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A The 1956 Monument jza Ba

B Time Wheel

C  ING Building D    Ice Rink Building E Kunsthalle

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F “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier”

G   H Millenary

Monument

I Museum of Fine Arts

Walk FOUR

ca ut

PARK_Budapest_belivek_v065.indd 242-243

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Along the side of Városliget there is a wide paved area which was called Felvonulási tér (Procession Square). Celebrations, such as those on April 4th or May 1st, were held here and involved huge crowds. It was also the scene of the military parade every five years. On such occasions there was a demonstration of fighter planes flying overhead. In

243

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was designed by the same architects (Schikedanz and Herzog) as the opposite Museum of Fine Arts, but ten years earlier. They were given the commission without any tender, which caused an uproar. The ground plans show the influence of the late-Renaissance, as does the fine ornamentation of the façade, which was made from “frost-resistant pyrogranite”, a contemporary Hungarian invention. Funds ran short when it was time to decorate the pediment, the mosaic of St. Stephen, who was a patron of the arts. It was only put in place in 1941. During World War One the hall housed a military hospital. This 3,200 square-metre exhibition hall was the largest in the country when it opened in 1896 at the time of the millenary celebrations. It was built for the National Hungarian Fine Art Society. At the opening exhibition (May 2 to October 31, 1896) visitors were shown works by “everybody who counted in Hungary” – painters, sculptors, graphic artists and architects. All in all, there were 1,276 works by 267 exhibitors. The function of the place was to provide an official academic representation of art. Innovators intentionally stayed away, even after the institution was transferred to municipal ownership in 1926. During World war Two the building was severely hit and was reopened only in 1950 when it was used for totalitarian purposes. Mátyás Rákosi, the Communist dictator, was said to have personally removed a painting in 1955 when visiting one of the national fine art shows on the grounds that it emanated “bourgeois notions”. “Műcsarnok taste” meant conservatism for many decades until the early 1980s. The director of Műcsarnok is traditionally the Hungarian commissioner of the Hungarian Pavilion at the Venice Biennial. Since the early 2000s there has been a tender organized for would-be curators. In 2007 the Hungarian pavilion won the Golden Lion prize for the best national pavilion, which was a surprise for the Hungarian art scene which basically disliked the project by Andreas Fogarasi, a Vienna-based artist of Hungarian descent: slow film shots in deserted Budapest community centres. Műcsarnok hosts some events, most notably the Budapest Art Fair in mid-November when a huge tent is set up next to it to accommodate modern galleries. Aviva Fione Art Prize is a group show of Hungarian artists, the shortlisted one.

Andrássy út and Városliget

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Andrássy út and Városliget

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Walk FOUR

242

1990, April 4th (which celebrated the liberation of Hungary by the Red Army) ceased to be a holiday, to the sorrow of many small boys who were henceforth deprived of military parades. Opposite Városligeti fasor once stood a huge statue of Stalin (1951 – 1956) which was pulled down during the 1956 Revolution. From the pediment of this statue the Communist leaders waved to the crowds that marched past in tens of thousands. The pediment was also pulled down. And so was the statue of Lenin which stood near the Műcsarnok and was taken away to be repaired because of “metal fatigue” when the ancien régime was collapsing. It never returned, of course.

2011.04.20. 15:49:49

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The Celebrated Insider's Guide, upgraded many times, probably the deepest and funnieast and truest portrait of any major European city. With...

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