas oro". (III. 74-76) [Only do not entrust / your verses to the leaves, lest they fly off / in disarray, the play of rapid winds: / chant them to yourself, I pray.].

The wind cannot sweep away the premonitions in Buda's painterly revelations. It is less his own emotions he places on the canvas than his philosophical conception of human fate because he sees "beyond" things in a way that only artists are capable of doing.

Buda, an artist blessed with great talent, is capable of hiding his figures in compositions created with rapid but balanced brushstrokes in flaming colours. The viewer is deeply impressed at first sight by the dazzling lights and rainbow-like glimmerings that in reality are mirrors of the great soul of the world, the great soul that is often concealed from us by the endless rush that sweeps away the real meaning of life. Like a seer, Buda bestows the privilege of contemplation on those who truly see his paintings. This thinker - who has observed the course of life without troubling himself with the whys, in other words, who has followed it with the eye of an intelligent (and wise) man - and this outstanding painter can do no other than (becoming a mirror), give himself and his fellow men figures drenched with colour, chasms of light, revelation.

Giovanna M. Carli
Art historian, critic
Consultant of the Contemporary Art Collection
Member of the Provincial Council of Tuscany