See the Masterpieces of the Dutch Golden Age in the Hungarian Capital.
If you’re planning to be city breaking in Budapest over the coming weeks, be sure to factor the city’s Szépművészeti Múzeum (the Museum of Fine Arts to you and I) into your sightseeing itinerary as it currently plays host to a fabulous temporary exhibition devoted to the masterpieces of the Dutch Golden Age.
Put together with the assistance of Stockholm’s Nationalmuseum, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Kremer Collection, a non-profit organisation specialising in 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings, the exhibition, entitled ‘Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age’, is centred around the work of Rembrandt with 20 of his finest works on display. These are complemented further by another 170+ works produced by some 100 different Dutch painters including three by Vermeer, the majority of which are on loan from private and public collections around the world. These include the Louvre in Paris, the Prado in Madrid, the Uffizi in Florence, the Metropolitan in New York, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the National Gallery in London, as well as the aforementioned loans from Stockholm, Amsterdam and the Kremer Collection.
The exhibition is divided into seven principal sections devoted to the historical background of the period, portrait painting, prosperity and pleasures, religion, Rembrandt and his influence on his contemporaries, city life and landscapes, complemented further by furniture, maps, atlases and globes from the period, on loan from Budapest’s Museum of Applied Arts and the Széchényi Library.
Beyond the exhibition, the permanent exhibits of the Museum of Fine Arts are well worth making time for, housing as they do one of the most important collections of European art dating from antiquity to the present day. Having celebrated its centenary in 2006, the museum contains a fascinating series of departments, ranging from Egyptian art and classical antiquities to sculptures, prints and drawings.
Crème de la crème of the museum’s permanent portfolio meanwhile, the Old Masters collection contains some 3,000 paintings by a veritable list of stars including Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Van Dyck, Jordaens, Holbein, El Greco, Vélazquez and Goya to name but a very special few. There is also a Post-1800 department with a strong international emphasis, for it contains an impressive Impressionist collection with works by a veritable showcase of artistic stars including Monet, Manet, Gauguin, Pissarro, Rodin, Courbet and Delacroix.
Set right in the heart of Heroes’ Square, the Szépművészeti Múzeum is open daily from 10am to 5.50pm and tickets cost HUF 3200 (or HUF 3000 if bought in advance). Please be aware however that certain departments may be closed on Mondays and, in preparation for the museum’s forthcoming restorative works, certain collections may not be accessible. For full details of what is and isn’t available, please click here.