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Royal Academy of Arts London | courtesy of Royal Academy of Arts

Londoners falling for Budapest

It seems that the exhibition ‘Treasures from Budapest’ at London’s Royal Academy of Arts is a surefire block-buster. Visited by 5,000 people in one weekend, the show proves to be so popular that it might take a European tour after conquesting the British capital.

After long summers, London usually gets back into gear in the fall, hosting a number of fashion shows, film weeks and other cultural and social events, so it’s probably the best time for a Hungarian exhibition to open in the heart of the British capital.  The exhibition dubbed ‘Treasures from Budapest: European masterpieces from Leonardo to Schiele’ is said to take London by storm.

‘Treasures from Budapest’ opened in September and will run until Dec 12, showcasing over 200 paintings, drawings and sculptures from Budapest's Fine Art Museum and the Hungarian National Gallery. The pieces on display include Rafael's famous Esterhazy Madonna, several drawings by Leonardo, as well as paintings by El Greco, Rembrandt, Rubens, Goya, Monet, Schiele, Gauguin, Picasso and Hungary's Munkácsy and Rippl-Rónai. Many are on show in the UK for the first time, and some are being loaned outside Hungary for the first time. The opening work is the monumental , 4 meter tall St Andrew Altarpiece, made in about 1512, which shows the outstanding levels of skill and sophistication in early Hungarian wood carving. Praising the exhibition, the Guardian reads “David Ekserdjian, one of the show's curators, said he and his colleagues had been like children in a sweet shop when they were selecting the works.  "What was quite amazing, having had slightly similar experiences in the past, was that when one said: 'Could I have one of those?' – and it might be a Leonardo drawing – the response was: 'Why don't you have two.' It was a very collaborative process."

The Budapest exhibition, as the Guardian put it, “is not entirely without purpose from Hungary's perspective.” The show was opened by Tibor Navracsics, Hungarian Minister of Administration and Justice, who did say indeed that as there were only four months to go until Hungary assumes the leadership of the EU, he would like other nation's to know about Hungary's rich cultural history.

Réka Alíz Francisck

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