A significant part of Hungary’s cultural heritage is preserved in rural museums. However, the special pieces in these collections are often more accessible to the local public, as we don’t have to travel hundreds of kilometres to find a single piece of art. The significance of the Hungarian Genius travelling exhibition lies precisely in the fact that it is intended to present the geniuses of the countryside in a representative way. The exhibition embodies the Hungarian idea, the Hungarian feeling, national heroes, and local traditions. The selection includes the most characteristic and significant artifacts of a given village or museum, representing the institution, the village, its history, and culture.
The exhibition was launched in April 2022 in Kecskemét, and will open in Debrecen on 17th August at 3 pm at the Déri Museum, after Gyula.
The exhibition is innovative not only in its creation but also in its visual style. The varied selection of objects, while retaining their independence, seeks to present them in unity with each other.
The Déri Museum adds two special elements to the travelling exhibition.
Danuta’s golden pair
In 2016, archaeologists from the Déri Museum discovered a special find during a pre-excavation of the M35 motorway track. They unearthed the remains of a 10-12-year-old child from the 7th century AD. The little girl, who was once living in the Avarkor period and whom the archaeologists named Danuta (after the kayaker Danuta Kozak, who had won a gold medal at the Olympics just the day before), was buried with a golden parka on her forehead. Her gold-plated headpiece has been treasured by the Déri Museum ever since.
This work by Bertalan Székely is one of the best-known works of Hungarian historical paintings of the 19th century. It was a gift of Frigyes Déri to the museum. The painting recalls an event from the period of the Turkish invasion.
(In 1566 Suleiman Sultan turned against Szigetvár. Miklós Zrínyi, the Croatian king, was the captain of the castle and defended the fortress with 2,500 soldiers. On 21st August, the old town of Szigetvár fell, and on 26th August the castle was attacked, and in the following days during several assaults. Eventually, the fate of the defenders was decided by an explosion on 5th September, after which the defenders were forced into the inner castle with their women and children. Zrínyi broke out of the castle with a handful of his remaining fighters, and in a short but heroic fight, they all lost their lives. The picture depicts the moment before they volunteered to die.)
The painting is on display in the museum’s Picture Gallery.
The next stops of the Hungarian Genius travelling exhibition will be Győr, Szombathely, Szekszárd, and Eger, and the selection will finally arrive in Budapest at the end of 2023.