The Hungarian National Gallery, in Budapest, Hungary, is a fantastic and diverse museum experience that focuses strongly on the arts that are central to that area. Guests should plan to spend anywhere between an hour and three hours to see the permanent and temporary exhibitions that are on display at the gallery.

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Established in 1957, the gallery and art museum are located inside the historical Buda Castle. It houses Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, and Medieval art styles and pieces that are specific to the region, many with historical significance. The gallery has been involved in some controversy relative to the other arts museum in the area, the Museum of Fine Arts, when a merger was advised.

The two museums are still considered separate entities, and the controversy caused the museum gallery director to resign in 2011. A new director has yet to be named. Plans are underway to extend the gallery to outside the grounds around the castle to feature more sculptural works of art.

Permanent Exhibits

? Church Adornments - This exhibit features the largest collection of panel paintings, wooden sculptures, and winged altars in the country of Hungary. The majority of the artifacts located in this exhibition originate between 1300 and 1500, with specific attention paid to the chronology and the stylistic development of the various styles of adornments throughout that time period. Each are labeled with their place of origin and how they were used there. The exhibit itself was created to look like a church interior.

? Gothic Altarpieces - This exhibition stretches from the ground floor to the first floor and takes up the former palace throne room and the two rooms that were connected to it. It is comprised of fifteen different winged altarpieces that belonged to just a few churches (Leibic, Nagyszalok, and Lipotoszentandras). There is also an annunciation altarpiece from Kisszeben as well as an altarpiece from Saint Anne (one of the few remaining artifacts from medieval Hungary). Other sculptures and panel paintings are also on display here as well as in the vestibule. Make sure to see the visitation panel from Slovakia, created by Marten Swarcz.

? Stone Carvings - From both the medieval and the renaissance period, this exhibition displays stone carvings that date all the way back to the 11th century. There are fragments of early tombs, architectural carvings, fragments of sculptures, and friezes from the pre-Romanian period. The exhibit is frequently added to.

? Late Baroque and Renaissance Art - This exhibit seeks to take a look at the artwork that was created in the late renaissance and baroque art periods in Central Europe and Hungary between the years 1550 and 1800. It starts out with the mannerist works that were created in Prague and Vienna around 1600 and branches out into ecclesiastical treasures, rococo genre pieces, and fresco sketches.

There are many other permanent exhibits, as well as frequently touring temporary exhibitions with a variety of different themes.

Opening hours for the gallery are Tuesdays through Sundays from 10am to 6pm (the last admitted entrance is allowed at 5pm). It is closed on Mondays. The exhibition halls are open starting at 10am as well, and close at 5:30pm. Tickets are required for admittance to the gallery.

Educational Opportunities

The gallery focuses very strongly on providing educational learning experiences for the youngest visitors. Their website has a comprehensive resource directory focusing on three specific age groups - 7 to 10, 11 to 14, and 15 to 18. The museum may not be appropriate for guests younger than 7 (although they do try to provide a few family friendly preschool activities and programs as well).

The gallery also focuses on providing educational opportunities for students with visual and hearing impairments, as well as those that may have either learning or physical disabilities. Guided tours of the museum are available and are conducted by the educational museum staff. Reservations for field trips, especially those that will make use of a tour guide, are required in advance, and can be made by contacting the museum directly.

Printable guides are also available on the website so that teachers can help connect a field trip to the gallery with a current curriculum plan.

Dining and Shopping

The gallery offers a cafe on site, offering guests a variety of both cold and warm drinks, sandwiches, snacks, and cakes. It is located on the ground floor, just next to the main entrance and is open when the gallery is. There is also outdoor seating when the weather is nice. For visitors looking for souvenirs, the gallery also offers a gift shop with a selection of apparel, jewelry, and other merchandise.

Hungarian National Gallery, 1014 Budapest, Szent Gyorgy ter 2, Hungary, Phone: +362-04-39-73-25

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