He studied history, library, and archives at Eötvös Loránd University. He received his doctorate in 1981, his candidacy in 1989, and in 2014 he became a doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA). From 1979 he worked at the Institute of Philosophy of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA), then he was an associate professor at the Department of Cultural History of ELTE-BTK, later he became a university professor, and also taught at the József Attila University. From 1992 to 1993 he was a visiting professor at the Indiana University, from 1998 he was the scientific director of the Hungarian Academy in Rome, and then from 2003 to 2007, he was its director. After his return, he worked as the Deputy Director of the Institute of History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and from 2010 to 2016 he was the Director of the Hungarian National Museum. He is currently a professor at the Institute of History of the Eötvös Loránd University, and since 2018 he has been the head of the Cultural History Program of the Doctoral School of History.
His main field of research is the history of the modern Hungarian cultural and church politics, as well as the history of Hungarian-Italian relations.
At the conference, he is one of the invited speakers on the topic of Museum is born.