Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest
LocationThe Museum of Fine Arts is located in Heroes' Square, Budapest, close to the City Park and near the famous Széchenyi Thermal Baths.
- Address: Budapest, Dózsa György út 41, 1146 Hungary
- Phone: +3614697100
- Website: hwww.szepmuveszeti.hu
- Monday: closed
- Tuesday to Sunday: from 10 am – 6 pm
AdmissionEntry for adults costs 3,400 Ft ($9.90). For EU citizens aged between 6 - 26 and 62 - 70, the entry fee is reduced to 1,700 Ft ($5). Admission is free for children under 6 years of age and EU citizens over 70 years old. Additionally, there's no charge for entry on the 15th of March, the 20th of August, and the 23rd of October.
A Brief History of the Museum
The origins of the Museum of Fine Arts can be traced back to the late 19th century when Hungary celebrated the millennial anniversary of the Hungarian state. As part of the commemorative festivities, construction began on the museum in 1900, under the guidance of architects Albert Schickedanz and Fulop Herzog. The grand inauguration took place on December 1st, 1906, with Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, presiding over the ceremony.
During World War II, the museum suffered significant damage, and many of its valuable artworks were evacuated to Western Europe for safekeeping. However, upon their return to Budapest, the remaining pieces were confiscated by the Soviets and sent to Russia. In the late 1940s, the museum underwent extensive restoration, and artworks that had survived the war in Western Europe were returned to their rightful place.
In recent years, the museum underwent major renovations from 2015 to 2018 to rejuvenate its aging structure. As part of a reorganization plan by the Hungarian government, a new building is being constructed in Budapest’s future museum district to house collections from the 20th and 21st centuries. The Museum of Fine Arts will continue to exhibit artworks dating up to the 19th century.
1. Egyptian Art
The museum’s Egyptian Art department holds the second-largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in central Europe. Curated by Hungarian Egyptologist Eduard Mahler in the 1930s, the collection has been expanded through subsequent archaeological expeditions in Egypt. Among the highlights are intricately painted mummy sarcophagi that offer a glimpse into ancient Egyptian beliefs and customs.
2. Classical Antiquities
The Classical Antiquities collection primarily features artworks from Ancient Greece and Rome. Acquired from renowned classicist Paul Arndt, the collection showcases sculptures, pottery, and other artifacts that provide insights into the civilizations of the past. Visitors can admire statues of gods and heroes, explore ancient myths, and appreciate the mastery of the ancient craftsmen.
3. Old Sculpture Gallery
The Old Sculpture Gallery houses a diverse array of sculptures from different periods and regions. From classical and Renaissance masterpieces to Gothic and baroque works, the gallery offers a comprehensive view of sculptural artistry throughout history. Notable pieces include bronze miniatures from medieval Germany, Netherlands, and France, as well as a potentially attributed work by Leonardo da Vinci known as “The Horse and Rider.”
4. Old Master Paintings Gallery
The Old Master Paintings Gallery is a true gem within the Museum of Fine Arts. It showcases paintings by renowned artists from various European schools, including Raphael, Rembrandt, Velázquez, and Titian. One of the highlights is Raphael’s “Esterhazy Madonna,” an early masterpiece that offers a glimpse into the artist’s evolving style and his exploration of Christian themes.
5. Modern Collection
The Modern Collection focuses on artworks from the 19th and early 20th centuries, representing various artistic movements and styles. From Impressionism to Expressionism, visitors can witness the evolution of art during a time of great innovation and experimentation. The collection includes works by Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, and many other influential artists who revolutionized the art world.
6. Graphics Collection
The Graphics Collection encompasses a vast assortment of prints, drawings, and other graphic artworks. Visitors can explore the world of printmaking and witness the intricate details and techniques employed by artists throughout history. The collection features works by Dürer, Goya, and other masters of the medium.
Before entering the museum, take a moment to appreciate Heroes Square itself. The square serves as a pantheon of heroic statues, with the archangel Gabriel at its center. It sets the tone for the grandeur and significance of the artworks housed within the museum.
Esterhazy Madonna by Raphael
Raphael’s “Esterhazy Madonna” is a masterpiece that should not be missed. This early work by the renowned artist showcases his exploration of Christian themes and foreshadows the brilliance he would achieve in his later paintings.
Saint Thomas Aquinas at Prayer by Sassetta
“Saint Thomas Aquinas at Prayer” by Sassetta is a captivating artwork that blurs the line between the earthly and spiritual realms. The painting depicts a miraculous interaction between the saint and Christ in the form of the Holy Spirit, showcasing the artist’s skill in creating a sense of heightened reality.
The Horse and Rider
In the Old Sculpture Gallery, you’ll find the enigmatic sculpture known as “The Horse and Rider.” Made of beeswax and attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, this piece showcases the mastery of the Italian master and adds an air of mystery to the collection.
A statuette depicting Jesus Christ bearing his cross is a mesmerizing artwork often attributed to Guglielmo della Porta. Rendered in the Renaissance nude style, reminiscent of classical antiquity, the piece draws inspiration from Michelangelo’s iconic “Risen Christ.”
Plan Your Visit
When planning your visit to the Museum of Fine Arts Budapest, be sure to allocate ample time to explore the vast collections. The museum offers guided tours, providing valuable insights into the artworks and their historical context. Additionally, check the museum’s website for any temporary exhibitions or special events that may enhance your experience.
Before or after your visit, take the opportunity to explore the beautiful city of Budapest. Consider joining a guided tour to learn more about the city’s history or find the perfect hotel to make your stay memorable. Budapest offers a wealth of cultural and historical attractions, ensuring a well-rounded and enriching travel experience.
Immerse yourself in the world of art and history at the Museum of Fine Arts Budapest. From ancient civilizations to modern masterpieces, the museum promises a captivating journey through time and creativity. Discover the beauty and significance of these remarkable artworks, leaving with a deeper appreciation for the power of human expression.
- The Museum of Fine Arts Budapest celebrated its centenary in 2006, marking a century of preserving and showcasing artistic treasures.
- The museum’s collection includes significant contributions from individual collectors, as well as older additions from historical estates such as Buda Castle, the Esterhazy family, and the Zichy family.
- The newly renovated museum offers enhanced facilities and an improved visitor experience, ensuring that art enthusiasts can fully immerse themselves in the world of fine art.
What is the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest?
The Museum of Fine Arts is one of the most notable museums in Budapest, Hungary. It houses an extensive collection of international art, including pieces from Ancient Egypt and Greece, a vast array of European paintings and sculptures, and a unique collection of Hungarian art.
What can I see at the Museum of Fine Arts?
The Museum of Fine Arts houses a diverse collection of works from around the world. It includes Egyptian, Ancient Greek, and Roman antiquities, European paintings and sculptures from the Middle Ages to the 17th century, and a rich assortment of Hungarian art.
How much time should I plan to spend at the Museum of Fine Arts?
Visitors typically spend 2-3 hours at the Museum of Fine Arts, although art enthusiasts may choose to spend even longer exploring the various collections.
Are there guided tours available at the Museum of Fine Arts?
Yes, the Museum of Fine Arts typically offers guided tours in various languages. The availability and schedule of these tours may vary, so it's best to check with the museum in advance.
Can I take photographs in the Museum of Fine Arts?
Personal photography without flash is usually permitted in the permanent collection galleries. However, this can vary for special exhibitions and individual artworks, so it's recommended to check for any signage or ask museum staff.