Passport magazine: Russian lifestyle
Home Archive August 2010

About Us

From the Publisher

Contact Us

Current IssueArchive
Restaurant GuideRestaurant ReviewsInternational Food BlogsWine TastingsTravelMoscow EmbassiesAirlines to RussiaMoscow AirportsCustoms and VisasResidence permitMoscow Phone DirectoryMuseums and GalleriesWi-Fi Hot Spots in MoscowClubs!Community ListingsMoscow Downtown MapMoscow Metro MapRussian LinksInternational Links
Advertise with Us
Our Readers - a profileAdvertising RatesDistribution List
Click for Moscow, Russia Forecast
Our Partners
Knights of the Vine RUSSIA


There are masterpieces among the Masterpieces
Budapest Fine Arts Museum at the Pushkin Museum
Olga Slobodkina-von Bromssen

The Budapest Museum of Fine Arts fascinated me when I was traveling around Hungary back in 1991, so I was really pleased to take the opportunity to see its collection, From Raphael to Goya, which is on display at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts a few days ago. This collection is without doubt really great, boasting such names as Velasquez, Murillio, El Greko, Rubens, van Dyck and others.

After my visit I came to two general conclusions. First, there are masterpieces and masterpieces. The world’s masterpieces shake you as revelations, while others, although masterpieces, seem to be almost mediocre in my opinion. Secondly, worldly artists seem to have captured the nature of man, be it common or sophisticated, much better than the divine nature of saints or the supreme nature of the higher spiritual forces.

Murillio (Jacobs Dream)

As I went from one painting to the next in the Oval Hall, I immediately made mental notes about Portrait of a Young Lady, attributed to Giovanni De’Busi, A Loving Couple by Altobello Melone and Giovanni Battista Moroni’s Portrait of Jacob Foscarini. But the real tops are, from my point of view, Albrecht Durer’s Portrait of a Young Man, Albrecht Altdorfer’s Crucifixion, Joos van Cleve’s The Virgin with the Wine-Drinking Christ and Velasquez’s Peasants at a Table. Goya’s Water Carrier, which has become the symbol of this exhibition, is also very masterly and expressive.

Durer’s (1471-1528) Portrait of a Young Man (1504) displays the natural-looking face of a fair-haired young man wearing a black net over his head, which men used to use as head gear in those times. Against a red background, the head seems to be so alive, moving and inexplicable. The young man is good looking, but not entirely handsome. The net points to the fact that the sitter must have been friendly with the artist, since he agreed to take off his hat and remain with the net over his hair. Some researchers suppose he was the painter’s relative.

Albrecht Altdorfer’s (c. 1480-1538) Crucifixion (1520) struck me not only because of the master’s ability to portray people perfectly in all sorts of different angles, but because of its festive mood. Against the golden background (as in an icon), the bright colors of the figures and the general impression is a far cry from grief. It rather gives you an insight into the meaning of the Major Gospel Event, which redeemed all people from Adam to the last man on Earth through the Great Sacrifice. This painting created on a wooden board is displayed in a special climatically-controlled case.

Peter Paul Rubens (Battle of the Amazons)

Velasquez’s (1599-1660) Peasants at a Table (c. 1620), painted in the manner of Caravaggio, shows two simple men and a simple woman in a tavern. Although the whole composition is gorgeous, the woman at the centre seems to be painted best. Her pose and the facial expression, so familiar, shows her tension as she is pouring wine from a jug into a glass, as if this action is the most important thing and the meaning of her whole life. The portraits of Anthony van Dyck and Peter Paul Rubes displayed in the Column Gallery are superb.

Another canvas to which my eyes were glued in the room across from the Oval Hall was done by a less famous, but no less masterly, artist Jan Lievens (1607-1674). Head of a Young Girl (1633) amazed me not only with the elaborate image of a young girl with an unusual expression. She is either stunned by something or praying, and her exquisitely painted garments, but also with its extraordinary light.

The Budapest Museum was opened in 1906. At first it kept only works of old masters from the collection of the House of Esterházy, a noble family in the Kingdom of Hungary since the Middle Ages, and some 19th century Hungarian artists. However, the Museum has constantly enlarged its collections, which are in many departments today: Egyptian and antique art, paintings of the European Schools as well as a rich collection of graphical works—7,000 drawings and 10,000 engravings from Leonardo and Raphael up to Cezanne and Gogen. The most famous and the most frequented part of the Museum is the Old Painting Gallery.

The collection displayed at the Pushkin Museum made me feel like going back to Budapest and renewing my impressions of the Fine Arts Museum of the Hungarian capital.

 Copyright 2004-2012 +7 (495) 640 0508,,
website development – Telemark
OnLine M&A Russia Deal Book
Follow Us