In my last blog, I talked about Florence and its eternal, enduring association with the Renaissance Masters. After all, if it’s a spot of classical art appreciation you’re looking for on a weekend break in Europe, then undoubtedly the Tuscan capital is the place for which to head. Yet many may not be aware that during the 17th and 18th centuries, Italy – the north in particular – enjoyed close artistic ties with Hungary, its masters of Baroque and Rococo painting bringing artistic and cultural awareness to the Hungarian elite during their travels to Budapest and beyond.
Today, these paintings are honoured by Budapest’s outstanding Museum of Fine Arts, the Szépművészeti Múzeum, playing host to some 600 permanent works of art amassed from the collections of Hungary’s great aristocratic families which cover a wide variety of subject matter and stylistic interpretation. Bringing to a close the city’s Hungarian-Italian Cultural Season, the museum is about to launch a brand new exhibition entitled Caravaggio to Canaletto – Two Centuries of Italian Masterpieces, featuring works by the two aforementioned leading Baroque and Rococo painters, in addition to selected pieces by Strozzi, Tiepolo, Bellotto, Carracci, Giordano, Gentileschi and Guercino.
Opening this coming weekend (from Saturday, 26th October) and running through until the 16th of February 2014, the Szépművészeti Múzeum presents 30 paintings from its own collection in addition to a number of rarely-seen pictures from private Hungarian collections, complemented further by some 100 masterpieces on loan from a wealth of the most prestigious art museums in Europe and the USA. These include the Musée du Louvre in Paris, London’s National Gallery, the Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, the Uffizi and Galleria Palatina in Florence, the Pinacoteca Capitolina and Galleria Borghese in Rome, the Gemäldegalerie of Berlin and Dresden and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5.50pm (closed Mondays) and tickets cost HUF 3200 (or HUF 3000 if bought in advance).