This little book offers a selection of the masterpieces of the Hungarian National Gallery’s collection. It resembles in a way a family photo album, with pictures of relatives and acquaintances from the present, the recent past, and earlier centuries. Whilst it cannot replace personal encounters, on each page we may discover something that is common to us all.
The attention of visitors to Budapest is naturally drawn to the grand domed palace on the Castle Hill in Buda, which is also a major emblem of the Hungarian capital. The building once functioned as Royal Palace, and suffered grave damage during the Siege of Budapest in 1945. After its reconstruction, the largest museum of Hungarian fine art, the Hungarian National Gallery was located here, opening its first exhibition in 1975. The collection comprises around a hundred thousand works, only a small proportion of which can be viewed in exhibitions. All these works, however, are invaluable; without them we would be poorer spiritually, emotionally, artistically and personally. Hungarians know these works from their school textbooks; we tell our children and friends about them, and proudly show them to guests visiting from abroad. These artworks belong to the entire nation. They tell our national story, for they portray the events, heroes, symbols, and feelings of our shared history. We see in them familiar Hungarian landscapes, historical figures, and objects.