The Hungarian Academy of Sciences was founded in 1825 and now is the most important and prestigious learned society in Hungary. It is located on a bank of the Danube and its building is a fine example of neo-Renaissance architecture.
Today the Hungarian Academy of Sciences has eleven main sections. These include: Linguistics and Literary Studies Section; Philosophy and Historical Studies Section; Mathematical Sciences Section; Agricultural Sciences Section; Medical Sciences Section; Technical Sciences Section; Chemical Sciences Section; Biological Sciences Section; Economics and Law Section; Earth Sciences Section; Physical Sciences Section.
At first glance the building looks like an opera house. It was erected in 1865, at a turning point in the architectural and urban history of Budapest as one of the first, yet most significant and mature examples of the neo-Renaissance architectural style.
The architectural style of neo-Renaissance that dominated the construction boom in Budapest since 1870s, only a decade before had been considered a controversial new tendency in Hungary. After much debate, the architect of the King of Prussia, Friedrich August Stüler, was appointed to design the edifice. Stüler employed a combination of the neo-Renaissance tendencies of Berlin and the Renaissance style of Northern Italy. He designed the main façade and the floor plan. He also played a key role in the selection of the ornaments, both architectural and sculptural, that have become a distinctive feature of the whole structure. The most striking element of the main façade is the bold architectural design containing the two-storey-tall Ceremonial Hall that combines the two storeys to form a single unit.
The history of the Academy goes back to 1825 when Count István Széchenyi offered yearly income of his estate for the purposes of a Learned Society. His example was followed by others, and soon a society was indeed founded. Its objective was to cultivate the Hungarian language and promote sciences and arts in Hungary.
The art collection, located in the exhibition rooms of the former Esterházy Gallery on the third floor of the Academy, contains portraits, landscapes, historical genre paintings and archaeological drawings. The Art Collection is managed by the Institute of Art History of the Academy.