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National Gallery in Prague: a place of the national art treasure and heritage
The beauty of traveling is that you get to learn about other cultures asides from your own. With traveling, you don’t just learn about other cultures, you grow to appreciate other cultures. Galleries and museums embody a country’s culture, which is why they’re always listed in travel itineraries.
Travel to the City of 100 Spires and experience the rich cultural history of Prague. There’s a lot to see and a lot more to learn from the cultural heritage of Prague. Guess what, there’s no better place to learn and enjoy the history of Prague than the National Gallery in Prague (Národní galerie Praha). Owned by the state, it’s a gallery that houses the biggest collection of Czech art. Aside from local art pieces, it also holds a collection of international artworks.
The National Gallery Prague is the second oldest gallery in Europe. It was finally formally established in 1949, with its mission to lift the nation’s spirit through art.
A Brief History of the National Gallery in Prague – the oldest cultural institution in the Czech Republic
There’s something interesting about the City of a Hundred Spires. It’s the fact that it’s a haven for beautiful cultural and historical heritages of Czechs. Prague is home to dozens of Czech historical heritages with many still standing after hundreds of years. The National Gallery in Prague is over 200 years old and had its foundation laid in 1796. Like all galleries, it was created to preserve and exhibit cultural and historical arts peculiar to the Czechs.
Back in 1796 when current Czechia was still known as Bohemia, a group of patriots thought about how they could glorify and preserve Bohemian arts. This group, which had influential aristocrats and middle-class intellectuals, decided to push for the creation of a gallery that would offer a sense of class and glory to the arts. They felt that the common men did not appreciate the arts, and they wished to remedy the situation.
Initially, the main location of the gallery was at the Sternberg Palace at Hradčany. Upon entering the 20th century, new locations were opened to house 19th to 20th-century art, mostly at the Veletržní Palác, or the Trade Fair Palace, located in Holešovice.
The National Gallery is one of the most visited tourist attraction centers in Prague. The Gallery is also easily one of the largest and oldest cultural institutions in Europe. As you may expect, it is protected by national laws and open to tourists from all over the globe. The beautifully designed gallery features a vast array of alluring art exhibitions which are stored in different buildings within the gallery.
What are the collections of the National Gallery Prague?
Visiting the National Gallery Prague will require you to transfer between 11 buildings since its collection is too large to be housed in just one. The buildings themselves are historic structures located inside and outside of Prague. When visiting, you’ll find that each site contains a specific set of artworks categorized by time. The vast majority of the artworks are exhibited either on a temporary or permanent basis, depending on the form of artwork.
Collection of Medieval Art and Old Masters
If you’re interested in old artworks, you’ll want to visit the Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia located in Old Town. To get there from Prague Main Station (Hlavni nadrazi), you can take bus no. 207 and stop at Dlouha trida. Then, walk for around five minutes until you reach the gallery.
The Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia has over 200 paintings as well as sculptures that came from three different centuries. Here, you’ll find works by medieval artist Master Theodoric, works by Albrecht Altdorfer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, and many more.
The collection of old masters simply refers to the paintings done by various artists and painters between the 16th and the 18th century. It basically includes various arts that were created especially during the Baroque and the Renaissance periods in art history. This collection of these priceless artworks is easily over 7000 in number. Other arts that are as old as the 14th century are especially given special care. This collection as the name implies is simply a vast collection of invaluable artworks done by past art masters.
You can reach both the Schwarzenberg Palace and Sternberg Palace by taking tram 22 from the Hlavni station and stopping at Prazsky hrad.
Collection of 19th Century Art and Classical Modernism
The National Gallery Prague also features an excellent collection of 19th Century Art with Classical Modernism features. It also includes at least 5000 sculptures and over 7000 arts of Bohemia. It was primarily sponsored by arts acquisition and features beautiful historical French arts. As a collection featuring 19th-century arts, it depicts artworks of classicism, realism, and symbolism among others.
Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art
Artworks currently exhibited in this collection were initially a part of the Collection of 19th Century Art and Classical Modernism. However, this new collection was given its own recognition in 2018 and is mostly defined by contemporary arts of mid-20th century – the 1940s. The arts within this collection reflect the historical changes across political and social scenes.
Collection of Prints and Drawings
The Collection of Prints and Drawings features modern and classic prints reaching as far back as the 14th century. Within this collection lies over 400,000 fine prints and illuminated drawings – making it the largest collection in the Gallery.
Collection of Asian Art
The appreciation for art goes beyond exhibiting Czech cultural arts. This is the guiding principle behind the Collection of Asian Art in the National Gallery Prague. At least 13,000 artworks from Oriental cultures are on display in this collection.
With an abundant archive of arts and cultural works, the National Gallery Prague also runs an online collection that shares the thrill of classical arts of culture with the rest of the world. These are easily accessible online.
National Gallery Prague’s time-limited exhibitions are held at several locations, mainly the Trade Fair Palace, the Wallenstein Riding School (Malá Strana), and the Kinský Palace (Old Town Square). These exhibitions showcase local and international modern and contemporary artworks.
Where to book a ticket to the National Gallery in Prague?
Are you a fan of the arts? Then the National Gallery Prague is a place you must see. To book a ticket, you can book directly online or at the entrance of the gallery. The ticket price for a 10-day pass to the major exhibitions at the gallery is 500 CZK. The admission is free to children and students under 26 years.
The gallery is open every day except Mondays from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm. On Wednesdays, it closes at 8 pm.It’s also possible to enjoy the artworks in the National Gallery Prague for free online. Simply go on a 360-degree virtual tour via the gallery’s very own website.
Prepare to be amazed by the wonderful display of arts and culture in the National Gallery Prague, it’s the perfect spot for sightseeing.