Hungarian National Gallery(Magyar Nemzeti Galeria)

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by wildhoney269 on July 14, 2003

The Hungarian National Gallery (Magyar Nemzeti Galeria) resides in wings B, C and D of the Royal Palace on Castle Hill. When we entered the museum, we assumed we would see more artwork from the "masters" that we had seen in other European art museums. We had a refreshing surprise to find that the style of the artwork is completely different than anything we had seen before. In fact, all the artwork in the Hungarian National Gallery’s six permanent exhibits was produced by only Hungarians.

We were most impressed with the late gothic altars of the 15th and 16th Century which is part of the Gothic and Renaissance exhibit. In high contrast to the various Christian relics found in European galleries, the altars on display seemed to be from a different religion. Many winged altars were destroyed when Turkish and Protestant beliefs became prevalent. Surviving alters are very rare. The exhibit contains four altarpieces from the 1480s, six from the 1510s and 1520s, and the High Altar of the Virgin Mary from Csíkmenaság, Transylvania, dated 1543, it being the latest mediaeval specimen of its kind in existence. The most elaborate altarpiece we found was the wonderful St. Anne Altarpiece from Kisszeben.

Winged Alters consist of three painted or carved panels that are hinged together. Many affluent families or pious groups erected side-altars in the aisles attached to the columns or in the side-chapels of a church. These alters became the main commission for painters and wood-carvers and cabinet-makers during medieval times. A typical altar consisted of the three panels similar in shape to a window with shutters. Each of the three panels is intricately painted. Above the panels is a detailed carving including ornaments, sculptures and reliefs.

Elsewhere, some of the most important 19th and 20th century paintings in Hungary make up the remainder of the collection. Highlights are Gyula Benczur's depiction of The Recapture of Buda Castle in 1686 and László Hunyadi's Farewell along with paintings by the country's most revered artist Mihály Munkácsy which include Dusty Road, The Yawning Traveller and Woman Carrying Brushwood. More recent works by 20th century artists such as Tivadar Kosztka Csontváry and Lajos Guláscy complete a rich, diverse collection.

Hungarian National Gallery
Budavári Palota, Szent György tér 2., Wings A, B, C, D
Budapest, Hungary, 1014
(+36 1) 201 9082

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