The works of art on display follow the dominant trends of each period from the 11th century to the present. You can wander around in a medieval and Renaissance lapidary, or view Gothic panel paintings, wooden sculptures and winged altarpieces, and some major works of late Renaissance and Baroque art. The diversity of genres is ensured by paintings, sculptures, drawings and art posters, and there is also a coin collection on show. The painting section is home to works by Hungarian painters between 1800 and 1945. Pieces by internationally renowned artists of the 19th century, such as Bertalan Székely, Mihály Munkácsy and Pál Szinyei Merse are on display. The sculpture collection includes many Art Nouveau and Symbolist pieces. The turn of the century is represented by Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka and the avant-garde Lajos Kassák. You can get a taste of the 20th century through the works of the constructivist Victor Vasarely, the surrealist and gesturalist Simon Hantai, and László Moholy‑Nagy, who is also known for being a teacher at the Bauhaus school in Weimar. The contemporary collection of the Hungarian National Gallery includes works of art related in some way or another to Hungary from World War II to today, providing an overview of the trends and important artists of the past decades, along with some fine-art features of Hungarian artistic life.
International masters in the National Gallery
The exhibitions include some works of applied art: carved wooden furniture made by architect Ede Toroczkai Wigand decorated with folk-tale motifs, china products with Art Nouveau motifs designed by József Rippl‑Rónai and manufactured in the Zsolnay factory for the Andrássy dining room, or the world-famous tubular steel furniture made by Marcell Breuer. After the National Gallery merged with the Museum of Fine Arts, a completely new exhibition concept was drawn up and applied to present the works of Hungarian artists alongside international masters, with the aim of displaying Hungarian art together with international works of fine art and industrial art of the same period. This gives visitors a chance to interpret each period as a whole, and allows them to see the works in the cultural context of the era concerned, thus finding the key ‘-isms’ and intellectual trends that shaped and influenced the creation of the work.