The Romanian Hall closed for 70 years can be visited again.
Museum of Fine Arts has been closed for a long time: the beautiful building at Heroes’ Square was unavailable for three years. But this is over, because this imposing institution reopened on the last day of October.
The museum didn’t just have a simple renovation over the last long period: essentially all of its spaces were renewed. Professionals upgraded the outdated heating system, the exhibition halls become air-conditioned, they rearranged the permanent exhibitions, renovated a large part of the roof structure, and modern warehouses were constructed. The total cost of renovation and the moving of artworks was about 15 billion forints.
The most important element of the renovation is the renovation of the Romanian Hall, which couldn’t be visited for decades. The Romanian Hall has suffered significant damages in the World War II, and since then it has only been subject to superficial renovations and has been used as a warehouse. The 900-square-foot room recalls the interior of a medieval basilica and now it’s opened for the first time in seventy years. Over 50 restaurateurs were working on the renovation for a year, nearly 2500 square meters of wall surfaces were repaired, 1500 liters of preservative, 100 kilos of different color pigments and five and a half kilos of gold were used.
In addition, the permanent exhibitions have been also renewed: the most popular Egyptian collection has been expanded with a bunch of interactive elements: the face of mummies is recognized by a 3D facial reconstruction system and there is also a way to find out what our name looks like written with hieroglyphs. There is a new resting place in the antique collection where you can find more information about the exhibited items on iPads.
The first temporary exhibition of the museum is Leonardo and the Budapest Horse and Rider. The dossier exhibition displaying almost twenty works and mounted to commemorate the approaching 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death can be seen in the museum’s newly renovated Michelangelo Hall. The Budapest Horse and Rider is presented in the company of masterpieces by Leonardo and his contemporaries loaned by foreign collections and seen in Hungary for the first time. Leonardo’s ten drawings and the sculptures of his fellow artists inspired by the master will faithfully document the problem that remained unresolved during the Renaissance and which Leonardo strove to answer for more than four decades: the creation of a free-standing rearing horse and rider.
The Museum of Fine Arts opens in two stages: from the end of October, the refurbished ground floor spaces such as the Romanian Hall and the Leonardo Exhibition can be visited, but most of the permanent exhibitions will be reopened in mid-2019. At the same time, permanent exhibitions of the old Hungarian collection of the Hungarian National Gallery will be closed. The essence of the new concept is that, one can see the history of Hungarian and universal art together with the end of the 18th century. The post-1800 art exhibition will be moved to the Castle until the opening of the New National Gallery (scheduled for 2021).