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Sources quote different dates for the building of the mansion – painter Mihály Zichy’s place of birth –, which is listed as a protected monument: the 1820s, 1830s and the second half of the 19th century. In all likelihood, it was constructed in several stages: the initial building was extended with a studio in 1880. Its park is a nature conservation area.
The house was home to Mihály Zichy’s parents and sibling too. After the painter returned from Russia, his four children and wife would spend the summers here, while they moved to the capital in the winters. At the time, the village of Zala and the estate had a bustling life. They had quarters built for the servants next to the mansion house, as well as a stable and a wagon-shed. The family was served by domestic and external staff.
The museum was founded in 1927, on the 100th anniversary of the painter’s birth, by his granddaughter, Mária Alexandra Zichy and her husband, István Csicsery-Rónay. The painter László Bényi played an instrumental role in salvaging the material preserved in the museum and in organising the exhibitions. The first exhibition was opened in 1979, and the new, rearranged show debuted in 1992, inaugurated by Árpád Göncz, Hungary’s president at the time, and László Bényi.
All the furniture is authentic as it was preserved by the Zichy family. The exhibited material can be seen in eight rooms and comprises Mihály Zichy’s paintings and drawings, various personal objects and documents as well as his collection (Georgian room, weapons, shaman attires). The 4,000-item family library mainly consists of volumes in German and Latin.
Mihály Zichy (Zala, 1827 – Saint Petersburg, 1906) began painting in the Pest private school of Jakab Marastoni, a master of Venetian origin. He later moved to Vienna, where he pursued legal studies and became a student of a renowned Viennese painter, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller. In 1847, at the tender age of twenty, he went to Russia, where, upon the recommendation of his Viennese master, he was employed in Saint Petersburg as the art teacher for the daughter of the tsar’s younger brother, Grand Duke Michael Aleksandrovich. He received commissions from the court from 1853. He became a member of the Russian Academy of Arts in 1858 and was bestowed with the title of court artist in 1859. Although he spent most of his time far from his homeland, he regularly returned to Hungary to pay short visits to his village. He lived in Paris from 1874 to 1881. He painted his much-debated work titled The Victory of the Genius of Destruction, for the 1878 Paris exposition.
After Paris and before his return to Saint Petersburg, he spent some time in Vienna and Venice, and later travelled to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi (then Tiflis) and the Caucasian Mountains.
He moved back to Saint Petersburg in 1883, where he lived and worked until his death. He made a series of illustrations for literary works here, as well as documenting important events during the tsar’s reign, including his travels, in drawings. He died in Saint Petersburg in February 1906.
“Whichever drawing of his we look at, we can discover the sign of a remarkably objective man with an acute eye and magical technique yet able to be an outside observer.” Aladár Bálint, Nyugat [West], issue 24, 1913
Mihály Zichy Memorial House
Branch of the Museum of Fine Arts
Address: 8660 Zala, Zichy Mihály u. 20.
01.05-31.10.: Wednesday-Sunday 09-17
01.11-30.04.: Wednesday-Sunday 09-17
Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
|Full price ticket||HUF 700|
|50% discount ticket||HUF 350|
|Ticket for groups (student)||HUF 300|
|Ticket for groups (adult)||HUF 600|
|Guides tour (registration required*)||500 Ft/occasion|
*By phone (+36 84 320 607) one week before the driving date.
Address: 8660 Zala, Zichy Mihály utca 20.
Phone: +36 84 320-607
Guided tours are available on request. Call us at +36 84 320-607.