The city of Budapest is home to a number of plazas holding the title of 'Heroes Square', indicative of a local history steeped in conflict, courage and sacrifice. The most famous one is undoubtedly the square that sits in front of the Museum of Fine Arts and provides the proper introduction to what lies within, setting a tone of gravitas and awe that the museum itself does not fail to deliver on. Make sure you catch these ten highlights when you visit.
We recommend you take a moment before you enter the museum to enjoy what we consider to be the first highlight of the museum. Heroes Square is a pantheon of heroic statues with the archangel Gabriel depicted at its centre.
One of the highlights of the Old Masters collection is the Esterhazy Madonna by Raphael. The painting is an early example of the painter's desire to represent Christianity and a must for anyone who wishes to get a sense of the artistic roots for his later works.
A work depicting a miraculous interaction between the Saint and Christ in the form of the Holy Spirit. The artist injects a sense of magical realism with his brush in order to create a blurred line between the earthly realm and the spiritual one, a feeling of heightened reality.
If you like your artistic revelations delivered to you in 3D, take a journey through the museum's wildly varied collection of sculptures. You'll find artefacts representing cultures and artistic movements that run the gamut from classical and Renaissance styles to Gothic, Austrian baroque and a host of bronze miniatures that come from medieval Germany, Netherlands and France. Among the masterworks, you'll even find a potential Da Vinci piece. The Horse and Rider is a depiction of such, rendered in beeswax that has been attributed to the Italian master though its actual history is shrouded in mystery.
This statuette depicts Christ bearing his cross and is often attributed to Guglielmo della Porta. It is rendered in the style of Renaissance nude, typical of classical antiquity, and many believe the work draws direct inspiration from Michelangelo's Risen Christ.
The Egyptian artefacts found in the museum have made their way there, piece by piece, over the better part of a century. However, that is not to say that the collection itself is anything short of comprehensive. Expect to find a complete and thoughtful interactive experience that walks visitors through three main aspects of Egyptian life; daily life, the gods, and death as seen through the eyes of these ancient and enigmatic people. As you walk through the exhibition, you will likely experience a growing sense of the degree to which they felt the line between this world and the next was not as definitive and distinct as we consider it to be now in the modern era. Prime examples of this are the grave goods, items that were stored in tombs and designed to aid the dead in their journey through the underworld and into a rebirth among the gods.
The Egyptian exhibition has also become a firm favourite with children, thanks to its many interactive elements and learning-orientated activities. Offer your little ones a chance to make music on an ancient Egyptian instrument known as a sistrum and learn about protective amulets through the use of interactive tools. The discovery room takes young and old through one of the oldest writing systems on record. Overall, it's a fun and fascinating way to get children interested in history.
Standing at the forefront of the Old Hungarian collection, Bogdány's style mastered the art of arranging and depicting the mundane as if it were heroic.
When you enter the Romanesque hall, take a moment to consider the fact that it has been used as little more than a storage space since it suffered damage in the Second World War. Murals, pillars, gryphons and dragons abound. The Renaissance Hall fulfils the promise of its title with over 85 frescos and an impressive collection of Venetian Wellheads.