This French catalogue was published for the exhibition Nicolas II Esterházy, 1765-1833 Un prince hongrois collectionneur, presented at the musée du château de Compiègne in 2008.
The artistic life in Europe in the 18th century was marked by the constitution of important art collections who then contributed to the developments of museums during the 19th century.
The Esterhazys were interested in art since the early 17th century. The greatest collector of this prestigious family was Prince Nicolas II (1765-1833), who had a particular passion for paintings, drawings and engravings. He constituted one of the most considerable art collections of Hungary and the Austrian empire.
This collection was sold in1870 to the young Hungarian state, and thus became one the major funds of the actual Fine-Arts Museum in Budapest.
The exhibition presented at the Compiègne castle gathers more than 200 works,offering an extremely varied panorama of the European artistic production from the 16th to the early 19th century, and acting as a testimony for the strong tastes that distinguished the Esterhazys from their contemporaries. It present notably a considerable set of Italian (Veronese, Bellotto), French (Bourdon, Le Lorrain), Spanish (Ribera) and German (Carnach) paintings. Drawings, engravings, art objects, but also books and scores complete the portrait of an enlightened prince.
This presentation offers a unique occasion to discover the masterpieces of the Fine-Arts Museum of Budapest and the Esterhazy Foundation in Eisenstadt, whose wealth remain little known in France.