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Heroes, Kings, Saints: Pictures & Memories of Hungarian History opens at National Gallery
Guests listen as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (C) speaks at the opening ceremony of an exhibition entitled 'Heroes, Kings, Saints - Pictures and Memories of Hungarian History' at the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest, Hungary. The exhibition was organised to celebrate Hungary's new constitution coming into effect on 01 January 2011. EPA/LAJOS SOOS.


BUDAPEST.- This display presents Hungarian history through pictures and at the same time is closely linked to the reorganization of the 19th century permanent collection of the Hungarian National Gallery.

Built primarily on historical paintings and portraits, the exhibition parades the finest works of Hungarian artistry through the lines of the National Anthem and Summons.

Historicism was the great trend in 19th century painting; it was seen as a genre capable of expressing with particular sensitivity the major turning points of Hungarian history, the battles of 1848-49, the years of repression and the transformation that attended the Compromise. The exhibition includes works that the general public has rarely had the opportunity of viewing in their original form, for instance the 15-metre Conquest by Mihály Munkácsy, or Gyula Benczúr’s cycle on Mátyás Hunyadi. These works of fine art are complemented by documents and mementoes connected with the statehood of Hungary.

Orbán stressed in his speech that over this period Hungary was guided and aided by two principles: Christianity and sovereign statehood. “These ideals proved to be so strong that even ten centuries could not corrode them,” he said, noting that the exhibition – open until 26 August – commemorates those historic figures who were willing to sacrifice their strength, talent and life for the state, independence and Christianity

The Hungarian National Gallery is the largest public collection documenting and presenting the rise and development of the fine arts in Hungary. It has operated as an independent institution since 1957. The HNG moved to its present location, the former Royal Palace of Buda, in 1975.





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January 9, 2012

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