This effort with the participation of curators of art, policy makers and representatives of culture was aimed at drawing more attention to cultural heritage and cultural continuity. It was the first colloquium on historical painting in the region held in Budapest.
A continuous program of three days was aimed at enhancing the knowledge of historical painting, to discuss the similarities and differences within the region, the position of historical painting within European art history, and its perspectives towards the 20th century. The conference was timed to coincide with the opening of the Gyula Benczúr exhibition at the Ernst Museum of Budapest. Besides prestigious Hungarian art historians selected foreign speakers were also invited. Timothy Hunter, Director and Head of the 19th Century European Art, Christie’s London; Dr. Ekkehard Mai, Deputy Director of the Wallraf- Richartz-Museum of Cologne; Prof. Dr. Maria Poprzecka, Director of the Institute of Art History of Warsaw University, President of the Polish Association of Art Historians; and Dr. Roman Prahl, Teacher at the Institute of Art History of Charles University were the foreign guest speakers of the symposium coming from the CEE region, Germany and the UK. The Hungarian speakers were Dr. Zsuzsanna Bakó, Head of the Department of 19th and 20th Century Collection, Hungarian National Gallery; Dr. Beatrix Basics, Head of the Department of Historical Picture Gallery, Hungarian National Museum; Gábor Bellák, Chief Curator, Hungarian National Gallery; Dr. Katalin Sinkó, Head of the Department of Documentation and Auxiliary Collections, Hungarian National Gallery; Dr. Júlia Szabó, Senior Member of the Research Institute of Art History, Head of the Art Collection, Hungarian Academy of Sciences; Dr. Anna Szinyei Merse, Chief Curator and Chief Counselor, Hungarian National Gallery; and Dr. Gabriella Szvoboda Dománszky, University Lecturer at the Literature and Art Institute, University of Miskolc, Faculty of Arts.