On the basis of a competitive tender, Albert Schickendanz and Fülöp Herzog were commissioned to design and construct the building, which opened in 1906. The gallery displaying original paintings was placed in the first floor halls of the neo-classical building; however, only plaster casts were available to illustrate a complete history of European sculpture. It was for these life-size copy sculptures that the Doric, Ionic, Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque halls on the ground floor were designed, imitating the styles of individual periods of art history. However, as the number of original works increased, so the plaster sculptures were forced out of the building (the only one remaining, a copy of the group in the pediment of the temple of Zeus at Olympia, can be seen on the tympanum above the Museum’s main entrance), and the ground floor galleries are now also used to display original works of art. On the ground floor are the exhibitions of the Classical Antiquities and of 19th century paintings and sculptures; the Renaissance hall, where in addition to Renaissance frescoes and fountains items from the Sculpture Collection may be seen; the Prints and Drawings Gallery with temporary exhibitions; and the Marble and Baroque halls.
Due to the continuous renovation work on the building, individual permanent exhibitions of the Old Masters’ Gallery may temporarily be moved.
The Collection of Egyptian Art, comprising nearly 4000 items, is one of the richest of its kind in Central Europe. The Collection of Egyptian Art, counting nearly 4000 items, is one of the richest in its kind in Central Europe. It is unique among the other collections at the Museum of Fine Arts in that it holds objects which result from Hungarian excavation projects. At the beginning of the 20th century a Hungarian–Polish expedition carried out excavations in Central Egypt; in 1964 rescuing excavations took place in Nubia, accomplished by the aid of international collaboration; and then in 1983 the excavations at Theba also yielded a copious material. Several remarkable works of art, like the Statue of Crown Prince Sheshonq from the 9th century B.C., the 3rd-century B.C. Seated Cat, as well as the latest purchase, a 4000-year-old Magic Wand carved of a hippopotamus tusk, are on show in the permanent exhibition.
This is the single comprehensive Collection in Hungary, with its 5000 artworks, where the Classical Antiquity can be studied.
Old Master Paintings
The 3000 paintings offer an almost uninterrupted survey of the development of European painting from the 13th to the late 18th centuries. Among the 3000 pictures preserved in the collection, the abundant section of Italian paintings spans a magnificent period of art. It represents the most remarkable achievements from the beginnings marked by the names of Giotto and Duccio through the works by the greatest Renaissance masters like Raphael, Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese up to the age of Tiepolo. A gem of the collection of Netherlandish paintings is The Sermon of St. John the Baptist by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Masterpieces by Van Dyck, Jordaens and Frans Hals allow a glimpse into the 17th-century Golden Age of Dutch and Flemish art. The Spanish section, one of the most significant of this sort in Europe, is marked by paintings of El Greco, Vélazquez and Goya. Prominent works by Holbein the Elder, Cranach, Dürer and Maulbertsch enrich the collection of German and Austrian art. The French collection, although more modest in its dimensions, also includes celebrities as Poussin and Claude Lorrain; whereas British painting is represented by Reynolds and Constable, among others.
The 600 artworks of the Collection of Old Sculptures encompass the history of European sculpture until the end of the 18th century.
Prints and Drawings
The 10 000 drawings and 100 000 prints embrace the history of drawing and reproductive techniques from the beginnings to the present day.
Art after 1800
The Collection of Modern Art consists of painting and sculpture, altogether circa 1000, which were produced after 1800. The Collection of Modern Art houses paintings and sculptures – altogether some 1000 – which were produced after 1800. The 19th-century French collection, with its scope reaching from Romantism to Post-Impressionism, includes paintings by Delacroix, Corot, Courbet, Manet, Monet, Cézanne and Gauguin. Sculptures by Rodin and Maillol complete the picture of this period. Austrian Biedermeier is represented by Waldmüller’s, Amerling’s and Danhauser’s paintings. As for the German painting of the mid-19th century, one can get a taste from canvases by Leibl, Lenbach and Menzel, while Symbolism is evoked by Böcklin, Stuck and Khnopff, three important artists of this style. Paintings by Kokoschka, Slevogt, Utrillo, Severini and Chagall provide an image of the schools of the first half of the 20th century, whereas works by Albers, Vasarely, Anthony Caro and Abakanowicz allow an insight into the more recent tendencies.
In the eight halls of the first floor, the major schools of French art are represented from Romanticism to Post-Impressionism, while one chamber presents the art of German, Austrian and English masters. The selection presented in the lower level displays new endeavours from the turn of the century, allowing their national features to be studied alongside analogous artistic ideas.
- - verberg extra tekst