Tucked away in the western forecourt of Buda Castle is the monumental Mátyás Fountain. The Neo-Baroque fountain shows a hunting party led by Matthias Corvinus, who was the King of Hungary. He is the bronze figure standing on top of the rocks wearing his hunting gear and holding a crossbow. A dead stag lies at his feet, which legend states was modeled after a real animal killed by poachers in 1896.
Further down the fountain, a member of the king’s hunting party is blowing a horn, while another sits with his back to the public. The fountain also depicts three hunting dogs, which were sent to the sculptor by Duke Palffy as models.
The fountain’s female figure is Szep Ilonka, a beautiful young woman who is said to have met the king while he was out on his hunting trip disguised as a commoner. Shefell in love with him, and when she discovered his true identity, realized her love would forever be impossible and died of a broken heart. Szep Ilonka is shown sitting to one side of the hunting group, longingly staring at the king. She is also shown protecting her tame fawn from the hunting party.
The figure on the other side of the fountain is Galeotto Marzio, an Italian chronicler who accompanied the king and wrote about his life.
The fountain was designed by Alajos Strobl in the Neo-Baroque style, work began on the fountain in 1899 after the approval of King Franz Joseph. It was inaugurated in 1904. The fountain is sometimes referred to as the “Trevi Fountain of Budapest” because the arrangement bears a resemblance to the Trevi layout (although on a much smaller scale).
Know Before You Go
The fountain can be found to the back of the National Gallery building, from the gallery entrance turn left and walk under the small archway.