Hungary buys painting of celebrated artist

The Hungarian state purchased the third painting of 19th century artist Mihály Munkácsy for HUF 3 billion (US$10.8 million) from a private collector, daily Magyar Hírlap writes.

The deal was announced by Minister in charge of the Prime Minister's Office Gergely Gulyás, the Fidesz MP for Debrecen Lajos Kósa and the mayor of the city, László Papp. The painting will be part of the collection of the Debrecen museum.

The painting, Golgota, is part of Munkácsy's famous "Trilogy", with the other two paintings being Christ in front of Pilate and Ecce Homo. Golgota was owned by Imre Pákh, retired businessman of Hungarian extraction who made his fortune in the United States as a trader of Eastern European art and jewelry.

He sold his business interests in 2000 and has since focused on investments and art collecting.

"This is important news for fans of Hungarian culture and of Munkácsy's art," Gulyás said. "It has made both Hungary and the city of Debrecen richer."

The Trilogy was first exhibited in Debrecen in its entirety in 1995 and at the time two of the paintings had been in foreign ownership. Not even the artist has seen the three paintings together. The treasury of the Hungarian Central Bank purchased Christ in front of Pilate in 2015 from the Canadian Art Gallery of Hamilton.

Munkácsy's (1844-1990) art is considered the pinnacle of Hungarian national painting.

Title image: Golgota by Mihály Munkácsy (1884)

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