The Szépmüvészeti Múzeum in Budapest is currently preparing a collection catalogue of its Dutch and Flemish landscape paintings from the period 1600-1800. For the description of the circa 200 paintings the museum has called upon the assistance and expertise of the RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History.
Dutch and Flemish paintings in the Szépmüvészeti Múzeum
The Hungarian government opened the Szépmüvészeti Múzeum (Museum of Fine Arts) in Budapest in 1906. The museum holds the national collection of European fine art, which consists of artefacts from classical antiquity as well as sculpture, paintings, drawings and prints from 1250 till now. The Old Master Painting Department is responsible for European artworks from various national schools. This collection was formed by combining holdings from the National Picture Gallery, a share of the European paintings from the National Museum, and several aristocratic and ecclesiastical collections. Directly after the museum’s foundation, the collection of Old Master Paintings was enlarged substantially through purchases, donations and bequests, resulting in a total of 3000 objects today. The seventeenth-century paintings by Dutch and Flemish masters are a highlight of the collection, both in number and in terms of quality.
As part of the Szépmüvészeti Múzeum’s long-term cataloguing project, the Department of Old Master Paintings is preparing a collection catalogue of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Dutch and Flemish landscape paintings in the collection. The project comprises about 200 landscapes, city views and marine paintings by major artists, including Jacob van Ruisdael, Aelbert Cuyp and Jan van Goyen. Detailed descriptions of works by less well-known masters, such as Abraham Begeyn and Gerrit Battem, will also be provided. The project is led by Dr Ildikó Ember, former Head of the Old Master Painting Department. Over the next two years, the RKD will be closely involved in the preparations for this publication; Ellis Dullaart, curator Dutch and Flemish Old Master Painting, will be supporting the research and advising on texts.
The catalogue of landscape paintings will be the third volume of the series Old Masters’ Gallery Catalogues. Dutch and Flemish Paintings 1600-1800. As such, the collaboration between the RKD and the Szépmüvészeti Múzeum is a continuation of the RKD’s involvement in the production of the first two volumes in the collection catalogue series. The first volume, which deals with the portraits, was written by former director of the RKD Rudi Ekkart, while former senior curator Dutch and Flemish Old Master Painting Fred G. Meijer advised on the second part covering the still lifes. The RKD is delighted that the long-standing cooperation with the Szépmüvészeti Múzeum will be continued in this way, and that the expertise of the RKD will be employed to support fellow institutions worldwide.