First day in Budapest

Budapest Travel Blog

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SZÉPMŰVÉSZETI MÚZEUM - Museum of Fine Arts. This is definitely worth another visit!

It’s my first morning in Budapest and I have plenty of free time for some exploring… The only thing that isn’t perfect is the weather, but I’m hoping that the rain will stop.  I heard that there are some great exhibits at the SZÉPMŰVÉSZETI MÚZEUM (museum of fine art).  Some artists that I really like are Picasso, Kandinsky and Klee and the exhibit is titled Picasso, Kandinsky and Klee – I definitely wanted to see this.  So after a fantastic breakfast at the Corvinus Hotel, I asked at the hotel’s reception about getting to the museum and they directed me to the subway (Budapest’s subway is the oldest underground transport system in Europe).

MILLENNIUM MONUMENT
  I found that the museum is located in the “City Park” (Városliget) area of Budapest with a number of interesting places to see, so I headed on my way. 

 

The station closest to the Hotel is called Deák Ferenc tér and the museum is at a station called Hősök Tere and is seven stops away. There were a surprisingly large number of American tourists doing exactly the same thing as I was.  The subway in Budapest is very easy to use – there are vending machines by the station entrances where you can buy tickets – which you must validate when entering the station.  There weren’t any physical barriers to entering any of the stations I was in, but there are lots of subway employees checking that people have validated tickets – both in the stations and on the trains.

Jak Chapel - Vaydahunyad Castle.
  The line I was on (M1) was amazingly clean.  I didn’t see any graffiti or trash thrown anywhere.

 

The metro station at Hősök Tere (Heroes’ Square) is right across the street from the Fine Arts Museum, Palace of Art and the Millennium Monument.  It was pouring rain, but for once I’d actually remembered to bring my umbrella with me.  Crossing the street was an adventure!  Not quite as bad as Naples, but I found you shouldn’t expect drivers to brake for you!  The museum hadn’t opened yet when I got there, so I waited with a large group of people by the door until the museum employees opened.

PALACE OF ARTS - BUDAPEST

 

The museum of fine arts is in an enormous building and you could explore it and its exhibits for days.  Since it was raining and I like museums (a lot!), I decided to see as much as I could. Aside from all of the exhibits, the building itself is worth seeing.  I started with an exhibition from the museum’s permanent collection about the Egyptian Middle Kingdom.  It was interesting, with statues, alabaster cosmetics vessels, statuettes, coffins, mummies (sacred animals like crocodiles, cats and birds).   

 

After the Egyptian exhibit I headed to another permanent exhibit dealing with ancient Mediterranean cultures and then to another with works of art in the period around 1900.

Autumn colors in Budapest
  The paintings and sculptures in the exhibit cover what were new trends in art at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.  One painting that I particularly liked is called “One World” by Maximilian Lenz.  A man, solemnly dressed as if for business, with a suit, etc., appears to be surveying or examining some land unaware of earth elementals or nymphs dancing around him.  It’s an interesting combination of the modern world of progress and destruction being in the same place as Mother Nature.  This painter is part of a 19th century movement called Symbolism in which art had a high degree of sensitivity and mysticism. 

 

The next exhibit and highlight of the visit was the Picasso, Kandinsy and Klee – Masterpieces from the Swiss Rupf Collection.

PALACE OF ARTS - Across Heroes' Square from the Museum of Fine Arts
This collection, put together by Hermann Rupf and his wife is considered one of the most important private collections of modern classic arts.  Rupf was born in Berne in 1880.  He and his wife Margit began this collection in 1907.  Their first acquisitions were works of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso which are considered the most important works of early cubism.  This exhibition is really impressive, with works by Juan Gris, Braque, Picasso, Kandinsky, Klee and others.  One work that I liked here is just a simple drawing by Picasso called “Portrait of D.H. Kahnweiler II” (1957).  It’s a simple drawing but I found it eloquent in getting across this man’s mood and expression.  I looked up D.H. Kahnweiler and found that he was an art gallery owner in Paris and was a friend of Hermann Rupf.  He opened his first gallery in 1907 and was very interested in and supportive of modernist art which at the time was meeting fierce hostility from established opinion.
VAJDAHUNYAD CASTLE
  Eventually he became a dealer for the Cubists and is considered “the man who held the Cubists together.”  I spent quite a while looking at these paintings before heading to the museums surprisingly small cafeteria for a coffee.  Of all the paintings I most enjoyed Kandinsky’s works which remind me of a more polished and less sexually obsessed version of Miró.

 

The final exhibition that I saw at the museum of fine art is “A Magical Eccentric – The Art of Friedensreich Hundertwasser.”  Friedensreich Hundertwasser was born in Vienna in 1928 as Friedrich Stowasser.  He was a graphic artist, architect and painter.  The exhibit includes paintings, graphic art and tapestries plus some of the artists writing which I found entertaining.

Hundertwasser Catalogue Cover
The painting and graphic arts are rich in bold colors and I found them very pleasant to look at.  The adjective “eccentric” in the exhibition name is appropriate!  I’ve done a little reading on him and he was indeed an eccentric character.  He had interesting views on nature and harmony in the environment and said that mould growing on walls isn’t a process to eliminate but rather the rightful need of nature to be present in our habitats.  I copied his writing about postage stamps and will copy it here. One of the quotes of this artist is the following:  “The straight line is Godless.”  He said that straight lines and rulers should be eliminated.  All of the works on display are hung below eye level in honor of the artist’s wishes and are specially hung with wedges between the works and the walls so that they would not lie flat against the walls.  He also used a very precise system of numbering and identification on his plates, typically including his signature (written by hand and applied in the form of a Japanese inkan seal, the date and place where he signed the work, his catalogue number, the title (or the work’s “name” as he preferred to call it, the number of copies made, and additional comments about the media and procedures used.  Some of the paintings have interesting names, like “Little Palace of Illness,” “Relations of a Spider,” “Rain of Blood is Falling into the Garden,” and “Flooded Sleep.
Monument to George Washington, Budapest in Városliget (City Park)

 

After quite a few hours in the museum I walked across Heroes’ Square around the Millennium monument, to the Palace of Art and then through Városliget (City Park).  The fall colors are really beautiful here and I took a lot of pictures, practicing with different settings to see how they’d turn out.  I spent a lot of time around Vajdahunyad Castle which is interesting – half is Gothic Style and the other half is Renaissance.  There is an interesting Chapel there called Jak Chapel with a beautiful façade.  I was also surprised to see a monument to George Washington in city park.

Nice window in the renaissance section of the Vajdahunyad Castle.

 

It got pretty late and was getting very dark, so I ended up having a light dinner close to the hotel.  Then I went to check out a club but was tired and ended up going to sleep way too early!  I think that nightlife in Budapest is very promising...

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SZÉPMŰVÉSZETI MÚZEUM - Museum …
SZÉPMŰVÉSZETI MÚZEUM - Museum…
MILLENNIUM MONUMENT
MILLENNIUM MONUMENT
Jak Chapel - Vaydahunyad Castle.
Jak Chapel - Vaydahunyad Castle.
PALACE OF ARTS - BUDAPEST
PALACE OF ARTS - BUDAPEST
Autumn colors in Budapest
Autumn colors in Budapest
PALACE OF ARTS - Across Heroes Sq…
PALACE OF ARTS - Across Heroes' S…
VAJDAHUNYAD CASTLE
VAJDAHUNYAD CASTLE
Hundertwasser Catalogue Cover
Hundertwasser Catalogue Cover
Monument to George Washington, Bud…
Monument to George Washington, Bu…
Nice window in the renaissance sec…
Nice window in the renaissance se…
Vaydahunyad Castle
Vaydahunyad Castle
Autumn leaves
Autumn leaves
Széchenyi Baths Façade
Széchenyi Baths Façade
Detail from the façade of Jak Cha…
Detail from the façade of Jak Ch…
Vaydahunyad Castle
Vaydahunyad Castle
Vaydahunyad Castle
Vaydahunyad Castle
Statue by Vaydahunyad Castle
Statue by Vaydahunyad Castle
Painting by Hundertwasser.
Painting by Hundertwasser.
One World by Lenz
"One World" by Lenz
D.H. Kahnweiler
D.H. Kahnweiler
Painting by Kandinsky
Painting by Kandinsky
SZÉPMŰVÉSZETI MÚZEUM
Museum o…
SZÉPMŰVÉSZETI MÚZEUM Museum …
Thats me!
That's me!
Budapest
photo by: Chokk