The exhibition’s concept is based on important themes characteristic for the art of the given period (portrait, landscape, history, religion etc.). Displayed are also the artworks housed in the National Gallery Prague that have never been shown at exhibitions, although they represent major examples of contemporary art, such as those by Caspar David Friedrich, Lovis Corinth, Max Klinger, Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, Anton Romak and many others.
The exhibition also shows the artworks from the so-called French Collection, which have always been displayed separately, e.g. those by Eugène Delacroix, Camille Corot, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh or Pablo Picasso and André Derain. Visitors can see also sculptures by Václav Levý, Josef Václav Myslbek, Josef Mařatka, Ladislav Šaloun, František Bílek, Stanislav Sucharda, Michael Powolny, Constantin Meunier and Auguste Rodin. Owing to this concept, Czech or Central European art will be presented in the international context for the first time.
The resulting selection shows more than 450 artworks by 150 artists in three major chapters: Man, The World and Ideas. The exhibition presents painting as well as sculpture. Free sculpture is accompanied by paintings. Public sculpture forms a separate section paraphrasing three basic themes in the sections of Architecture, Monument and Tombstone with respect to a selected approach and availability of the exhibits.
Therefore, the artists of different art opinions and very different generations can be seen at the exhibition side by side, such as Josef Mánes next to Pablo Picasso, Josef Navrátil next to Bohumil Kubišta or Antonio Canova next to Franz von Stuck. The exhibition’s thematic division made it possible to subdivide it into many small subgroups of artworks representing independent sections ranging from self-portraits, family and official portraits to paintings of cafés, lively city boulevards, spring landscapes, mountain lakes or artworks with religious or mythological themes.