Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hungarian National Gallery

We were going to meet Angela Bennett, a former Fulbrighter here at our place and then go to the Hungarian National Gallery together, then on to Fortuna for lunch. However, we had a guest leaving today and he had requested that he leave his things here until 11:50 when he was to leave for his train. This set our day back a bit. Instead of going to the museum first, we wisely went to lunch first. For a very reasonable meal on Castle Hill, you cannot miss this place. Walking past Matthias Church on Fortuna, you will see the Fortuna Passage. As you enter the passage, there is a restaurant to the left, but if you by-pass that and go in the next door, there is a stairway leading upstairs. Here you will find a cafeteria-style restaurant, though the menu can be intimidating. The food is excellent and the quantities are Hungarian huge, but the prices are cheap. They are only open from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. I had a delicious turkey in Roquefort sauce with peas and broiled potatoes, while Ron had veggie lasagna and a tomato salad all for 1,630 Huf. The portions were large; we could not finish it all. In order to enjoy the Hungarian National Gallery for me, one needs to be familiar with Hungarian artists. Entry was 1,200 for me and Ron was admitted free again due to his ‘senior’ status. We started with the special exhibit of the Hungarian Fauve artists. This is what wikipedia has to say about the Fauve movement in general: “Les Fauves (French for wild beasts) were a short-lived and loose grouping of early Modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities, and the use of deep color over the representational values retained by Impressionism. Fauvists simplified lines, made the subject of the painting easy to read, exaggerated perspectives and used brilliant but arbitrary colors. They also emphasized freshness and spontaneity over finish.” In the rest of the museum, there is little information in English other than the translated names of the pieces. With no knowledge of Hungarian artists, I could tell what I found interesting from those I did not; however, it would have been more pleasurable to have some background. The most enjoyment came from anything that was in an air-conditioned room. This gallery should take a page from the Museum of Fine Arts and have a guided tour of different galleries to expose non-Hungarians to Hungarian artists. Since we had guests arriving, I did have to rush home after 2 hours and Ron had a private lesson to give, so perhaps I did not give it my all. Some guests have spent four or more hours here. I will have to give it a go again in the future, though this was not my first visit.

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