To be or not to be (in Budapest)? The question could be asked if ever Shakespeare’s monument should be in Budapest to represent a cultural aspect of the city. The monument can be found by walking along the Danube bank on the Pest side. Why was it erected in the city? Does he have a bloodline with the Magyars still living in Budapest today? Or was it just arbitrarily erected due to Shakespearean influence to Magyars?
Here’s the full English transcription/description below the Shakespeare’s monument. So if you ever find yourself wandering around the Danube bank and find a bowing statue , at least you already have an idea why.
Engraved on the Monument:
“The original of this statue, which depicts the Bard as an actor bowing t his audience, was created in 1960 by renowned Hungarian-born Australian sculptor, Andor Meszaros (Budapest, 1900; Melbourne 1972), for the Australian City of Ballarat.
This thriving city, founded during the Gold Rush in the 1850s, is a cultural centre in Victoria that takes pride in its history and rich heritage. In addition to the statue by Andor Meszaros, Ballarat has other Hungarian links to boast. Writer György Sarközy has a novel of his set here, and the First Gold Medal claimed by the Hungarian team during the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games were won here by kayakers János Urbányi and Laszló Fábián.
On visiting Australia in 1998, Dr. Károly Nagy, a retired attorney and an admirer of Shakespeare, envisaged that a replica be made of the statue and be erected in Budapest. On returning to Hungary he founded the Shakespeare Statue Committee and began to raise funds for the project. His plans went into fruition when in 2002, with the approval of the city of Ballarat, the moulding was organised on site under the guidance of Andor Meszaros’ son, Michael, who is also a sculptor. The casting was done at the Foundry of Hungarian sculpter, Gábor Mihály.
Fundraising was organised in Australia, Hungary and England; contributions came from friends, relatives and associations; two-thirds of the costs were borne by Andor Meszaros’ widow, Elizabeth and their two sons, Michael and Daniel.
May the statue serve as a spiritual link among the discerning public in Australia, Hungary, Great Britain and visitors to Budapest from countries around the world.
Erected on the 23rd of April 2003, the 439th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and the 387th anniversary of his death.”