The Royal Academy’s Treasures from Budapest: European Masterpieces from Leonardo to Schiele opens on Saturday and I went along for a sneak preview.
The stunning exhibition is composed of work from one of the finest art collections in Central Europe, The Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, along with loans from the Hungarian National Gallery. Many of the pieces were collected by the EsterhÃ¡zy family, who’s various generations developed the collected works.
The tremendous breath of work includes religious painting, mythological work, landscapes and contemporary masterpieces. Among the 200 works are paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Claude Monet, Egon Schiele, Rembrandt and Pablo Picasso, covering treasures from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries.
Standing in front of a wall which sees Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Bridge at Argenteuil, and Monet’s Three Fishing Boats next to Hungarian artist MihÃ¡ly MunkÃ¡csy’s Dusty Road II, curator Professor David Ekserdijan said:
“The relationships between artists most of us are very familiar with, such as Monet, Renoir, [Eduoard] Manet and [Camille] Pissarro, and the Hungarian artists will prove very fascinating for everybody.”
This statement sums the exhibition up to a tee. It’s a captivating mix of work by the Old Masters, latter-day European greats, and Hungarian artists who have incorporated the styles of these artists into their own work. For example, you only need to glance at MunkÃ¡csy’s Dusty Road II to see the J.M.W. Turner influences.
Highlights of the exhibition include the striking Peter Paul Rubens’ Mucius Scaevola before Lars Porsena, Schiele’s erotic Two Women Embracing, and detailed chalk sketches by Leonardo da Vinci. Arguably the greatest work, however, is Raphael’s EsterhÃ¡zy Madonna, a stunning example of Renaissance painting at its finest.
Treasures from Budapest: European Masterpieces from Leonardo to Schiele opens on Saturday until 12 Dec.