Rátkay Endre Múzeum

If a picture is worth a thousand words, are a thousand pictures worth a million words?

As a long time denizen of Budapest, there are certain events and pilgrimages that one must make to add another coveted notch in their belt.  One of the more obscure and rewarding treks is to the Rátkay-Átlók Galéria in Pesterzsébet.  Located in the old Árpad Mozi which later became the Red Palace Night Club,the museum serves as both hallowed ground as well as a den of iniquity housing Rátkay Endre’s monumental quasi-religious historical works.

Ratkáy (1922-2011), who is relatively unknown in central Budapest art circles, spent his entire life in the working class neighbourho0d of Pesterzsébet in Budapest’s XXth district.  Rátkay studied under under the esteemed Barcsay Jenő and was a close childhood friend of artists Csernus Tíbor and Gaál Imre.  One of his heroes was Csontvary; this is evident in Ratkáy’s work which combines elements of religious iconography with a touch of new age fantasy.  Part Cimabue, George Grosz, Mati Klarwein, and early Ashley Bickerton, Ratkáy’s allegorical alt(e)rpieces present the viewer with visual chronicles and spiritual cycles.

The main galleries contain ten large works, many of which are composed of smaller panels: Gilgames, Ré, Oziris, Apocryph, Demonologia, Biominimalis, Sir Parcival, Don Juan, Doctor Faustus, Calendarium.  Calendarium is a fascinating autobiographical pictograph which also contains a parallel depiction of Hungary’s devolution during the artist’s lifetime spanning the latter chunk of the twentieth century.

Rátkay-Átlók Galéria 1204 Budapest, Klapka utca 48.

Directions from Budapest:  Take the HÉV from Közvágo Híd (OBI) to Pesterzsébet stop.


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