The Visitation. Detail of the work-day side of an altar wing from the former high altarpiece of the Church of Saint Catherine in Selmecbánya (today Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia)
Old Hungarian Collection
The ground-floor exhibition of wooden sculptures and panel paintings from the late Middle Ages continues on the first floor, in the former throne-room of the palace and in two rooms connected to it. Here, a total of fifteen largely complete winged altarpieces are on display, along with numerous component parts of such altarpieces.
The majority of the works of art on show here are from the early 16th century. In terms of the number of complete altarpieces and their artistic quality, this assemblage is one of the most important of its kind in Europe. A distinctive feature of the exhibition is that it displays, next to one another, altarpieces that originally belonged to the same churches. The parish churches at Leibic (today Ľubica, Slovakia), Nagyszalók (today Veľký Slavkov, Slovakia) and Liptószentandrás (today Liptovský Ondrej, Slovakia) are each the source of two altarpieces now held by the Hungarian National Gallery. From the parish church at Kisszeben (today Sabinov, Slovakia) we have not only an Annunciation altarpiece and an altarpiece showing Saint Anne, but also the high altarpiece. This last work was among the largest winged altarpieces in the medieval Hungarian Kingdom. At present, only its sculptures and some of its panel paintings are on view in the exhibition; this artwork will be displayed in its entirety when its restoration has been completed. Among the exhibits in the vestibule of the former throne-room visitors can see one of the most important pieces in the collection: the Visitation panel, by the master MS (Marten Swarcz), from the former altarpiece at Selmecbánya (today Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia).