Gallery

Magyar Nemzeti Galéria — 2: Panel Paintings and Wooden Sculptures from the Gothic Period

Part 2 of my wandering through Budapest’s Hungarian National Gallery, and this is the meaty stuff, mediæval paintings, wooden sculptures, room after room of delights. Following the somewhat standard museum structure, each room focusses on a particular theme, or a single work, in chronologic and stylistic order. Most of the works are from 1300-1500, though a couple fall outside that. Equally, most of the works come from the Hungarian Kingdom.

There’s several fine International Gothic Style pieces, in all their slinky, S-curves and elongated lines. Compared to the more angular and blocky styles immediately before and after (or at least in Northern Central Europe) there’s a definite Italian and Greco-Buddhist influence. I could easily have blogged all 340 or so images, so these are something of an arbitrary and not necessarily representative selection. Another favourite is the sculpture of Saint Gregory, about 3/4 life-size. Along with all the female Saints, lately I’m looking at representations of people from Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Near East in European mediæval art, and I feel vaguely confident in saying I expect to see these people (and Semetic and Muslim) in works in every museum I go to, so frequently in Adoration of the Magi, that I’d think there’s something wrong with a museum if they were absent.

Also there was a nice caption of one work where (like most) the artist was unknown which said, “on the lower edge of the throne … the artist has placed his (her?) monogram,” I think the first time I’ve seen the possibility of female mediæval artists acknowledged.

Two hours later, I fall out of the rooms (back the way I came) and up the very International Modern (I think ’50s communist) circular marble stairwell (with leather-wrapped bannisters) and on to the next collection.