see + do
Hungarian National Gallery (Magyar Nemzeti Galéria), Budapest
Buda, District I
Tel: 36 1 356 0049
Concierge.com's insider take:
This art collection is the raison d'être for several sections of the Royal Palace located at the top of Castle Hill. Beginning with domestic sculptures and carvings from the 11th century, the collection swerves out through Prague and Viennese Mannerist works, late-18th-century German masters, and 19th-century expatriate Hungarian Impressionists before returning to domestic Abstract Expressionism, Structuralism, and Postmodernism. Despite the forays abroad, encompassing works by foreign artists who lived and painted in Hungary, this truly is a national gallery, dedicated to the greatest works by Magyar artists from the past ten centuries. (Among them, Mihály Munkácsy and László Paál, two 19th-century Romantic realists who lived and worked in Paris). There's also a gorgeous collection of illustrated altars from the Gothic era; don't miss The Altar of the Virgin Mary From the Church of St. Andrew from 1483, a gilt triptych with ornate carved figures of the Madonna and Child surrounded by icons and inlays. In high season, it's best to visit before lunch—castle visitors crowd in during the afternoon to escape the sun.