Museum of Fine Arts acquires HUF 2.1 bln Van Dyck

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Photo: Árpád Földházi / kormany.hu

Budapestʼs Museum of Fine Arts has acquired a masterpiece by the Flemish Baroque painter Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) for HUF 2.1 billion, with support from the government. The portrait is one of the last masterworks completed by the leading English court painter before his premature death.

A closeup reproduction of a detail of the portrait (photo: Árpád Földházi / kormany.hu).

The wedding portrait of Mary Henrietta Stuart (1631–1660), eldest daughter of King Charles I of England, who would become Mary, Princess Royal, Princess of Orange and Countess of Nassau, by marriage to Prince William II, is described as the biggest acquisition the museum has made in a century.

The portrait was completed in 1641, and will take its place alongside two early van Dyck works in its Old Mastersʼ Collection: the poetic image of Saint John the Evangelist from around 1619–1620, and the Portrait of a Married Couple that Van Dyck painted at the age of nineteen, noted state news wire MTI.

At the presentation of the acquisition on Tuesday, Minister of Human Capacities Miklós Kásler said that van Dyck, a student of Peter Paul Rubens, was one of the preeminent painters of his time.

László Baán, director general of the museum, revealed that the full-length portrait, measuring 158 x 108 centimeters, was painted on the occasion of the betrothal of the nine-year-old Mary Henrietta to the 15-year-old Prince William. It was purchased at an auction of Christieʼs in London in December.

The public will be able to view the portrait as part of a chamber exhibition at the museum, together with several other works. It will later feature in an exhibition of Rubens and the Flemish Baroque opening in October.

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