The exhibition, opened in 2002, surveys the most important trends in the fine arts in Hungary from the generation that founded the Nagyb├ínya artists' colony in the 1890s (Simon Holl├│sy, K├íroly Ferenczy) to the mid-1940s. In line with a new method of arrangement, works are not displayed in strict chronological order; each room is an independent unit in its own right.
The work of the most important artists (J├│zsef Rippl-R├│nai, Tivadar Csontv├íry Kosztka, Ferenc Medgyessy, R├│bert Ber├ęny, Gyula Derkovits) and groups of artists (the Eight, the Activists, the Rome School, the Gresham Circle) is presented by a continually altering selection of paintings.
Our exhibition, presenting 19th-century art, surveys the work of almost 100 years, beginning in the late 18th century. Here we can see almost all the important works from the time of National Romanticism that have for generations determined the national visual memory. Including such major emblematic works of historical painting as The Women of Eger, The Mourning of L├íszl├│ Hunyadi and The Christening of Vajk, the most significant historical paintings by Viktor Madar├ísz, M├│r Than, S├índor Liezen-Mayer, Bertalan Sz├ękely, and Gyula Bencz├║r fill two impressive rooms on the first floor.
In the adjacent rooms the visitor can see landscapes by K├íroly Mark├│ as well as major works by J├│zsef Borsos, Mikl├│s Barab├ís, Mih├íly Zichy, Gyula Bencz├║r, and Bertalan Sz├ękely. A separate room presents the work of the greatest renewers of 19th-century Hungarian art: P├íl Szinyei-Merse, Mih├íly Munk├ícsy and L├íszl├│ Pa├íl. The one-time ballroom of the palace displays works of Naturalist and early plein-air painting that in many instances paved the way to Modernism. Works by L├íszl├│ Medny├ínszky, G├ęza M├ęsz├Âly, Lajos De├ík-├ëbner, Simon Holl├│sy, and Istv├ín Cs├│k form the backbone of this unit.
Late Renaissance and Baroque Art: The permanent exhibition of Late Renaissance and Baroque art (1550-1800) surveys the art of 250 years, beginning with Mannerist works made in Vienna and Prague in the years around 1600. The 17th century is represented by Hungarian ecclesiastical treasures, wooden epitaphs and tomb sculptures, as well as by depictions of ├ürp├íd-dynasty saints in Hungarian attire. Next, the show evokes the culture of aristocratic residences in the Baroque age by means of a painted travelling tapestry once belonging to Ferenc R├ík├│czi II, prince of Transylvania.
Early 18th-century art is represented by works of Bohemian, Silesian and German masters, and by those of their Hungarian counterparts who achieved fame abroad. Besides monumental works, altarpieces and fresco sketches help recall the one-time completeness of Baroque ecclesiastical art. Most of these works present scenes from the legends of Hungarian royal saints.
The exhibition is introduced by the post-1945 changes, works of art created in the spirit of progressiveness but at the same time linked to pre-war antecedents and testifying to a synthesis of styles that existed side by side and influenced each other (Expressionism, Constructivism, Surrealism, etc.). Visitors can see works from the 1950s: genre paintings, depictions of work and workers, and portraits in accordance with the dictatorship's arts policy of the day, these are stylistically homogeneous and follow the themes laid down at this time. In the next rooms there are works by a new generation.
Non-figurative trends existing in parallel appear as adaptations of Abstract Expressionism as well as of (Neo-)Geometrical, Structuralist and Organic endeavours. Figurative tendencies, versions of Pop Art and Hyperrealism, also significant at the time, are on view in the last section. On the corridor opening from the last row of rooms radical Avant-Garde works can be found primarily built on the use of photography, consisting largely of action documentations, and objects.