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A jewel of Art Nouveau: the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts

The Budapest Museum of Applied ArtsBudapestGreater Budapest

The Museum of Applied Arts may be considered one of the most vital stages in the birth of Art Nouveau in Hungary. Pay a visit to this amazing museum, and marvel at the many Hungarian and international works of applied arts, including everything from medieval masterpieces to contemporary works. You will surely be impressed by the sight of the building alone – inside and out. 

What is the mission of the Museum of Applied Arts?

Located on Üllői út, one of Budapest’s busiest roads, the primary objective of the Museum of Applied Arts is to “collect, register, document and study works of applied art, to keep and display them as part of the natural cultural treasures, and thereby to disseminate the values of object and environmental culture for educational purposes.” (excerpt from the Museum’s mission statement). The museum also openly pursues its mission to elevate public taste and visual culture by presenting masterpieces. By stepping inside the door of the imposing building, you can see for yourself that the museum is making great strides in accomplishing these noble goals: with its collection of around 100,000 works of art, it paints a comprehensive picture of the history of all branches of applied arts. In addition, the building housing the collection is itself a magnificent sight to behold. 

A few words about the Palace of the Museum of Applied Arts

The Budapest Museum of Applied Arts was established as the third such museum in the world, after its partner institutions in London and Vienna. Notably, a part of the museum's collection is older than the building itself: the growing collection was first taken in by the Hungarian National Museum, but was then transferred to the “Old Art Hall”. The works of art only found their true home in the 1890's.

The Palace of the Museum of Applied Arts is a true Art Nouveau masterpiece, designed by two renowned Hungarian architects, Ödön Lechner and Gyula Pártos. The magnificent building bears both Renaissance and Baroque features. Moreover, its structure hints at Hungarian folk art, Indian Islamic architecture, and even traditional Chinese design. The institution first opened in 1896, as part of the millennial celebrations for the 1,000th anniversary of the Hungarian conquest of the Hungarian homeland.

Walking up to the building, you will surely notice the four sculptures adorning the dome. They symbolise the four branches of applied art: metalworking, ceramics, textile art and decorative sculpting. The gigantic dome, decorated with gorgeous green-yellow Zsolnay-glazed ceramic tiles, guarantees that this robust building can be easily recognised from afar.

Stepping into the museum, visitors are immediately captivated by the astounding and ornate formwork, while the surrounding snow-white painted interior gives a sense of an otherworldly, ‘enchanted castle’. The glass roof of the great hall floods the interior with light. Together with the ornamental filigree running along the columns and arches and the ornate glass dome of the lobby, you will no doubt be dazzled by the sight.  

Where to go during the renovations

Major renovation works began in 2017, to allow the Museum of Applied Arts to welcome its guests in its former splendour once more. The museum is only expected to open its doors to visitors in 2022. Still, there’s no need to be discouraged.

  • Until then, visit our institution’s Ráth György Villa location along the line of trees in City Park, where you will find an exhibit called Our Art Nouveau, presenting the most beautiful pieces in the museum's Art Nouveau collection.
  • Feel free to browse the museum's collection database where you can get a sneak peek of these fantastic works of art.