Ormós Zsigmond was the prefect of Timis County in the second half of the 19th century. He was also a politician, a lawyer, a collector and an art historian, the founder of the Society of History and Archaeology of Banat in 1872, based in Timisoara, the Banat Museum’s former institution.
In his will, in September 1895, Ormós left to his adoptive city all his collections of archaeological items, gems and cameos, sculpture, decorative arts and especially an impressive collection of old European painting, three monographs - Raphael, Giorgione, Kupetzky- two artworks guides of Vienna and Budapest.
In Romania there are only three major collections of European painting old, i.e. 15th and 18th centuries. The best known is the collection of Samuel von Brukenthal from Sibiu, a collection set up in the 18th century. The second collection is in Bucharest, the Romania Art Museum collection called King Carol I, set up in the second half of the 19th century. And in Timisoara is the third collection, named the collection of the nobleman Ormós Zsigmund, a collection in which the Italian painting represent the central part, which reflects the collector's preference for the art of the 16th and 18th centuries, but a more smaller collection compared to others. All these collections contain paintings of the Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque and Rococo, Flemish and Dutch painting, but also German and Austrian painting.
The Ormós collection is presented in detail in two catalogs, one of which first appeared in 1874, and which included a number of 598 parts inventory, of which 153 paintings from the 15th -19th century, 36 watercolors, 48 drawings, 41miniaturi of 18th and 19th centuries, 48 drawings, 112 engravings, 49 items of porcelain, 26 metal works, 8 glassware, 9 tapestries, 200 photos, 80 books and art albums.
Italian paintings were purchased in Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Munich, Vienna, Budapest. Most paintings are Venetian and they were been attributed to Giovanni Bellini, Cima da Conegliano, Giorgione and Titian, Gregorio Lazzarini, Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, Giovanni Battista Pittoni and Domenico Maggiotto. The Naples school is also present in the collection of Ormós with two paintings made by Luca Giordano, while the Rome painting school is present in his collection whit paintings attributed to Pietro da Cortona, Lazzaro Baldi, Carlo Maratta and Pompeo Battoni. The Bologna art school is felt by famous painters such as Agostino Carracci, Guido Reni, Francesco Gessi, Marcantonio Franceschini and the Florentine school is distinguished by artists such as Andrea del Sarto, Perugino and Cosimo Ulivelli. The collection includes also copies of Raphael, Giorgione, Titian, Paolo Veronese, Tintoretto, Correggio and Guido Reni.
Zsigismond Ormós was a well-educated aristocrat who also loved traveling. Annual he traveled in Vienna, towards German-speaking areas, but especially in Italy where he went annually. The last time he visited Venice was in 1884 at the age of 71 years. He reached St. Mark's Square of Venice for the first time in 1856 where he was flashed by the beauty of this set of Gothic architecture, Renaissance, Byzantine Venetian. Venice, who knows better than anyone to submit his inexhaustible beauty, he also knew how to seduce Ormós irrevocably. Is here where Ormós decided to devote himself to the study of art history, to invest that passion and dedication that will ensure the total admiration.
Besides acquiring 15th and 18th paintings, Ormós was also a passionate writer of monographs. He is the author of three monographs, Rafael (1867), Giorgione (1872) and Jan Kupetzky (1888). National Archives of Timisoara keep a precious copy of them. Ormós was looking to purchase paintings from the 14th and 15th centuries, namely Raphael and Giorgione, because in his opinion painters at that time still knew how to draw, of course not original pieces because original works could not be found anymore on the market, but copies or work done in the manner of great artists.
A special and one of the oldest works is a copy after Leonado da Vinci's painting, Madonna of the Carnation, copy executed in 1520 on linden wood. The original is now at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, and was executed by Leonardo in 1483. In the world there are 5 copies of it and the copy of Timisoara, at the Munich exhibition in 2004, the year when the original piece was restored, has been declared to be the best of all known copies today.
Mircea Cornea, Pictura europeană din secolele XV-XX în Muzeul de Artă Timișoara; Catalog general ilustrat, Ed. Brumar, Timișoara, 2012.