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FINE ARTS HISTORY The origin and fate of Hungarian art collections are closely connected with the political history of the country. The foundations of the first collection, which was comprehensive and famous the world over, were laid by king Mathias Hunyadi (fifteenth century). His collected treasures, however, were lost and scattered in the chaotic period following his death, so that very few of them were left for subsequent generations. Most seems to have been left of the manuscripts of his famous library known as the Corvina, but a great portion of these are scattered in foreign lands. The Turkish conquests and continual wars did not favor collecting, although historical documents give frequent hints of collecting as the hobby of many a nobleman and bishop. Many of these appear to have been scattered and in part may be found in the collections of the ruling Hapsburg house. With improvement of political conditions in the seventeenth century, the practice of collecting was revived, and it was in this period that the collection of the princely family of Eszterházy, destined to play so important a part later, was started. Collecting progressed very happily in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and private collections increased in numbers, many of which played a significant part in the establishment of the Museum of Fine Arts.

The first public collection was placed in the National Museum out of the gifts of the Art Society of Pest and enthusiasts. A great impetus was received in the gift of Pyrker the Archbishop of Eger, who presented the nation with 162 pieces of art, many of which are very precious. This made possible the establishment of a separate national art gallery, which was opened in 1846 in the building of the National Museum.

The way for the establishment of the National Museum of Fine Arts was very significantly prepared by the purchase of the Eszterházy Art Gallery on the part of the nation. This gallery, which even today constitutes the backbone of the art and graphics collections, was first formed into the National Art Gallery 262 EDUCATION IN HUNGARY with accommodations in the building of the Academy of Sciences.

Works of modern artists continued to be placed in the art g*allery of the National Museum.

The idea of establishing a Museum of Fine Arts was conceived in the atmosphere of the millenary celebrations. The act of 1894 makes provision for it and stipulates the union of the National Art Gallery, the art gallery of the National Museum, and the Historical Art Gallery, which had meanwhile come into existence. The new building of the Museum of Fine Arts was opened in 1906.

The National Museum of Fine Arts contains the masterpieces of the past and present of foreign and Hungarian art in such quantity and of such high standard that many a larger and richer nation is unable to equal it. In rank it follows the largest European collections of a similar nature.


Department of Paintings

1. Old paintings, 1,831 in number, were classified according to nations, schools, and periods, and placed in eighteen rooms and sixteen cabinets. The treasures of this collection of paintings are well known wherever art is seriously appreciated. Among the masterpieces are some by the Italian artists Raffael, Correggio, Luini, Boltraffio, Giorgione, Piombo, Gentile Bellini, Tiepolo, and others; the Spanish artists Greco, Ribera, Murillo, and Goya;

the Flemish masters Gerard, Mending, Petrus Christus, Rubens, Van Dyck, and Jordaens; the Dutch artists Rembrandt, Vermeer van Delft, Albert Cuyp, Frans Hals, Pieter de Hooch, Teniers, the two Ruysdaels, etc.; the German artists Dürer, Altdorfer, Cranach, Hans Baldung, and Grien; and the English artists Reynolds, Hoppner, and Raeburn. Of the works of the older French artists there is to be found such a precious picture as the beautiful landscape by Claude Lorrain. Such old Hungarian masterpieces as the Meeting of Mary and Elizabeth by M.S., the portrait of Francis Rákóczy by Adam Mányoky, and the portraits of John Kupeczky are also contained in this department.

2. Modern paintings, 4,009 in number, were classified, and placed in twenty-two rooms, and four cabinets. The Hungarian group of these paintings is the greatest. Almost every significant


master is represented, and their works are on exhibition all the time. Among them are to be mentioned Vietor Madarász, Bartholomew Székely, Charles Lotz, Michael Zichy, Michael Munkácsy, Ladislaus Paál, Paul M. Szinnyei, Géza Mészöly, Julius Benczúr of the older school and Louis Ébner-Deák, Eugene Gyárfás, Alexander Biliary, Simon Hollósy, Charles Ferenczy, Stephen Csók, Joseph Rónai-Rippl, and Adolf Fényes. A full century of art history is reflected in the masterpieces, which at the same time proclaim the struggles and glories of the past and the promise of the future.

Recently the works of artists within the last decade have been removed to a separate building which is to be called the New Hungarian Art Gallery. It is to contain the works of Hungarian artists whose career falls within the twentieth century.

Modern painters of other nations are represented in a rather sporadic fashion, yet the names of famous artists are not lacking.

Among them are the Germans Menzel, Leibl, Bocklin, Uhde, and Lievermann; the Austrians AValdmuller, Pettenkofen, and Makart; the English Constable; the Dutch Jacob Maris, Willem Maris, and Israels; the Swede Zorn; the Italian Segantini and Favretto; the Spanish Zuloaga; and the French Delacroix, Corot, Diaz, Dupre, Jacque, Troyon, Daubigny, Manet, Claude Monet, Pissarro, Cezanne, Gaugin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Carrière, Boudin, etc.

Department of Statuary

1. Ancient statues and terra-eotta, about 850 pieces, exhibited in two rooms.

2. Statues from the Middle Ages and more recent times, about 400 pieces, placed in four rooms and two courts of the Museum in the order of time and topography.

3. Modern (Hungarian and others) statues, 640 in number, placed in the baroque gallery.

4. Collection of copies, 800 pieces, placed in ten rooms.

The antique collection, although not very complete, gives a good idea of the art of ancient times; it was procured by purchase mainly from the collections of the archaeologist Paul Arndt, ín the collections from the Middle Ages and more recent times, Italian Renaissance sculpture is most completely represented;

they were obtained largely by Charles Pulszky in connection with 264 EDUCATION IN HUNGARY the foundation of the Museum. Others were added subsequently.

The modern collection faithfully reflects the history of Hungarian statuary. The great masters who may be mentioned are Stephen Ferenczy, Züllich, Engel, Kugler, Nicholas Izsó, John Fadrusz, and Alois Stróbl. Foreign masters represented are Rodin, Meunier, Maillol, Hildebrand, Mestrovic, and Minne. The copies embrace the most important masterpieces of ancient times and may be well utilized for the study of Gothic and Renaissance art.

Graphic Collection

1. Drawings, ancient and modern, about 10,000 in number.

2. Etchings, ancient and modern, about 120,000 in number, classified according to schools and artists. Two exhibitions of this material are held annually.

The ancient and modern drawings include sketches from Raffael, Fra Bartolommeo, Leonardo da Vinci, Tintoretto, Dürer, Holbein, Rembrandt, and Watteau; and the most recent collection includes the names of Menzel, Leibl, Feuerbach, Marées, Thoma, Liebermann, R. Alt, Pettenkofen, and Klimt.


This gallery embraces paintings and drawings of historical significance such as portraits of historical figures, events, places, and so on, as well as statues. There are about 1,500 paintings and pieces of statuary and about 50,000 drawings. For exhibition purposes a special room is reserved in the building of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, while the graphical collection is stored away in the Museum. The material is classified according to time and topography.


This was founded by the collector Francis Hopp, who donated his home and gardens in Budapest to the government in 1919 for the purpose of bringing together the art works from the Far East, which were located in the various museums of the country.

The material is of Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Persian origin and comes mainly from the founder, who collected it on his five trips around the world during a period of thirty years. To this were added the collections of Count Peter Vay and Count Eugene MUSEUMS AND ARCHIVES 265 Zichy in 1920 and 1923. The material is classified according to time, technique, and topography.

These collections of the Museum of Fine Arts have a library of 15,000 volumes and a photographic collection of about 35,000 pieces. There are separate departments dealing with the collection of facts concerning the lives and works of artists both at home and abroad. Aside from publishing a catalogue of exhibitions and collections the Museum also prepares a very richly illustrated annual, which gives an account of the growth, work, and exhibitions of the Museum.



HISTORY The idea arose in 1862 on the occasion of the international exhibition at London, but was not realized until ten years later when the Diet voted 50,000 florins for the purpose of purchasing articles. The articles purchased at the Viennese exhibition in 1873 constitute the foundation of the collections to which were later added a collection of Hungarian household articles, and the industrial arts collection of the Xantus Expedition in the Far East. The archaeological department of the National Museum also presented the Museum of Industrial Arts with many valuable articles. It was only in the last decades of the past century that systematic collecting was carried on in this field.

The Museum, until the millennial expedition, was located in temporary quarters, but in 1896 it moved into its own building and provided a place for the National College of Industrial Arts as well.


Briefly, the purpose of the Museum of Industrial Arts is to collect works of Hungarian industrial art and preserve them for the future, supplementing them by characteristic foreign works of industrial art. With this material it aims to stimulate Hungarian talent to active work in the field of industrial arts and to provide patterns for the students of the College and craftsmen of the country. The Museum also strives to maintain and develop Hungarian tendencies and to satisfy and ennoble the aesthetic sense of the great public.

266 EDUCATION IN HUNGARY This purpose is served by its collections, which are always observable by interested individuals for the purpose of study.

Furthermore, the Museum conducts lectures and displays exhibitions, and through various publications acquaints the general public with art problems.

The collections of the Museum are divided into various groups.

The most complete collection is the pottery group, which gives a detailed idea of the development of [lottery work from ancient to modern times. Almost complete is the pottery series of Hungary, of which perhaps the pottery of Transylvania is the most outstanding. The development of porcelains is to be observed in the articles prepared in Japan, China, Meissen, Vienna, Germany, France, Russia, and Hungary. Some of Böttger's first experiments are also included.

Also very complete is the textile collection with more than 5,000 articles. Most complete is the collection of Hungarian folk and art needlework. The collection is comprised of Coptic woven goods from the fourth to the seventh century, silk and velvet goods from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period, goods from more recent times, embroidery, lace, costumes, gobelin tapestries, and carpets. Especially worthy of note is the tapestry depicting the birth of Christ, prepared in Brussels around 1520.

The furniture is exhibited in historical settings. There are also outstanding Hungarian and foreign articles, such as the dowry chest of Catherine Bethlen, Hungarian, German, Italian, Austrian, and Dutch cabinets and chests, French wardrobes, English chairs and sofas of the Regents period, and so on.

Wood carvings are represented by the altar pieces from 1500, the kneeling wooden statue from the Church of St. Francis at Pozsony. There are also many pieces of wood, bronze, ivory, and earthen statuary.

The art of smithery and enameling may be studied from foreign and Hungarian examples. Hungarian smithery is represented by Sebastian Hann, Michael Vay, Szillasy, and others; the most outstanding example is the Losonc pitcher from 1548.

Smaller but important groups are composed of glass, enamel, leather, lead, iron, and other metal articles. Of the articles temporarily located in the Museum of Industrial Arts are the collection of the Eszterházy family, which vie with the finest collections of its kind in the museums of other lands.


The collections of the Museum are supplemented by a library, which contains a rich collection of books on industrial arts, magazines, and films.

Ever since its establishment the Museum has placed great stress upon exhibitions, which it has held from time to time since

1882. These consisted mainly of serial exhibitions of treasures contained in private collections. In this way the Museum has exerted a powerful influence upon the development of industrial art.


The widow of the late George Hath in 1905 present (id to the government the complete collection accumulated by lier husband.

This was placed in a separate building, although it has remained an organic part of the Museum of Industrial Arts and is under its supervision. This museum contains about twelve hundred pieces, among them old paintings, ancient bronzes, box-tree carvings, lead medals, smithworks, porcelain dishes, furniture, jewelry, Oriental rugs, and other art works.

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