The Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest

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The frontal view of Budapest’s Fine Arts Museum

The Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, also known as Szépművészeti Múzeum in Hungarian is located at Heroes’ Square, facing the Palace of Art. The collection that the museum is displaying contains international art, other than local.

Albert Schickedanz and Fülöp Herzog were the architects that had to design a project for the building as a result of their victory at a competition. They came up with the eclectic-neoclassical style and worked together between 1900 and 1906 in order to give life to a grandious construction.

The Museum owns and comprises more than 100.000 pieces of art which are distributed on six departmens as it follows: Egyptian, Antique, Old sculpture gallery, Old painter gallery, Modern collection and Graphics collection.

The gallery takes pride in its Ancient Egyptian art collection, the second largest one in Central Europe. In this sense, Eduard Mahler, along with several digs in Egypt, contributed to the expandation of the collection. An eye-catching piece is the painted mummy sarcophagi.

Most of the Classical antiquities have been acquired from Paul Arndt, a classicist from Munich. Among the exhibition there are Greek and Romanesque works, as well as Cyprean and Mycenaean. The Budapest Dancer is one of the most significant marble sculptures made in the 3rd century.

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The Old Paintings Gallery

The Old Paintings Gallery holds aproximately 3000 artworks dating back from the 13th century up to the 18th century. The collection is a strong proof of an interruptible development in art, split up into Italian, German, Netherlandish, Flemish, French, English and Spanish style.

One of the most important works are Domenico Ghirlandajo’s Saint Stephen Martyr, Titian’s Portrait of Doge Marcantonio Trevisani, Tintoretto’s Supper at Emmaus, Dürer’s Portrait of a Young Man, Rubens’s Mucius Scaevola Before Porsenna and a strong collection of Spanish artworks made by El Greco, Velázquez and Goya.

Two famous studies by Leonardo Da Vinci can be seen in the Drawings and Prints department. Along with those there are included 15 drawings by Rembrandt, 200 pieces by Goya and French aquaints. 10,000 drawings and 100,000 prints originate from the Esterhazy, Istvan Delhaes and Pal Majovsky acquisitions.

Aerial view of one hall from the Museum

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The Old Sculpture Collection comes from the Italian one owed by Karoly Pulszky and Istvan Ferenczy’s bronze pieces. Also, there is a number of painted wooden sculptures in the German and Austrian section. One of the most important pieces is the small equestrian by Leonardo Da Vinci. All of them belong to the Middle Ages and up to the 17th century.

The significance of the 19th- and 20th-century art collection is not put in the first place as it is a younger collection. However, several artworks are exhibited from the Romantic period, the Barbizon School and Impressionism with artists such as Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro. There is a large collection of sculptures by Auguste Rodin and Constantin Meunier.

No matter what your purposes are visiting Budapest, there is no way you could ignore the importance of Szépművészeti Múzeum. The eclectic-neoclassical building offers a different perspective of art, both from outside and inside.

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Museum of Fine Arts Budapest, an aerial view of the building

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About the Author: Denise Nazelis

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