William Shakespeare is an iconic figure that can be easily recognized anywhere, even in Budapest. In a plaza on the Danubian riverside, he is depicted in his typical Elizabethan garb, as an actor taking a bow on stage.
According to the inscription on the sculpture’s platform, the original piece was created in 1960 by a renowned Hungarian-born Australian sculptor, Andor Mészáros for the city of Ballarat, Victoria. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s not the only connection that this city has to Hungary, as the first Hungarian gold medalists during the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games were won for canoeing there by János Urányi and László Fábián.
Following his trip to Australia in 1998, a Hungarian attorney and Shakespeare fan Dr. Károly Nagy thought of installing a Shakespeare statue in Budapest and started raising funds for the project. In 2002, the city of Ballarat gave him approval to make a replica of the statue, and the casting was done in Hungary.
On April 23 next year, the 439th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth (and the 387th anniversary of his death), the statue was unveiled beside Vigadó Square, a monument to the relations between Hungary and Australia.