As part of a three years long (2015-2018) reconstruction in the Museum of Fine Arts, the most spectacular part; the Romanesque Hall has been thoroughly restored. For a temporary period, it was accessible and the public could get acquainted with the details of renovation works and history.
Originally this ground floor part of the museum displayed the history of statuary and the different architectural styles. The architects Albert Schikedanz and Fülöp Herzog planned a Romanesque style hall to house the plaster copies of Antique, Middle Age and Renaissance statues. Unfortunately, in the second world war the building was badly damaged and the continuous flooding seriously injured the Romanesque Hall. Later it was used as a storage and was eventually closed for visitors.
Restoration and reconstruction of the Romanesque Hall
The reconstruction started with the removal of the plaster copies. They were taken to restauration and will be displayed elsewhere in the future. Then additional state-of-the art warehouse areas were established under the hall. A team of 70 conservators could start only in December 2016, when civil engineers finished works. Although the wall paintings were slightly more than 100 years old, decades of neglect, the lack of conservation, the continuous flooding brought about Middle Age conditions. The experts used techniques accordingly.
The huge space evokes a Romanesque Basilica with large pillars and columns. Originally the rich wall paintings are the works of Miksa Károly Reissman and János Glaser. Among the figures we can find representatives of both Christian iconography (i.e. Christ the good Shepard, Madonna with the Child), and Hungarian history (e.g. Saint Elisabeth, Pipo of Ozora, Saint Margaret). The vast plaster copy of the Golden Gate of Freiberg frames the entrance of the hall.
The Museum of Fine Arts partly re-opens in October 2018, from when the Romanesque Hall will await the visitors again. According to the plans the reconstruction works finish for mid-2019 and when new permanent exhibitions – integrating the collections of the Hungarian National Gallery – will open for the public.