News & Events

Finding sanctuary among artists

October 1, 2020

Portrait artist Miklos Szilagyi and his wife Lyn moved into Rushall Park almost a week before the first lockdown happened in March this year.

It was not the most auspicious welcome but for Miklos, that week was confirmation that he had made the correct choice for retirement living.

“We had been to the village many times and we liked what we saw, the camaraderie among the residents, the heritage, and the access to city and inner suburban life. We are also close to our two daughters and three grandchildren which is wonderful,” Miklos said.

They put their name on the waitlist and then got on with lives filled with visits to art galleries, concerts, cafes and restaurants. But time and older age began to creep up, the garden and their large Brunswick home was beginning to become too much, and so when the phone call came offering a place in the new multi-million dollar architecturally-designed apartments, they took it.

“It was the right time for us. That first week we met so many people, caught up with old friends, made new acquaintances … we knew we had arrived,” Miklos said.

Over the ensuing months, Miklos and Lyn have been settling in, unpacking boxes, and enjoying the quietness that has surrounded the village. The time has enabled them to connect with people living in the Brian Blythe apartments, one of the three new developments at Rushall Park.

Now, as the days grow longer and there is an end in sight to lockdown, Miklos is looking forward to returning to a more normal lifestyle which includes making the most of inner city living and, very crucially, being able to return to his studio to paint.

“Art has always been a part of my life, and it is essential to who I am,” Miklos said.

He has focused on portraiture from the mid-90s, as well as being an art teacher and enjoying bringing up a family. He is a devotee of Rembrandt, generally regarded as the greatest artist of Holland’s Golden Age. A crucial aspect of Rembrandt’s development was his intense study of people, objects, and their surroundings from life.

“There are many artists who have inspired me over the years but I always return to Rembrandt,” Miklos said.

Over the years, Miklos’ work has featured in several exhibitions, he has entered the Archibald many times, and on two occasions was selected for the Salon Des Refuses at S.H.Ervin Gallery, Sydney. He has been a consistent participant of The Hidden Faces of the Archibald in Melbourne.

One of his best-known compositions was of Harold Mitchell, the businessman turned philanthropist. The portrait was described as ‘a fine piece of orchestration, competently drawn and vigorously painted, but with a composition emphasising the corpulent presence of the man, with his obscenely long, loud tie.’

Miklos describes portraiture as a relationship which grows through a series of meetings and sessions of sittings in his studio. He is sought out by people wanting their portrait drawn rather than his seeking potential clients.

He is not sure who his next client will be, that will come in due course. In the meantime, he is itching to paint in his light-filled studio and to become more active in Rushall Park village life.

“There is something rather marvellous about the opportunity that living here offers, a place that welcomes ‘well matured and still working artists and one who looks forward to finding out more.’


Dorothy Clayton has felt very much ‘at home’ since she moved into Braeside Park nine years ago. Now, Dorothy, the village’s volunteer pastoral care worker, tries to ensure that others also feel a sense of belonging in the Berwick village.

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