Budapest (MTI) – Plans are afoot to include Mihaly Munkacsy’s state-owned painting Christ before Pilate on a list of protected artworks.
Artwork on loan to Hungary safe, says heritage authority
The move by the prime minister’s office in conjunction with the National Bank of Hungary comes on the heels of another initiative to include Munkacsy’s privately owned Golgotha on the protected list which prevents a work from being taken out of the country. Further, any change in the paintings’ ownership or location must be reported to the state, which has pre-emption rights.
“By initiating another listing procedure, the government is confirming its dedication to keeping outstanding works of our national painting in Hungarian sphere of interest,” a statement by the cabinet office issued on Monday said.
The Hungarian state bought Christ before Pilate from Canada’s Hamilton Gallery earlier this year.
Last week the cabinet office instructed the Forster Centre, Hungary’s cultural heritage authority, to begin the procedure to list Golgotha, which is part of the trilogy to which Christ before Pilate also belongs.
Golgotha is on loan in Hungary but the owner, Hungarian-born American collector Imre Pakh, said that he would have it removed from the Deri Museum in Debrecen because talks on the possible sale of the work to the state have fallen through. On June 9, the cabinet office initiated a procedure to prevent Golgotha from being permanently removed from the country.
The Forster Centre issued a statement on Monday stating that artworks borrowed from abroad to be displayed in Hungary are under “strict protection” ensured by relevant laws. Under the same rules, paintings brought to Hungary on condition that the object should in the future be returned to the country of origin cannot be placed on a national list of protected artwork, the statement said.
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