Founding the National Gallery
The history of the National Gallery began to unfold in February 1796, when the Society of Patriotic Friends of the Arts was founded in Prague. Those taking part in its creation were Kolovrat, the Šternberks and Nostics as members of the patriotically-oriented Czech nobility, and enlightened townspeople. The organization then established two important institutions: the Academy of Arts, and the first publicly accessible gallery in Prague.
Today, the National Gallery takes care of a number of permanent exhibits and organizes numerous exhibitions and cultural events.
Where to find Prague’s main exhibition?
- In Sternberg Palace in Hradčany you will find a collection of European art from antiquity through the Baroque. The works on display include those by Tintoretto, Ribera, El Greco, Rubens, van Dyck and Rembrandt, as well as one of the most famous paintings in the world, The Feast of the Rosary by Albrecht Dürer.
- In St. Agnes Convent in Old Town you can see an exhibition of medieval and early Renaissance art from the Czech Republic and Central Europe. On display in the authentic environment of the first monastery of the Poor Clares in Bohemia, probably founded in 1231 by St. Agnes Czech, are rare panel paintings by Master Theodoric or a painting of the Madonna and Child by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
- Baroque art is on display inside the Schwarzenberg Palace on Castle Square, with paintings by Hans von Aachen, Karel Škréta, Petr Brandl and Jan Kupecký. You can also see a graphical cabinet with a unique collection of the work of Václav Hollar and an exhibit of Baroque crafts from the collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts.
- At the Fairgrounds Palace, in its time the first functionalist building in Prague, the famous Slav Epic by Art Nouveau painter Alfons Mucha was introduced to the public for the first time in 1928. It is still on display here even now; in addition you can also see the paintings, sculptures and applied art of Czech and foreign artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. You will discover here the works of French Impressionists, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Edvard Munch, Egon Schiele and Joan Miró.
- The art of Asia and the ancient Mediterranean is on display on Old Town Square in Kinský Palace, the most beautiful rococo building in Prague.
... and two exhibitions outside Prague
The National Gallery has also prepared two exhibitions outside Prague. You can see a collection of Baroque art at the château in Žďár nad Sázavou, and Czech art of the 19th century is on display in Karviná at Fryštát Château.
Temporary exhibitions are organized by the National Gallery not only as an accompanying event of permanent exhibitions, but also at Waldstein riding school in Lesser Town. This riding school is located on the lawn of the early Baroque palace, which was built for Albrecht Waldstein by Italian architects Andrea Spezza and Nicolo Sebregondi.