The collection comprises thousands of Hungarian paintings and sculptures of all times from the 10th century right through to the present.
The Gallery is made up of six permanent exhibitions from the mediaeval stone carvings till the artworks of present days. A real treat for art lovers and it is impossible to see all of them in one day. You shoud be selective, and concentrate only to the art works you are most interested in. My favourite is the 20th-Century Painting up to 1945.
Guided tours in English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish are available upon prior request.
On the ground floor of Building C, you can visit the crypt of the Habsburg palatines (viceroys).
Entrance fee 800 HUF, Budapest Card accepted, for details look on website
Opening Hours: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. every day except Monday
The Hungarian National Gallery (Magyar Nemzeti Galeria) is located inside the Buda Castle (Budavari Palota) Buildings A / B / C / D. Entrance by the square with the equestrian statue of Eugène de Savoie.
Not to confuse with the Historical Museum Budapesti Történeti Múzeum - Vármúzeum in the E building.
This gallery with paintings and sculptures is one of the quietest parts of the castle as not much visited by tourists except for special exhibitions like now with French impressionists and post impressionists.
The permanent collections include objects of Hungarian art from following periods:
Medieval and Renaissance stonework
Gothic panel paintings and wood carvings
Late Gothic winged altars
Late Renaissance and Baroque Art
19th century painting
19th Century Sculpture
Munkácsy and realism of the century
20th Before 1945 Century Art
20th century art after 1945
What attracted us most is the collection of paintings from the Hungarian school of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
We discovered with great interest realistic painters like Mihaly Munkacsy who were unknown to us (we are too accustomed to the French or Dutch schools). We had a real "coup de coeur" for "Misère" by J. Jendrassi (1896) and "Brother and sister" from A. Ferriyes.
The titles of the works are translated into English.
There was air conditioning in the museum, what with the 35 ° C outside was welcome.
Open from 10 to 18 pm except on Mondays.
Permanent collection price: 1400 HUF, reduced to 50% under 26 and over 62 years of EU, free for more than 70 years old. Fee to photograph: 500 HUF.
One of the perks of visiting the Hungarian National Gallery is that it gives you access to some of the 203 the stately rooms that were built and decorated in Baroque and Rococo styles during the reign of Maria Teresa (1740-1780). Descriptions are given to let visitors know what each room used to be. Established in 1957, the gallery's permanent collection houses Hungarian works of art from the Medieval era to the 20th century and thus serves as an interesting art history lesson. Not knowing much about Hungarian art, I thought it was especially interesting to see how it was influenced by the main European art movements. Temporary exhibitions are also on display.
The art of the 20th c. is divided in works from before 1945 and later.
Personally I preferred the first half of the century with a highlight such as "Brother and Sister" from Fenyes Adolf (1906) or his "Poppy-Seed Cake" 1910.
From Ferenczy Karoly I liked this "Double Portrait" (1908).
Among contemporary art works I got amused by this "Ironing bear, or the life is hard" from Kelemen Karoly 1985.
I removed this photo because there could be a copyright (this work is from 1985) as VT put this photo on the Budapest travel page as illustration for the Hungarian National Gallery.
Furthermore I think that this painting, certainly amusing, is not representative of the whole collection mainly consisting of realistic works from the 19th century.
If I had to choose a work to illustrate this museum I would show "Brother and Sister" from Fenyes Adolf (1906) or a painting called "Misere" by Jendrassik Jeno in 1896.
I looked for more info about this moving representation of a girl looking sadly and sitting at what seems to be a chemist shop but found nothing on the web (to make things confusing there is a homonym who was a physiologist). If somebody could tell me more about this picture, I'll be grateful.
Some of the most comprehensive and beautiful works of arts by Hungarian artists can be found in this museum. There are six galleries representing the “most valuable and critically acclaimed Hungarian art in the world".
A general entrance fee is charged for the permanent galleries and a special fee for the temporary galleries.
NOTE: If you plan to photograph any of the galleries, please make sure to pay the special "photography fee" or you will be highly disappointed to know that the guards will not allow you to take any photos. I had already been to a few other musuems and asked upon purchasing my entrance fee if there was a photography fee.
I found this to be a most pleasant museum with such a wide range of art, to suit all tastes: Medieval and Renaissance stone carvings, panel paintings and woden sculptures from the Gothic Period; late Renaissance and Baroque art; 19th century paintings of famed Hungarian artists, Mihaly Munkacsy and Paul Laszlo, as well as much 20th century art.
OPEN: Tues - Suns. 10 - 18:00
The Late Gothic Alterpieces are one of the permanent star exhibits here at the gallery. They are found in the Great Throne Room. The folding alterpieces mainly date to the 15th and early 16th centuries. While the alterpieces are purely gothic, some of the paintings and sculptures that adorn them reveal some Renaissance influence.
The Alterpieces are breathtaking and there is a peace and serenity you find in this room.
NOTE:The second picture is of The Annunciation from Parish Church St. John the Baptist in Kisszeben 1515-1520. The third pic is the High Altar of the Virgin Mary from Csíkmenaság, Transylvania, dated 1543; the fifth pic is statues of St. John, Virgin & Child, St. Peter from the High Alter of Kisszeben 1490-1500.
As the collection of paintings of the Hungarian National Gallery covers a few centuries from the Baroque to the second half of the 20th c. I enjoyed comparing some portraits from the different periods and styles.
Astonishing and my absolute favorite is this little girl called "Fifine" by Deak Ebner Lajos (1875).
The painter was influenced by his friends Paál and Munkácsy and by the French as he staid in Barbizon and Paris. He was the leader of the School for Women Painters in 1887-1922 (! could not imagine this existed). I also much liked his "Woman Hauling Ship" (1881).
Grown up our Fifine might well look like that woman painted by Szekely Bertalan "Study of a female head" 1880.
Another highlight of the museum is the "Lady with Black Veil" by Rippl-Ronai Jozsef 1896. He also staid in Paris. His portraits of women are remarkable, they are "sublimated".
In another style I liked from Zador Istvan "My Wife" (1910).
Munkácsy Mihaly is the most famous painter of the 19th century Hungarian realism and it was very interesting to discover his works.
Although Munkácsy was rewarded with the Gold Medal of the Salon de Paris in 1870 for his masterpiece "The Last Day of a Condemned Man" and lived later in Paris I haven't seen any work of him at the Musée d'Orsay.
There are about 30 paintings of him on display in the Magyar Nemzeti Galéria.
He excelled in genre pictures like "Making lint" (1871) and "Woman carrying faggot" (1873) but later he painted landscapes more in the impressionist style while he worked in Barbizon, France. I did especially like his "Alley" of 1886 and from his friend Paál László the "Road to Berzova" (1871).
Discovering Hungarian 19th century genre pictures.
I got initiated and started liking genre pictures under the influence of the Dutch 17th c. painters who were I think the best in that type of subjects.
The National Hungarian Gallery has on display a number of works from Hungarian genre painters. After the well known Munkacsy I halted in front of paintings from Karcsay Lajos who studied at the Munich Academy were he continued to live while sending his works to various exhibitions in Hungary in the 1880 - 1890s.
Best known is the often reproduced "Apple Harvest" (or Gathering Apples) from 1886.
Another typical genre painting is the tavern interior by Hollósy Simon (1888) but I preferred "Sunday afternoon" (1893) one of the major works of Bihari Sandor. I also liked a painting showing the "Communion".
My favorite was a painting called "Misère" (French word misère = destitution, extreme poverty) by Jendrassik Jeno in 1896 showing a girl looking sadly and sitting at what seems to be a chemist shop.
All interesting discoveries of the 19th century Hungarian school.
The transition from the 19th and 20th c. paintings to the religious art was somewhat abrupt but not without interest.
With age I became, quite logically, interested in tombs, I fancy the "gisants" (ref my reviews about Dijon Tomb of Philip the Bold.) but also in winged altarpieces. I developed some envy for historical personalities who after killing a fair number of their contemporaries paid for an altarpiece in some church to obtain forgiveness for their sins.
Visiting museums over Europe I often met altarpieces made in my country (see my review Museum of Art and History (Brussels) - Carved altarpieces so that I was surprised and interested to see here Hungarian altarpieces whose style is different from those of Flanders or Brabant but closer to what I saw in the churches of Krakow The Choir of the Bazylika Mariacka..
On the first floor and in the former throne-room of the palace are on display a total of fifteen winged altarpieces from the 15th and 16th century. They came from churches mainly located in Upper Northern Hungary. There had been winged altars in the whole territory of Hungary but the Turkish invaders and the Protestant iconoclasts destroyed many of them.
From the parish church at Kisszeben were preserved an Annunciation altarpiece and sculptures from the high altar. Other typical altarpieces are the Virgin Mary from Nagyszalok and the St. Anne from Leibic.
Note: it`s possible making photos inside the museum if you pay about 7 EUR. I think that having the possibility to "bring home" such masterpieces well worths this price. The photos of the following tips are all my work.
The National Gallery has the most prestigious collection of the hungarian painting in the country: the biggest part of the most famous works can be seen there.
This museum was moved to the eastern wing of the relentlessly transformed Royal Palace in 1975. In 1982 it recieved another part of the palace in wich you can admire the gothic altar collection (see the tip), while in 2005 also the wing of the Ludwig museum (northern part)was given to the National gallery.
Works of great artists, Viktor Madarász, Gyula Benczúr, Bertalan Székely, Miklós Barabás-just to mention the most celebrated painters- can be found on the first floor dedicated mostly to the XIX. century.
On my images you can see the following works:
Main pic: Vajk`s babtism painted by Gyula Benczúr. Vajk is saint Stephen`s, Hungary`s first king`s pagan name. He was baptized in 1000 A.C. and soon recieved the Holy Crown from the Pope wich is Hungary`s most important treasure.
2nd pic: Women of Eger, painted by Bertalan Székely. It represents the women of Eger fortress that in 1552 resisted to the huge turkish army (about 100.000 soldiers). The brave women fought very hard and they became a legend.
3rd pic, my favourite of all: Mourning of Hunyadi László painted by Viktor Madarász. Hunyadi László was king Mátyás`s (Matthias) brother and he was decapitated by the enemies of the family. I like very much the composition: the well illuminated body is in complete contrast with the two women and this is what makes this painting so creepy.
4th Pic: it represents the reconquest of Buda from the turks in 1686. Also this large painting was made by Gyula Benczúr
4th. pic. Here you can see one part of the first floor. Well it`s everything but nice, I know. Here is a pic of the original aspect of this part of the Royal Palace. I believe that trasforming this beauty in modern style was a real crime...
Sincerly, if only I could decide it, tis cupola wouldn`t stay there for long, that`s for sure. I can`t wait to see the reconstruction of the original fabulous one. This one isn`t really bad but really there is no comparison between the two. However I must admit that this is the best viewpoint in the whole Castle district. The Fishermen`s bastion, the Bishops garden and the court of the Royal palace gives you great photo shooting opportunities, but only the cupola gives you a 360 degrees full view, so if you want to make really good photos, this is the right choice.
The only problem is that you can go there only if you
1. Pay the entrance fee to the National Gallery (800 HUF-3,20 EUR)+
2. You pay 300 HUF (1,20 EUR) to visit the cupola.
The sight from above speaks for itself-just see the photos-, so paying this not really high fee is highly adviceable.
The Hungarian National Gallery is housed inside Buda Castle and is one of the institutions through with the Communist government hoped to turn Buda Castle from a symbol of the old régime into a house of culture. Its collection is almost exclusively Hungarian and it frequently organizes special exhibits, some of which showcase new and emerging Hungarian artists. I visited the museum in 2004 (not on my latest trip) and I have to classify its collection along the lines of my much-ranted-about ethnographic museums. The Gallery includes works by nearly anyone and everyone who was Hungarian and even remotely known for their artwork. It is a good show of the various artistic talents of the Hungarian people and the history of artwork in Hungarian lands, but if you are not especially interested in that point, and are just looking for a gallery to learn a bit about Hungarian arts and culture, this may be a bit much. It has sculpture, paintings, stonework and coins, so, in a sense, it has something for everybody. Nevertheless, if you’ve made the trip out to Buda and have decided to make a day of it, it may be a good idea to visit.
The National Gallery is located within Buda Castle and features exclusively Hungarian painters. Many paintings deal with important historic events in Hungarian history - like the Turkish Wars - so some basic knowledge of Hungarian history might be useful. Very worthwhile.