Interest in Eastern Europe increased after the fall of communism in 1989, and the creators of this website responded to this interest, offering text and images that highlight the development of fine arts in Hungary in an attempt to raise awareness of Hungary’s artistic legacy.
The site's design is certainly dated, but it remains easy to use. The navigation at the center of the page (in the design of an artist’s palate) and the navigation bar at the top of the page allow users to move around easily. Browse by “Artist Index” or “Alphabetical Index,” search the website, or view links to related museums’ websites. You can also take a Guided Tour. A second alphabetical navigator bar is located along the left side of the page, allowing the viewer to easily browse through all available artists, cataloged by name, date, and genre. A miscellaneous category makes available works (such as altarpieces, architectural sculpture, and illuminations) that cannot be associated with a particular artist. The site also provides the option of an English-language or a Magyar version.
A handy feature of this site is the Guided Tours, designed to help users “discover the territory of Hungarian fine arts.” Each of the five tours is intended to introduce visitors to different periods, trends, and styles, as well as to significant artists and their main works. “Centuries of Painting and Sculpture in Hungary” offers several options and is organized by time periods from the 11th century to the 20th. “Hungarian Landscape Painting in the 19th-20th Century” introduces visitors to this genre’s great painters and their masterpieces. “Historical Painting in the 19th Century” focuses on the growing nationalist movement, especially following the defeat of the 1848-49 Revolution. “High Altar by Master M S at Selmecbànya” concentrates on one of the most famous altarpieces in Hungary from the late Gothic period and digitally reconstructs the various sections of the altar (now housed in several museums). And finally there is a special exhibit of “Landscapes by Thomas Ender (1793-1875)” which makes available for the first time the landscape watercolors from the Waldstein Collection of Austrian landscape painter Thomas Ender (1793-1875). Each tour can serve as an introduction to the various themes in Hungarian painting and to painting in general.
All of the images on this site may be downloaded for personal or educational purposes. In addition, all textual information accompanying the images (object and file data, detailed comments) are included in the comment block of the JPEG files. Clicking on the “I” (for information) icon can also make available additional comments and information about each image. These resources make Fine Arts in Hungary valuable for teachers both as sources of images for lessons and as primary sources for student research.
Two other features of this site are helpful. A list of websites offers links related to fine arts. Some, like Galleria degli Uffizi and Musei Vaticani, are homepages of famous museums. Others, like Carol Jackson’s Fine Art Site, Mark Harden’s Artchive, and WebMuseum, are virtual art collections containing images of some of the most famous paintings in the world. They are excellent sources for quality digital images that can be used for educational purposes. In addition, the “Postcard” feature allows users to email preselected, topically arranged pictures (landscapes, historical paintings, genre paintings, still-life, and sculptures). Each category may be browsed and can serve as a mini-overview of Hungarian fine arts.
Overall, this versatile website succeeds in introducing the fine arts in Hungary to a wider audience, providing virtual access to great works of art.