This museum features antiquities and art from some of Europe’s greatest artists. Its Spanish collection is particularly notable.
Hungary’s King Franz Joseph established the Museum of Fine Arts (Szépművészeti Múzeum) in Budapest in 1906 to celebrate the founding of the country more than 1,000 years earlier. The intent was to create a cultural center featuring the works of the world’s finest artists…See for yourself if he succeeded.
Before or after you visit the museum, be sure to take note of the building itself. The striking pillars at the entrance and arches inside create an impressive, but eclectic feel.
Inside, visit one collection of very old artworks, including nearly 4,000 pieces of Egyptian art; some of these were excavated by Hungarian archaeologists. Another 5,000 items from Greek, Etruscan, Roman and Graeco-Egyptian sources rotate through a permanent collection.
Enjoy the Old Masters section with 3,000 pictures in rotation. Italian artists include Giotto, Raphael, Titian and Veronese. Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s painting The Sermon of St. John the Baptist is very popular. The Golden Age of Dutch and Flemish Art is represented by Van Dyck, Jordaens and Frans Hals.
The Spanish section is considered one of the most significant in Europe, with paintings from El Greco, Vélazquez and Goya. There are additional works from German, Austrian, French and British artists as well as a collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art. For a switch, travel across the river to the Vasarely Museum, which is part of the Museum of Fine Arts, in Óbuda to see the optical art of Hungarian Victor Vasarely.
A permanent sculpture exhibit has nearly 600 pieces, including Leonardo’s equestrian statuette and the Man of Sorrows by Verrocchio. Nearly 10,000 drawings and 100,000 prints are preserved at the museum, with selections shown in rotation.
The Museum of Fine Arts is open Tuesday through Sunday. There is an entrance fee for the permanent exhibits. Any special exhibitions will have an additional fee. You can rent audio guides in English for the permanent exhibition of the Old Masters' Gallery and the Modern Collection.
To reach the museum, take a bus, trolley or underground to the Heroes’ Square stop.