Architecture in Prague, Art

Prague Museum of Decorative Arts – a must see spot in Prague

One of the Prague neo-renaissance jewels, Prague Museum of Decorative Arts dedicated to applied art and design is a place you should not miss when in Prague. Designed by architect Josef Schulz (who also designed Rudolfinum, a concert hall across the street from museum), it houses extensive collections of ceramics, porcelain, textile & period fashion, toys, jewelry, and more, it is a dream of every art lover. The museum has been extensively reconstructed and re-opened in November 2017.

Originally, a building dates back to 1897 inspired by similar institution in London, the South Kensington Museum (today, Victoria and Albert Museum). The Museum soon became an important cultural and educational center in the Bohemian Kingdom, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and important figures of the art/business/political life were appointed to the Museum Board  including a progressive feminist Continue reading “Prague Museum of Decorative Arts – a must see spot in Prague”

Art, Prague Literary Tour

A Prague lover’s reading list

These are just few books that a Prague lover may want to grab before heading to Prague or after getting back from your Prague literarary tour. We will be adding books but will be happy if you let us know of any treasures that you feel other Prague lovers should know of. Thank you! 

Franz Kafka (1883 – 1924)

It is impossible to talk about 20th century literature in Prague without mentioning Franz Kafka. For those who would like to penetrate the mysterious world of this Prague born Jewish German-language writer, their reading list should include:

  • The Metamorphosis
  • The Trial
  • The Castle
  • America

 

Only a few of Kafka’s works were published during his lifetime but the publisher, Max Brod, ignored Kafka’s wish to have the manuscripts destroyed, and published most of his works.

E.E. Kisch (1885 – 1948)

Czech writer and journalist, who wrote in German. Nicknamed the “Raging Reporter from Prague”, Kisch is considered one of the founders of the Czech investigative and reportage journalism. He wrote books about his numerous trips, such as:

  • Zaren, Popen, Bolschewiken (On the Soviet Union) (1926)
  • Paradies Amerika (On the United States) (1929)
  • Secret China (1933)

Franz Werfel (1890 – 1945)

Czech-Jewish novelist and playwright born in Prague, later moved to Vienna where he met and fell in love with Alma Mahler, widow of Gustav Mahler, the former lover of the painter Oskar Kokoschka, and the wife of the architect Walter Gropius. By the end of the nineteen-twenties, Werfel had become one of the most important and established writers in German and Austrian literature. Werfel and Alma left Austria after the German occupation in 1938 and finally settled in the United States where Werfel died in 1945. Continue reading “A Prague lover’s reading list”

Art

Vysehrad Cemetery in Prague

It may be compared to Paris cemetery Père Lachaise. The Vysehrad or Slavin cemetery in Prague where most notable figures of Czech nation are buried. Writers, actors, artists, poets and many others. Place of a magic and poetic atmosphere, just peace and art.

Vysehrad national burial ground was established in the second half of 19th century in place of an old Vysehrad cemetery dating back to 1660. It is one of the most significant Prague cemeteries. One of the notable Czech architects, Antonin Wiehl designed the neo-rennaisance arcades, which have been built according to the Italian style around the border of the cemetery. The cross vault of arcades decorated with paintings is carried by Tuscan pillars of sandstone. Walking through the Vysehrad cemetery is like walking in an open-air art gallery. Most of the tombs hold a piece of art work.

Vysehrad hill is linked to the origin of Prague when the Slavic Princess Libuse had a vision. She apparently stood on a cliff overlooking the Vltava, pointed to a hill across the river, and proclaimed: “I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars.” A castle was built at a place where a man was building the threshold (which translates práh in Czech) of a house. “And because even the great noblemen must bow low before a threshold, you shall give it the name Praha”. About two hundred years later, the city of Prague became the seat of the Premyslid dynasty. You will find statue of Princess Libuse and her husband, Prince Premysl as well as of Prince Wenceslas, later St. Wenceslas, a patron of the Czech nation who founded the first basilique (at the place of St. Vitus Cathedral) at the Prague Castle. Vysehrad is not exactly in Prague center but it should not be missed by art lovers.

 

Art

Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV – National Gallery Exhibition

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If you are a fan of medieval history and the exceptional figure of these times, Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, you should not skip the National Gallery exhibition at the Waldstein Riding School in Prague. The exhibition presents Charles IV as a unique figure of Europe’s political and cultural history, an ambitious sovereign and visionary. Charles IV was famous for using arts and architecture to promote the imperial majesty, being one of the most generous patrons of arts in Europe. It is Charles IV to whom Prague may thank for being one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Charles IV has been known as the Father of the Homeland and many Czechs think of him as sort of icon, and idealized monarch. He was born on 14th May 1316 into a Royal family and was first named Václav, in honor of his illustrious ancestors on his mother’s side. It was only during his seven-year stay in France that he ‘picked up’ by confirmation the name of his uncle, the French King, Charles the Fair.

At the age of seven, Charles IV found himself deposited among his relatives at the French court, where he had his own private tutors. All at once, an extensive education, as well as to notable political and personal contacts were available to him. His friends included for example, the future Pope Clement VI. Last but not least, Charles brought back with him from Paris his first beloved wife, Blanche of Valois.

His all-round preparation for life continued in Luxembourg, on the family earldom, where the adolescent heir to the throne was raised by his authoritarian great uncle Baldwin of Luxembourg, Archbishop of Trier. Charles continued his studies of diplomacy and statecraft, added German language to French, Latin and Italian, as well as becoming fully conversant with courtly etiquette and knightly virtues. After many years, Charles eventually returned to Bohemia, in the autumn of 1333. Standing in for the absenting Head of State he served as Margrave of Moravia to administer the Czech Kingdom. In 1344 Charles achieved the elevation of the Prague bishopric to an Archbishopric, thus freeing the Czech State from under the Archbishop of Mainz. This was followed by his important election to the Head of the Holy Roman Empire in 1346. The Czech royal coronation took place in September 1347. Uplifting the Czech Přemyslid dynasty traditions, the monarch had commissioned the St Wenceslas Crown, which along with the scepter and orb become emblematic of the universal power of the King of Bohemia. Charles chose Prague as his capital residence, making the Czech State the main power base of the Luxembourgs. In April 1355, Charles attained his Imperial coronation in Rome, formally instating him as the secular head of Christendom. Founding of the University in Prague in 1348, was the next step by which the monarch strengthened Prague’s significance.

Today, Charles IV is regarded as a capable instigator-founder and developer, whose architectural efforts are evident in many places. Great care and considerable sums were expended by him on the construction of churches and monasteries. Charles IV died at the age of 62, on 29th November 1378. Even his lavish funeral, accompanied by impressive ceremonials, gave witness to the political power of one of Europe’s most noteworthy rulers.

The exhibition will be open until September 25, 2016 and will move then to the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nurnberg.

 

Art

Titian in Prague

Tiziano,_flora,_dettaglioPrague added another attraction for the visitors, an exhibition of Italian Renaissance painter Tiziano Vecelli (Titian, 1485-1576). The exhibition includes Tiziano’s paintings from the Prague Castle Gallery as well as his Flora from the Uffizzi Gallery in Florence.

The exhibition called Tiziano – Vanitas, the Poet of the Image and Shade of Beauty takes place in the Imperial Stable at the Prague Castle.
The exhibition also includes a number of paintings loaned from international galleries and private collections. These are primarily women’s portraits and Titian’s portraits from his later works.

The exhibition is open until March 20, 2016, everyday from 10am – 6pm.
The entrance fee is 180 CZK/6 EUR/$7
Don’t miss the unique opportunity.

Art, Cafes and Restaurants in Prague, Discover Czech Republic

Strahov Library & Prague Views

Strahov Library
Strahov Library

Visiting the Strahov Monastery and then walking down the Petrin Hill on a sunny Sunday (or any other day of the week) is kind of an experience from a different world, even for me as the “Praguer”.  Surprisingly the Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary seems quite small compared to the size of the monastery.  You can enter the church only during the holly mass (daily at 6pm and Sunday at 10 am and 6pm). But most of you will probably head to the Strahov Library and Strahov Gallery. There are two separate box offices for each of them. The Strahov Library is, together with the Klementinum baroque library one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.  If you would like to see the Theological and Philosophical halls at Strahov, you will have to book your time slot well in advance, otherwise you will see just the Cabinet of Curiosities and connecting passages, however  even that is impressive.

The next stop is Strahov Gallery. It is housed in the monastery itself. There are beautiful Baroque sculptures and Gothic and baroque paintings on the first floor.  Continue reading “Strahov Library & Prague Views”

Art, Cafes and Restaurants in Prague

Art, Design & Coffee in Prague

The art and design lovers should stop by in Platnerska street in Prague. There are three good reasons for that. The Artel Concept Store at Platnerska 7, Prague Cabinet at Platnerska 13 and a Italian coffee and food for Italian bistro La Bottega di Finestra at Platnerska 11 (BTW la Bottega serves superb brakfasts). You will be just few steps from the Old Town Square, so the place is worth a visit.

Architecture, Art, Prague hidden gems

Kampa Museum Prague

You may not notice this place when exploring Kampa island and its romantic corners. When coming from Charles Bridge, head accross the park and keep on the left side. You will soon see the giant babies, an art work by famous and according to some controverrsial artist, David Cerny. You are almost there – the Kampa Museum, a former mill owned by Sova family in 15th century – thus the original name, Sova Mill or Sovovy mlyny in Czech.

The building was rescued by a Czech-American art collector, Mrs. Meda Mladek who supported Czech artists during the comunism era together with her husband, Jan V. Mladek, one of the top officers of the International Monetary Fund after WWII. Meda Mladek returned to then Czechoslovakia after 1989 and turned the mill building into a muzeum and art gallery featuring an exquisite art collection of Frantisek Kupka, a co-founder of abstract art and cubism. The gallery belongs to leading Central European art centers regularly hosting avant-gard exhibitions attracting visitors and modern art enthusiasts from all over the world.

The place is magic, romantic, offering beautiful sights of Prague. Enjoy coffee or glass of wine in the Museum cafe, definitely visit the Museum shop and do not forget to stop by at the Praying Monk statue – Mr. Harmony.

Get the feel with a Prague Travel Concierge Kampa Video.