Art in Prague

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Paintings and Photos and Sculptures, Oh my! An overview of galleries and museums in Prague

Whether you are an artsy type or just looking for a way to kill a rainy day; Prague has numerous museums and galleries sure to show your favorite genre; a traveling exhibition or maybe even introduce you to something new. Prices range the gamut from 50CZK-120CZK and generally speaking, most are closed on Mondays. Check the websites or phone ahead – some also have shorter hours in the winter.

The biggie in the city is City Gallery Prague (www.ghmp.cz) comprising five different locations, all showing a variety of works. The Golden Ring House (Týnská 6, Prague 1 – 224 827 022) showcases art from the 2nd half of the 20th century as well as contemporary art. Works of contemporary and modern art can be found at the Stone Bell House (Staromestské námestí 13, Prague 1 – 224 827 526.) The Municipal Library (Mariánské námestí 1, Prague 1 – 222 310 489) offers the best temporary exhibits while Old Town Hall (Staromestské námestí 1, Prague 1 – 224 482 751) traditionally focuses on works by young artists. Across the river in Troja, the Troja Chateau (U Trojského zámku 1, Prague 7 – 283 851 614) offers beautiful gardens, a picture gallery of 19th century Czech art and a “Chinese Chamber;” an intriguing mural display of Chinese landscape and architecture.

The National Museum (www.nm.cz) also operates several sites. The big one (Václavské námestí 68, Prague 1 – 224 497 111) specializes in natural history, paleontology and anthropology. Music lovers are well played here; the National Museum has three museums for you: The Czech Music Museum (Karmelitská 2/4, Prague 1 – 257 257 777;) the Antonín Dvorák Museum (Ke Karlovu 20, Prague 2, 224 918 013) and one dedicated to Bedrich Smetana (Novotného lávka 1, Prague 1 – 222 220 082.) For art; check out Lobkowicz Palace (Jirská 3, Prague 1 – 233 354 467) while sculpture fans should head to the Lapidárium (Výstavište 422, Prague 7 – 233 375 636.) Other museums of interest under the National Museum umbrella include the Historical Pharmacy (Nerudova 32, Prague 1 – 257 531 502;) the Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures (Betlémské náměstí 1, Prague 1 – 224 497 500) and Musaion – Ethnographic Exhibition (Kinský Folly, Kinského zahrada 97, Prague 5 – 257 214 806.)

The National Gallery Prague (www.ngprague.cz) is similar to the National Museum with its collection spread over eight sites. Baroque fans should hit Schwarzenberg Palace (Hradcanské nám. 2, Prague 1 – 222 321 459) or Sternberg Palace (Hradcanské nám. 15, Prague 1 – 220 514 634) which showcases European art from the Classical through Baroque periods. St. George’s Convent (Jirské nám. 33, Prague 1 – 257 320 536) offers temporary exhibitions while the Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia (U Milosrdných 17, Prague 1 – 224 810 628) offers Medieval art from Bohemia and Central Europe. One of the best modern art facilities in the city is Veletržní Palace (Dukelských hrdinu 47, Prague 7 – 224 301 024;) Asian art lovers should head out to Zbraslav Chateau (Bartosova 2, Prague 5 – 257 921 638) while Kinský Palace (Staromestské námestí 12, Prague 1 – 224 810 758) pays homage to the landscape in Czech art. A definite must visit is the Czech Cubist Museum in the House at the Black Madonna (Ovocný trh 19, Prague 1 – 224 211 746;) which is a beautiful homage to the art form in and of itself.

Up at Prague Castle (www.kulturanahrade.cz) you’ll find a number of exhibition spaces. The Riding House (U Prasného mostu 55, Prague 1 – 224 373 232;) the Imperial Stables (Prazský hrad – II. Nádvorí, Prague 1 – 224 373 312,) the Ball Games House (Prazský hrad, Prague 1 – 224 373 579) and Queen Anna’s Summerhouse (Mariánské hradby 52/1, Prague 1 – 224 372 327) all offer a variety of temporary exhibits. Prague Castle Gallery (Prazský hrad – II. Nádvorí, Prague 1 – 224 373 531) mainly gives you a peak at Emperor Rudolf’s collection.

Photography fans are in luck; there are a number of museums dedicated to this art form. Newest is the recently re-opened Leica Gallery Prague (Školská 28, Prague 1 – 251 614 316, www.lgp.cz.) Langhans Galerie (Vodickova 37, Prague 1 – 222 929 333, www.langhansgalerie.cz) offers a consistently rotating exhibit of prints while the Gallery of Josef Sudek (Úvoz 24, Prague 1 – 257 531 489, www.upm.cz) showcases this photographer’s work, as well as other modern Czech photography in Sudek’s old apartment.

One must-see when visiting Prague is it’s Jewish Quarter – made all the more interesting by the excellent Jewish Museum (U Staré školy 1, Prague 1 – 221 711 511, www.jewishmuseum.cz.) The collection is spread over six sites, all within easy walking distance. The museum has an active events calendar and often hosts concerts in the Spanish Synagogue. Another excellent museum is Galerie Rudolfinum (Alšovo nábreží 12, Prague 1 – 227 059 205, www.rudolfinum.org.) Besides an impressive interior which is worth the admission price, the museum always has an eclectic exhibit on tap. An additional top museum is the Museum of Decorative Arts (17. listopadu 2, Prague 1 – 251 093 111) which deals in historical and contemporary crafts and applied arts and designs. Excellent gift shop too. Betramka, which houses the Mozart Museum (Mozartova 169, Prague 5 – 257 318 461, www.bertramka.cz) is a beautiful villa which also offers excellent concerts.

If you are looking for a little bit of offbeat “culture;” check out these museums. The Sex Machines Museum (Melantrichova 18, Prague 1 – 227 186 260, www.sexmachinemuseum.com) offers three floors of erotic mechanical instruments. When you’ve finished there, walk down the block to the Wax Museum (Melantrichova 5, Prague 1 – 224 933 349, www.waxmuseumprague.cz) and check out Albert Einstein, Salvador Dali, Arnold Schwarzenegger and a host of Czech luminaries. The Museum of Communism (Na Príkope 10, Prague 1 – 224 212 966, www.muzeumkomunismu.cz) has an exhibit on the former totalitarian regime of Czechoslovakia. If pain interests you pay a visit to the Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments (Križovnické nám. 1, Prague 1 – 723 360 479.)

Museums that are truly Prague-esque include the U Fleku Brewery Museum (Kremencova 11, Prague 1 – 224 934 019, www.ufleku.cz;) the Museum of Alfons Mucha (Panská 7, Prague 1 – 224 216 415, www.mucha.cz;) the Museum of the Prague Bambino (Karmelitská 9, Prague 1 – 257 533 646, www.pragjesu.info;) the Charles Bridge Museum (Krizovnické nám. 3, Prague 1 – 776 776 779, www.muzeumkarlovamostu.cz) and the Franz Kafka Museum (Cihelná 2b, Prague 1 – 257 535 507, www.kafkamuseum.cz.)