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Halls of the Museum of Fine Arts
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The building of the Museum of Fine Arts represents special value: the original architectural concept, primarily manifest in the large halls of the museum, reflects the historical approach that prevailed in the late nineteenth century, yet lends it a uniqueness among other European museum buildings from the same era.
Visitors were able to first enter the renovated Romanesque Hall in April 2018, while all of the museum’s large, representative halls have been open to the public since 1 June 2022. Before now, this had last been possible in the second half of the 1920s.
Approaching the building from Heroes’ Square, visitors are greeted by the facade of an antique temple with Corinthian columns and with a wide staircase leading up to the main entrance. Going through the colonnaded entrance hall, you arrive at the spacious reception area and from there straight into the ’heart of the building’, the Renaissance Hall. Reminiscent of monumental Renaissance palaces, this hall can be reached from another direction too: through the building’s Doric and Ionic wings, which exhibit the eponymous, classical orders of ancient Greek architecture. Currently, the temporary exhibitions are housed in these two wings. This ground plan of the building suggests that antiquity and the Renaissance are directly connected and you can reach the latter from the former along a straight path. At right angles to this main axis, to the left of the Renaissance Hall, is the great hall of Medieval architecture, the Romanesque Hall, and the impressive Baroque Hall to the right. Walking along this axis from left to right, you can walk through the great periods of Christian art, chronologically, from the Middle Ages to the Baroque.
At first, the halls not only guided visitors through the history of European architecture but also that of its sculpture since these monumental spaces provided the venue for the museum’s sculpture collection and plaster replicas of sculptural masterpieces. Later the importance of the plaster casts dwindled – with the original works increasingly coming to the fore – thus some of the plaster replicas were moved for storage in the Romanesque Hall, which was closed to visitors. The plaster cast collection has now found its new home: it has been exhibited in the reconstructed building of the Star Fortress in Komárom since 2020.
The historicising grand halls of the Museum of Fine Arts, now displaying original works of art, can again fulfil their original mission: to acquaint visitors with the universal approach and the views professed about art in the late nineteenth century – the spirit of the times that conceived the very idea of the museum.