Hungarian artists alongside greats in London show

Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:53am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Hungarian artists hang alongside some of Europe's greatest painters in a new blockbuster exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts put together at the 11th hour after the original show fell through.

"Treasures from Budapest: European Masters from Leonardo to Schiele" opens on Friday and features around 230 works from the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest and Hungarian National Gallery.

The London exhibition was scrambled together in only a few months when a show featuring treasures from the Prince of Liechtenstein's collection was canceled in December following a dispute over the export of one of the prince's paintings.

Kathleen Soriano, director of exhibitions at the Royal Academy, said the Hungarian museums offered the institution "carte blanche" to select works for the show and within three months they had made their choices.

For the Hungarian partners, the exhibition at one of Britain's top galleries was a rare opportunity to showcase one of Eastern Europe's finest collections and teach the West something about the history of Hungarian art.

"First of all it helps focus London's cultural interest on East and Central Europe, and more specifically on Budapest," said Ferenc Csak, general director of the Hungarian National Gallery.

"Secondly, the idea is to choose a selection of Eastern European art and present it alongside the international artists," he told Reuters.

And so a 1711 self-portrait of Adam Manyoki, one of Hungary's foremost painters of the 18th century, hangs in the same room as portraits by the likes of Peter Paul Rubens, Frans Hals and Joshua Reynolds.   Continued...

<p>Raphael's "Esterhazy Madonna", dated 1507-8 is seen in this handout photograph released by the Royal Academy in London September 21, 2010. The painting is part of a new blockbuster show at the Royal Academy in London called treasures From Budapest, which runs from September 25 to December 12. REUTERS/Royal Academy/courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts Budapest/Handout</p>