Judith out and about: Budapest

10 May

End of the road for Judith – this time.

Budapest in June is lovely.  The Danube is lovely and the restored buildings are lovely. The people on the streets are lovely – even if I can’t read any of the signs.  I mean, who would not be happy to arrive at a hotel and find this:

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I was hoping to see Giovanni della Robbia’s terra cotta statuette of Judith in the Museum of Fine Arts.  But there were two problems:  (1) the Museum of Fine Arts was closed for major renovations and select items have been moved to the Hungarian National Gallery in Buda Castle – which i knew in advance – but (2) no one could confirm if the della Robbia was one of those items. The only way to confirm the location of the statuette was to go to the museum and look for it.  Oh my, if I had to go to Buda Castle then I would do it.

If I had to stop in a street side cafe with a view of Matthias Church, then I would do it. And if I had to eat goulash and drink Hungarian wine, then I would do it.  All for the sake of art.

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Maybe that explains the deteriorating quality of my photography.

Keeping with the theme of surprise, the visit to the Hungarian National Gallery did not disappoint.  The first surprise:  Giovanni della Robbia’s terra cotta statuette of Judith was not on display.  But the second surprise:  there were two Judith‘s I have never seen before!

The first new Judith is statue by László Dunaiszky (1822-1904), that does appear in the museum catalog as “Judit es Holofernes” – if you would like to view a better image.  Judith is rather expressionless but Holofernes looks somewhat astonished.

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László Dunaiszky (1822-1904), “Judith and Holofernes,” 1862, marble, 67 cm, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest, Hungary


The second surprise appears to be the work of Franz Xaver Karl Palko (1724-1767).  I say “appears to be” because my photograph of the description is a complete blur.  However, this is the same composition as the work discussed in Judith wins a prize – except I thought the artwork was in Moscow.  That’s only 2000 km away, 2 days on the train or a 2.5 hour flight.

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Franz Xaver Karl Palko (1724-1767), “Judith with the Head of Holofernes,” 1745, oil on canvas, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest, Hungary


And there is one other surprise for the day that I did not even recognize until much later. I purchased a teeshirt with traditional Hungarian embroidery to wear on the return flight home, only to find upon my return it had been handmade by … Judith!!

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Home again!!


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Posted by on May 10, 2016 in Exploring



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