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400 Years of French Painting in Budapest

Famous masterworks exhibited in Hungary

The Central Directorate of French Museums has organized a new event in the Museum of Fine Arts from Budapest, to celebrate the enlargement of the EU. The masterworks of dozens of famous French painters are on display until February the 27th 2005.

The exhibition wishes to capture the continuity and variety of four centuries of French painting (1600-2004), together with its contradictions and original features, its desires and utopias. This thematic selection offers a comprehensive view of the dramatic play of light and shadow in 17th-century painting; opens a panorama of the art of the Enlightenment in France; leads the viewer from the 19th century's interest in the landscape to Impressionism, and on to the art of a century that tried to reexamine human and intellectual values; finally it shows the 20th-century painting with automatism as its cornerstone and Surrealism, one of the great trends of the century that sought to represent thought without the constraints of reason.

To provide a sense of this process in its complexity, the exhibition not only presents different visions, but courses a metaphoric journey as well. This broad panorama of painting is also an attempt at a new reading of the history of French art, one that emphasizes all those conflicts, host of methods and opportunities of interpretation, which are present in the lesser-known works just as well as in the masterpieces, introducing the public to one of the latest chapters of thought concerning art.

French art has had an especially powerful influence on the artists of Central Europe. This exhibition intends to highlight the points of contact, by presenting not only the greatest masterworks, but also pieces which the public is less familiar with, from Paris-based collections like the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, the Picasso Museum and the Modern Art Collection of the National Museum, as well as other great museums elsewhere in France.

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