Fotografia Mirosław Żak

Golden Age of Hungarian Painting

2016 is the Year of Hungarian Culture in Poland, the Year of Polish-Hungarian Solidarity and the 60th Anniversary of the Budapest Uprising. On this occasion, the NMK is showcasing works by the most prominent painters of the Carpathian Basin. The title ‘Golden Age’ is a period  when Hungarian painting reached its heights and became an organic part of European culture.

Hungary is often perceived through the prism of stereotypes. And yes, in this exhibition we can also find a portrait of Franz Liszt, who promoted Hungarian (in fact Roma) melodies  in the salons of Europe; we can see the Magyar Puszta and an old hussar in an inn. We can discover Hungarian Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Neoclassicism. We will find amazing stories of people and artists. Take Mihály Munkácsy, who – like in a folk tale, but in fact through his hard work – started with a carpenter’s workshop and ended up in Parisian salons. Or László Mednyányszky, an aristocrat who painted outcasts and shared their fate – the tragedy of his life resulted from homosexuality, a trait which in those days was stigmatized. And finally – Tivadar Kosztka, a pharmacist, who one day had a vision which prompted him to paint using his home-made paints on the basis of kaolin and fabric dyes. His heirs wanted to sell his monumental paintings to be used as covers. At the last moment, a Budapest architect saw them and managed to buy them. Today Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka is considered to be one of the greatest Hungarian painters.

Below you will find a selection of works by Hungarian artists.

Photo by Mirosław Żak - NMK Photography Studio
Photo by Mirosław Żak – NMK Photography Studio

Lake Balaton was discovered by the artists of the 19th century. The exhibition will also  show us how this landscape inspired the artists of the interwar period.


József Rippl Rónai was closely associated with Paris. This painting comes from his ‘corn kernels period’ (as he himself called the technique of applying small patches of paint on canvas).


Vilmos Aby-Novák’s favourite theme was the intense and flashy world of fairs and circus.

Photo by Mirosław Żak - NMK Photography Studio
Photo by Mirosław Żak – NMK Photography Studio

Works of Erzsébet Korb (the first painting on the left) exudes an incredible power. How far could the artist have come, had she not died at the age of 26?

wegry_tlumaczka_100x100 Dr Noémi Petneki – a translator, a Hungarian living in Krakow, a blood and flesh philologist and classical music lover.


Below you will find a few photos from works on preparing the exhibition:

Main photo: Mirosław Żak – NMK Photography Studio

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