Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nagy Istvan

Today on the way to the language school, we stopped to visit a museum dedicated to Nagy Istvan (and Hungarians do last-name-first, first-name-last), a painter who lived from 1873-1937, settling in Baja in 1933. The museum is located in a triangle of two major arteries in Baja, with a bust of Nagy staring out defiantly from that triangle at all the vulgarity of modern traffic.

But one enters from behind, into a neo-classical building tucked in a little cloistered park, with a garden to the left, complete with bench for contemplating big thoughts. Click click click go the cameras. (I can't believe I don't have pictures of this place, unless that was the day my memory card was full...)

A quintessential European café, for which we unfortunately had no time, cuddled next door. (I’m sure big thoughts happen there too, and maybe I can get back there another time.)

Since we were the only patrons of the museum that day, we spent some time chatting with the two women attending to things there—one of whom spoke some English. Great opportunity to learn and connect.

The whole museum is dedicated to this one artist, although other artists are exhibited here. And, to our great surprise, for a tiny fee, we could take as many photos as we liked. The sound of cameras clicking soon followed the exchange of a pittance of money. Lighting was not exactly conducive, but the museum director scurried around n typical Hungarian helpfulness, closing curtains so we could get better photos.

It was fun to see how quickly the artists began integrating techniques and ideas from this visit into their artword, producing culturally relevant and accessible artwork. Certainly this is an affirming act of respect for the Bajans, who are quite proud of this native son, and a good way for artists to broaden their palettes and minds.

Don’t I have the best job in the world?!

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