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László Baán, head of Budapest’s Museum of Fine Arts and the Hungarian National Gallery, has been awarded the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, commander grade, for his “outstanding efforts in deepening cultural ties” between Hungary and Italy. The honour, awarded by Italian President Sergio Mattarella, was handed over to Baán by Italian Ambassador to Hungary, Massimo Rustico, in Budapest. In his laudation, the ambassador noted Baán’s “long-term and committed endeavours” in the past 15 years, making special mention of the Museum of Fine Arts’ international exhibitions, which facilitated displays of the works of such Italian masters as Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Titian, Parmigianino, Caravaggio and Modigliani, the museum told MTI. The ambassador also praised the “exemplary” renovation of the museum building, a Budapest landmark, saying that the Liget Budapest project, a new museum complex to be built in the City Park headed by Baán, was a “cultural initiative of extremely great importance and high quality, with European significance”.