For a stroll through the most beautiful products of (international) art history, head to the Museum of Fine Arts located at Heroes' Square – the museum holds over 100 000 works of art from ancient Egypt to modern times (www.szepmuveszeti.hu). The Kunsthalle doesn't have its own collection but showcases thematic exhibitions regularly (www.mucsarnok.hu). If you're looking for Hungarian art specifically, the National Gallery up in the Buda Castle is your destination.Statues from the middle ages and the Renaissance, and paintings up to the modern day are all part of the museum's collection (www.mng.hu). Are you more interested in current trends? The Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art presents masterworks of modern and contemporary art (www.ludwigmuseum.hu). The permanent collection contains valuable pieces of American pop art (Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg, to name just two) but puts great emphasis on Hungarian art from the ‘60s to recent days. Once here, make sure to explore the museum's building, as it is kind of a contemporary work of art as well.
But what about fresh talent that hasn't made it into the museums yet? Well, for the latest pieces of art, you'll have to do a bit of gallery-hopping. The Knoll Gallery opened in 1989 as the first private gallery in Central-Eastern Europe dealing with contemporary art (www.knollgalerie.at). Erika Deák has worked as a gallerist in New York for ten years before she returned home with the mission to bring contemporary Hungarian art into the limelight. Her gallery has since grown to be one of the most important in the city (www.deakgaleria.hu), with the artists represented by her making their way into important Hungarian and international collections. The Videospace Gallery focuses on media arts and broadly interpreted electronic arts (www.videospace.c3.hu), while the Dovin Gallery showcases contemporary painters and sculptors and is a permanent guest at the Madrid ARCO, as well as the Art Lisboa art fairs.
Photography has always been particularly important in Hungarian art. Robert Capa, André Kertész, Martin Munkácsy or Brassai – do these names sound familiar? Well, they are all legendary photographers of Hungarian descent. Over the past few years, the works of all these gamechanging photographers have been showcased at Hungarian museums and Hungarian audiences are looking forward to more. Until then, you might want to see what Hungarian photographers are up to these days. Their visions captured are presented at the Mai Manó Hungarian House of Photography. The place itself is worth a look, as it's a studio-house from the end of the 19th century built for Manó Mai, Imperial and Royal Court Photographer. The building's richly decorated façade clearly served ideological purposes: Mr. Manó wanted to lend a past to the young trade of photography. Just take a look at the putti between the ground floor and the mezzanine - yup, he's holding a camera in his tiny hands… Temporary photo exhibitions are hosted by the Ludwig Museum and the Ethnographic Museum looking onto the beautiful building of the Parliament (www.neprajz.hu) as well.