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Court rejects owner’s appeal against listing of ‘Golgotha’

The Budapest Court of Public Administration and Labor has rejected an appeal lodged against the listing of "Golgotha," a monumental painting by the Hungarian master Mihály Munkácsy, lodged by the owner of the painting, Hungarian-American collector Imre Pákh, Hungarian news agency MTI reported today.

The court said the painting is an irreplaceable and outstanding element of Hungaryʼs cultural heritage. Furthermore, it said the plaintiff was unable to provide evidence specifically supporting the obligation to return the painting. 

The ruling is non-appealable but the parties can turn to the Curia, Hungaryʼs supreme court, for a review of the decision.

Earlier this year, Hungaryʼs authority for the protection of national heritage declared "Golgotha" a listed work of art, preventing its removal from the country without a permit and giving the state the preemptive right for its purchase, in a non-appealable decision.

Pákh ordered the painting, currently on loan to the Déri Museum in Debrecen, to be veiled from public view last year after failing to reach an agreement on its sale to the state of Hungary.

The painting belongs to Munkácsyʼs famous "Christ Trilogy," all three of which now hang in the Déri Museum. The state has owned "Ecce Homo!" for years and acquired "Christ Before Pilate" in 2015.