MUSEUMS

Ámos Imre – Anna Margit Collection

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Displaying the life-work of the artist couple Ámos Imre and Anna Margit, a museum opened during 1984 in Szentendre. The displayed artworks were donated to the Directorate of Pest County Museums by Anna Margit. The aim (and also the condition) of the donation was to commemorate Ámos Imre, who disappeared during forced-labour service in the Second World War, and also to display the works of the couple.

In 2005 the exhibition had to be closed, as the aesthetic and structural state of the building housing the museum (a middle-class dwelling-house, which got its final form in the 19th century) significantly declined during the more than 20 years that have passed since the opening. The moistening of the lower storey, which is situated under the current street level, endangered the artworks .

Although the interiors of the building were repainted in 2006, but other essential conditions for protecting the artwork (such as modern air conditioning and illumination) were still missing.

2007 was the centenary of the birth of Ámos Imre. The Ferenczy Museum of Szentendre, possessing a significant part of his bequest, organized a worthy exhibition concentrating on his works. The exhibition was supported by 20 million forints awarded by the Ministry of Education and Culture within a tender for museums maintained by local governments (“Alfa-program”).

With the opening, the public was given a modern, renovated building and also a visitor-friendly museum with state-of-the-art installations, lighting and mist-free conditions preventing the degradation of the artwork. A chronological, permanent exhibition had been created from the Ferenczy Museum’s artworks of Ámos Imre and Anna Margit, providing an expressive, parallel representation of the works of the two important painters of Hungary in the 20th century.

The future of the museum is ensured by the fact that Anna Margit was buried in its garden.


Barcsay Collection

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The Barcsay Museum was opened in 1978 in a 19th century town-house, which had been inhabited by a family of German origins for 150 years. They rented a flat of the house to the Stéger family, whose descendant, the famous tenor Stéger Xavér Ferenc was also born here.

The halls of the building, originally serving as private medical consultation-rooms, bicycle repair workshops or living-rooms, seemed quite suitable for the relatively small-sized paintings. The few larger pieces were placed on the outer walls with the active collaboration of the master.

The works of Barcsay Jenő (1900-1988) are not only significant in Szentendre but they are also an important part of the 20th century Hungarian art history. He was a great representative of Constructivism and figurative Constructivism, a creator of mosaics and wall textiles of public buildings, the author of “Művészeti Anatómia” (Artistic Anatomy), an album used in arts training and medical further education.

The exhibition halls offer a great selection of his life-work. Painted at the age of 23 as a college student, his earliest piece, “A falu bolondja” (The Town’s Fool) shows the influence of his master at the college.

One of his most famous paintings, “Munkáslány” (Worker Girl) was created in 1928. His two-figured painting, “Munkásnők” (Working Women) already carries modern Hungarian traditions. The three etchings displayed at the end of the corridor also belong to the Expressionism. Barcsay searches the hidden aspects of the landscape and the forces that shape the surface. This search for the essence is a characteristic of all of his works.

All of his figural compositions are massively formed and really constructive works, longing to be on a fresco. The simplified human figures formed on textile with their solid tranquillity and dignity or the four woman-figures on the marble mosaic are both good examples of this.

These figures, supporting one another are also the answers for the means of life in the Central-Europe  of the 20th century. Meditative, introverted human figures mirroring silent life-awareness, just as their creator.


BKV Urban Public Transport Museum

The exhibition informs visitors on the development of public transport in Budapest and other cities and also on the history of the legal predecessors of BKV Plc. Besides the contemporary documents and various tickets, the museum also awaits nostalgics and transport-interested visitors with about 60 reconstructed vehicles. The participants of this “time travel” are also allowed to get into some of the exhibited vehicles.
Besides the permanent exhibitions, temporary exhibitions, museum pedagogical trainings, a children’s corner and a museum shop also await visitors. The museum of the Budapest Transport Plc shows the documents and tableaux of important stations of urban public transport, with 45 vehicles of different type and age also on display.


The Czóbel Museum – Ilosvai Varga István Permanent Exhibition

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The museum opened in 1975 (when Czóbel Béla was still alive) in a building created in the 19th century as a Roman Catholic boys’ school, next to the Parish Church on Várdomb (Castle Hill). It is a single-storey building with interiors indented by vaults.

In 1983 two exhibition halls were added to the former six with the attachment and renovation of the house next to the museum.

An exhibition from the collection of the works of the painter Ilosvai Varga István was opened in these new halls on 26 January 2010, qualifying as the most recently opened permanent fine arts exhibition of Szentendre.


Ferenczy Károly Museum

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Beautifully renovated museum swimming in light, a real refreshment in the busy rush. My 4 year old daughter pulled me into this museum at one of our regular trips to Szentendre, getting interested by the Ferenczy sculpture of a boy in the garden. I generally enjoy visiting exhibitions and thought I would have to wait more for my daughter to…


Kovács Margit Ceramics Collection

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The ceramics artist, Kovács Margit (30 November 1902, Győr – 4 June 1977, Budapest) donated most of her life-works to the Directorate of Pest County Museums in 1972. In 1973 an exhibition presenting these works was opened in an evocative 18th century building, which was originally a salt-depot. Later it served as a post-house and as a commercial house, finally becoming the home of the lawyer Vastagh Béla, the son of the painter Vastagh György.

During the house’s transformation into a museum, a replica of Kovács Margit’s work, made in 1929, was placed under the edge of the attic next to the Ba­roque gate. In 1977 the exhibition was extended by an outdoor section of an area of 300 m2. Nine exhibition halls of different sizes and an upstairs gallery were formed with the renovation of the cellar. The museum contains eleven exhibition halls, showing more than three hundred works of the ceramist who unites distant nations’ traditions with Hungarian folklore, including terracotta and chamotte plastic arts, reliefs and figurines.

Kovács Margit started her studies in the private school of Jaschik Álmos, followed by the School of Industrial Arts. From 1926 she practised in Vienna with Hertha Bücher, a famous Austrian ceramics artist. In 1928 and 1929 she studied in Munich at the State School of Applied Arts (“Staatsschule für Angewandte Kunst”). At the beginning of the 1930s she made study-tours in Copenhagen and Sevres.

Her plastic called “Zsömleleány” (1933-1934) is a great example of the expressive manipulation of the surface, which was typical of her in the 1930s. The forming of this work is linked to the ideal of Middle Age sculpture. Besides the geometric tendency (“Kuglófmadonna”, 1938) in the 1940s, the artist created slenderer, column-like figures (“Jó pásztor”, 1942). Besides using coloured glaze, her biblical, moralizing or folk-themed works also include matte coloured clay-glazes (engobes). Her pieces of prominent Biblical themes, created in the 1930s and 1940s, are Byzantine wall pictures (“Angyali üdvözlet”, 1938; “Utolsó vacsora”, 1935) and wheel-thrown plastic arts (“Corpus”, 1948; “Bárányos király”, 1944).

She formed her functional objects, jars, bowls and vases with everlasting creativity. One of these, the battlemented “Lakodalmas kályhája” (1953) shows figurative scenes mixed with folk ornamented motives. Besides folkloric inspirations, farmer genre scenes got more emphasis in her art during the 1950s. Besides tile pictures and high reliefs ornamented with genre painting (“Almaszedés”, 1952; “Parasztla­kodalom”, 1955), she also created huge, realistic wheel-thrown figurines (“Fonó”, 1953) in the same period, complying with the requirements of the socialist realism.

In the 1960s and 1970s she created rustic, chamotte-like plastics and reliefs from rough materials, which cite the world of Greek mythology, archaic tales and folk legends (Cantata Profana from 1969).


Museum of Roman Stonework Finds

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During the conquests of the Roman Empire (in the 1st century AD), the area of Transdanubia was organized into a province called Pannonia. For the following four centuries, the Danube Bend had been a region of strategic importance. The border of the territory was the limes, where the most dangerous region was the area of the Danube Bend. The limes was defended by a dense network of camps and guard towers, with a stronghold at the area of Szentendre called Ulcisia Castra.

Ulcisia Castra had been a settlement of strong military character all along. Its camp was built on a small plateau near Bükkös Stream. The fortification, built in the first decades of the 2nd century, shaped as a trapezoid square, had an area of 205×134 m.

The craftsmen and merchants working for the army lived to the west and south of the camp at “canabæ”. During the 2nd and 3rd century, the people of Roman times buried next to the Limes Road, which led to Aquincum along the Danube. In the 4th century the cemetery was moved closer to the retaining walls, to the former location of the canabæ to protect the dead from the barbarian attacks. A small Early Christian sepulchral chapel used to stand here at the location of this Late Roman cemetery.


Open-Air Etnographic Museum

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Walking in the Ethnographic Open Air Museum, founded on 1 February 1967, is like travelling through time. The exhibition presents Hungarian folk architecture and traditional folk lifestyle with craft and folklore shows and theatrical performances on an area of 55 hectares.

Walking in the farmers’ gardens, with the houses, farm buildings, workshops and contemporary churches, visitors could feel like jumping into the buzzing streets of these old villages. It is fascinating to roam around in the world of our great-grandmothers and great-great grandfathers. Visitors can get to know the Hungarian cultural heritage with crafts that have already been forgotten or rare today, handicraft industries, traditional farmers’ dishes and holidays, traditions and also the interior decoration of houses of people living in a village or market-town.

On weekends folk industrial artists and craftsmen let visitors have an insight into their craft and they are also eager to teach those who are interested. During farmer’s holidays the traditions and atmosphere of these holidays are also recalled. At these times visitors are not only passive observers of the events but active participants as well. Such an event is, for example Easter, when visitors can try to decorate, shoe or batik an egg, create earthen vessels or candles, or taste traditional Easter food as well.

Currently 8 regions are on display in the museum. The houses and buildings representing a region are arranged according to traditional settlement patterns. Peasant households are supplemented by religious, communal and agricultural buildings which used to be integral parts of traditional villages. The dwelling houses and farm buildings represent historically formed residential house types and hovels typical of the region.


The Art Gallery of Szentendre

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The exhibition hall is situated at Fő tér, in the ground floor of a Baroque-styled commercial house, a historic building built in 1720. The interesting fact about the building is that it was formed in the 19th century by putting a common roof atop six originally separate buildings built at different times. The original arrangement of the commercial house can still be observed. The ground floor held the shops of the owners, with storage areas behind them and flats above. Goods were brought to the cellars and attic through the back-doors opening from Vastagh György utca.

In 1977, during the examination of the monument’s walls while forming the gallery, beautiful Baroque frescos were found on the ground floor.

The institution was opened on 27 January 1978, almost exactly on the 50th anniversary of the official registration of the Painter Association of Szentendre. For a very long time this gallery had been the only representative exhibition hall of the county where temporary exhibitions could be held.

“The fundamental idea was that the gallery, belonging to the Directorate of Pest County Museums, should host exhibitions of the art of Szentendre and the county, show the new items of the museum, organize the exhibitions of significant masters of the group and, if needed, receive foreign collections as well” – this is how the founders stated the mission of the museum.

This idea is still valid today, except that the exhibitions of Pest County and Szentendre had almost totally been absent from the middle of the 1980s. For some years at the end of the 1990s these artworks were transferred to the Art Mill of Szentendre, which had opened meanwhile.

Today the Art Gallery shows 4 or 5 temporary exhibitions every year. These include selections from the collection of the Ferenczy Museum or other group exhibitions and some commemorative exhibitions of significant artists of Szentendre or the county. Contemporary artists are also given a chance to exhibit. To lessen the lack of the permanent exhibition of local history (closed more than 30 years ago when the Ferenczy Museum opened) some archaeological, historical and/or ethnographic exhibitions are also held.

Besides the office of the Directorate of County Museums, the commercial house also includes working rooms, lecture halls and rooms for museum pedagogy at the recently reconstructed area upstairs.


The Serbian Ecclesiastical Art Collection

The collection, showing Serbian Ecclesiastical relics, icons, works of goldsmiths and of other industrial artists from the 16th and 19th century, is a unique part of Hungary’s art relics. The main body of the museum’s collection was formed by relics of great importance, coming from the treasury of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Buda and from Serbian churches in Hungary.

The relics of the exhibition give a clear representation of the changes in the Serbian Ecclesiastical art during the 17th and 18th century. The relics from the 17th century uniquely reflect the characteristics of the Late Byzantine art, while the icons of the 18th century show the complex, interlinked effects coming from east and west.

The effects of the so-called “Italo-Cretan” style and of the expansion of Ecclesiastical painting in Western European Baroque can be observed on many icons within the Post Byzantine form of expression. With the combinations of different trends the works of folk-styled “zográfosz” icon painters are especially popular. Painters working in the second half of the 18th and in the first half of the 19th century had already broken away from the Post Byzantine form of expression but were still guided by the Orthodox liturgy, creating their art under the influence of Western European Baroque and Classicist painting.

The institution had been operating the Library and Archives of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Buda for some time; this is why the two Turkish charters form the 16th century (donated to the Serbian monastery of Grábóc and Ráckeve) and some significant, Old Slav incunabula are also part of the exhibition.