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Hungary buys Munkácsy masterpiece for $5.7 mln

The Hungarian state paid $5.7 mln for Mihály Munkácsyʼs "Christ Before Pilate" (pictured) to Canadaʼs Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Hamilton Spectator said. The Hungarian government announced the purchase of the painting, realized with funding from the National Bank of Hungaryʼs (MNB) program to buy national art treasures, in February, but declined to reveal the purchase price. 

The monumental painting was reunited with the other two components of Munkácsyʼs famous "Christ Trilogy" in the Déri Museum in Debrecen in eastern Hungary. "Ecce Homo!" (1896), the first piece of the Trilogy, is also owned by the Hungarian state, and "Golgotha" (1884) is in the ownership of Hungarian-born U.S. art collector Imre Pakh.

Art Gallery of Hamilton CEO Shelley Falconer said funds from the sale would be used to add to the galleryʼs collection and not to assist with operating costs. "Canadian Art Museum Directorsʼ Association rules state that proceeds can only be used for acquisitions and for the collection and we will be adhering to that," the CEO told the Hamilton Spectator.