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Museum of Fine Arts

Museum of Fine ArtsBudapestGreater Budapest

What the Prado is in Madrid, the Louvre in Paris, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the National Gallery in London, the Museum of Fine Arts is in Budapest. Masterpieces from antiquity to contemporary art.

The periodic and permanent exhibitions of the museum are both world famous. Its building neighbors Budapest’s largest park, the zoo and Széchenyi Thermal Bath, and borders Heroes’ Square which is a world heritage site. There, you can stimulate your spirits, invigorate your soul and energize your body in one tour.



The source of Collection and brief story of Museum

In contrast to the above listed large galleries, the private collection of the wealthy Hungarian noble family Esterházy provides the basis for the fine art collection at the Museum of Fine Arts and not imperial or royal estates. The paintings, drawings and engravings in this collection were purchased by the Hungarian state in 1870. The exhibition material has been significantly expanded since and is now considered the largest collection in Central Europe. The exhibited artists include Leonardo, Raffaello, Titian, Dürer, El Greco, Velázquez, Rubens, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Tiepolo, Goya, Manet, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir and Cézanne.


In the initial years, the Academy housed the collection but it soon became too small. The current building was inaugurated in 1906 by Franz Joseph himself, Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, within the framework of the large millennial investments. One hundred years had to pass for the first major expansion and conversion. Reconstruction was completed in 2018 so the modernized museum is now again open to visitors.

Museum of Fine Arts

European fine arts in focus

Like all major museums, the Museum of Fine Arts also has permanent and periodic exhibitions. The permanent exhibition can be basically divided into three larger units one of which is displayed in the Hungarian National Gallery located in the Buda Castle. This is attributable to historical reasons as the Hungarian works were selected from the original collection in 1957 and shown as a separate exhibition. For this reason, the building of the Museum of Fine Arts exhibits European fine arts created from the 13th until the end of the 18th century, showcasing the development of European painting and sculpture, and the changes in styles over time. In addition to the classic gallery portfolio, the third large unit is composed of antique Greek and Roman sculptures, and Egyptian artefacts dating back to antiquity.



Masterpieces from Middle Ages

The most complete collection of old paintings, graphics and sculptures spanning almost the entire Middle Ages, from the early Renaissance to the late Baroque period, contains works by Italian, German, Flemish, Dutch and Spanish artists. Particularly, works of Italian and Dutch artists are well represented in this collection. Outside of the Netherlands, the Museum contains the largest collection of Dutch masterpieces from the 17th century in the world, for example, consisting of more than 500 paintings. This year the permanent exhibition displaying art of the 17th and 18th centuries will be reopened to visitors – after being closed off to the public – in the newly air-conditioned rooms of the wing in Városliget.

Dürer Exhibition in Museum of Fine Arts

Involved in the international circulation

This enormous collection also represents the basis for the periodic exhibitions. These collected artefacts comprise the basis of exchange for exhibitions organized from time to time by the Museum of Fine Arts. The paintings stored here are sought by museums around the world, including the British Museum, the Louvre, the Uffizi and the Washington National Gallery of Art.


As a result of such international exchanges, in recent years the Museum held a number of successful exhibitions, including the one showcasing the life-work of Van Gogh, the “Monet and Friends” impressionist exhibition, the “From Botticelli to Titian” exhibition, the “From Degas to Picasso” exhibition, the Michelangelo exhibition, and the recent “Golden Age of Flemish Art” and Rubens exhibitions. These periodic exhibitions are organized for only three and a half months but attract an average of 200,000 visitors.

Neighbourhood of the Museum of Fine Arts, the Heroes' Square

Current exhibitions

One of the exhibitions expected in 2021 will show Japanese wood-engravings surviving the Austro-Hungarian Empire and their impact on European arts while the other will explore the discovery of the tomb of the pharaoh Amenhotep II. There will also be an exhibition displaying the art of Albrecht Dürer – works selected from the museum’s major collection of early German graphical material.


The exhibition “From Cézanne to Malevich” planned in the autumn is likely to attract the greatest interest. The exhibition – showing more than 100 works – displays the paintings and graphics of Cézanne as well as works by leading artists of the Russian avant-garde and artists of the Bauhaus movement. These names will surely arouse your interest: Mondrian, Malevich, Rodchenko, Klee, Feininger and László Moholy-Nagy. If you’re in Budapest, this museum is definitely worth visiting!



WONDERS OF HUNGARY: MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, BUDAPESTWe have launched a mini-series entitled Wonders of Hungary, occasionally presenting our country's beautiful treasures in about a minute to inspire you. Welcome to part 13, in which we roam the halls of the impressive Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest.
Wonders of Hungary: Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
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