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Before they arrived in London, these masterpieces from Budapest’s Museum of Fine Arts had been largely unseen beyond the former Iron Curtain since 1939. The Museum’s collection recounts 500 years of evolving tradition, enlivened by quirks of local flavour, the personal taste of leading collectors, and international-Hungarian cross currents that illuminate the unity of European culture before 1939. Yet this exhibition at the Royal Academy also reflects that Hungary – fought over between the Ottoman and Habsburg empires and late to embrace Christianity – has a history unlike that of any other European nation.
‘Treasures from Budapest: European Masterpieces from Leonardo to Schiele’, Royal Academy of Arts, London, to December 12