Tuesday, August 9, 2011


In Erd (pronounced “Ayrd” and you have to smile to say it!), we had one full day before the musicians and dancers arrived. Monday we would debrief, and then many participants would begin flying home on Tuesday.

OM Hungary treated us to a day in Budapest, taking us to the Hungarian National Gallery to discover Hungary’s leading visual artist, Mihály Munkácsy. (Some of us are a little shame-faced that we are only just now discovering this master. Better late than never.)

“The superbly gifted Hungarian painter, Mihály Munkácsy had a remarkable life. From a joiner apprentice living among dire circumstances, he became a celebrated and highly successful painter, whose pictures were sought after by some of the wealthiest are collectors in Europe and the United States. To this day, Munkácsy has remained the best-known representative of Hungarian painting. Although he spent most of his creative life in Paris, during the late 19th C. the world at large came to identify the word “Hungarian” with the names of Munkácsy and Franz Liszt. It is a testimony to his successes that most of his works are currently held tin collections outside Hungary, in the various museums and private collections of Europe and the United States.”—An Irregular Biography, Zsuzsanna Bakó, Munkácsy in the World

I can’t believe I didn’t learn of this guy in Paris either—sheesh!

Arriving about lunchtime, we climbed or rode up the cable car to Castle Hill, and entered the fray: Pest was crawling with tourists. Ugh. Well, it is summer…

After the obligatory photos from the heights with their fantastic views of the Danube and Buda, we headed for the museum, until Jacob veered off at a food booth, Melissa followed him, and Marcia headed to the artisan’s booth, and, well, let’s just say it was another hour before we actually made it into the museum.

I spent some time talking with a lady who had some stunning lithographs for sale; she was the business manager for a family of artists. She saw my sketchbook in hand, and asked to see it. I shared what we had just done in Baja; she asked for contact info so she could go down and see our work, and maybe participate next year! I left her with an artist trading card, and she beamed, handing me a postcard of the city in return.

Onto the gallery…hunger pangs only slightly mollified by the funnel bread we sampled out in the courtyard. But then we entered ‘the zone’ again, as we entered the darkened exhibit room where Munkácsy’s works were displayed: a special exhibit of The Trilogy of Christ--work considered the pinnacle of his career. It was staggering to see his preliminary studies alone. You can get a glimpse of the scale here

Look him up, art fans! What a guy!


  1. I have to say I was astounded at the level of detail and life in those pictures. I could have spent hours just pondering those three, larger than life paintings. You could see the stories in the eyes of those people.

  2. Amazing work. Amazing artist. I'm glad we got the op to discover him. And in 'his' country!