A painting by the renowned Czech artist Jan Zrzavý dating back to 1929 was auctioned on Sunday for a record price of 7.1 million CZK (around 440,000 US dollars), the highest sum ever paid for a Zrzavý painting. Piazetta, a painting capturing the Doge’s Palace in Venice, is currently the 12th most expensive picture sold in the country. The Czech auction record was set at the end of last year by Frantisek Kupka’s "Elevation", which was sold for 22.1 million.
The Czech literary world held its annual awards for the best literary works of 2008, the Magnesia Litera, this weekend. The prize for Book of the Year went to Petr Nikl’s Zahadky, but the reader’s prize went to the author and children’s book illustrator Petr Sís, for his The Wall: Growing Up Behind The Iron Curtain, a book of memoirs of life in communist Czechoslovakia that’s rapidly winning acclaim throughout the world. Petr Sís lives in New York, and before he left to pick up the award in Prague, Ian Willoughby discussed the book with him at
Around 2,500 people have come to see the Czech crown jewels that were put on display in the Prague Castle’s Vladislav Hall. The crown jewels are only displayed publicly on special occasions; in the last century, they were exhibited nine times. This time they were brought out to mark the 90th anniversary of an independent Czech state, as well as President Václav Klaus’s reelection. They will be on display for the general public for the next 10 days.
Want to buy a luxury flat in Prague? It could cost you as much as 400 million crowns. Now you can place a bet on whether the US radar base is coming to the country. An artist defaces traffic lights and gets in trouble with the law and police hunt a man who is impersonating a waiter. And find out why Japanese rats love Czech beer.
Forty inhabitants of the village of Líšeň on the outskirts of Brno receive instructions before they get off the bus at the Berlin Wall to take part in the annual Biennial of Art. Near the wall are exact copies of fences they have in their backyards at home. In a while they’ll be climbing over to meet their neighbours. For many of them, it will be the first time they’ll shake hands or talk to each other. The person who brought them together is the Czech artist Kateřina Šedá. When we met in Prague, I ask her where she got this idea in the first
Hundreds of cameras flashed on Thursday when seven representatives of church and state, including President Václav Klaus, Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and Prague Archbishop Miloslav Vlk gathered in Prague’s St Vitus cathedral to unlock the chamber in which the Czech crown jewels are stored. The chamber only opens when all seven keepers of the keys unlock seven different locks at the same time. The crown jewels were then taken to Prague Castle’s Vladislav Hall, the traditional site of the coronation of kings, where they will be put on display for
Werich’s villa in Prague’s Kampa Park, once home of the famous Czech actor Jan Werich, will open its door to the public next year. The villa has been uninhabited and falling apart for years, but all the previous attempts to lease it fell through. The city council this week finally rent it to Meda Mládková, head of the nearby Kampa Museum, for the next 40 years. After renovations it will serve as a cultural space for screenings, debates and performances. I spoke to Mrs Mládková earlier and began by asking her a bit about the site’s history.
Hundreds of people used the opportunity on Tuesday to browse the collections of the Czech National Museum for free. The country’s biggest museum has opened its doors to the public to celebrate its 190th anniversary, which falls on the 15th of April. It’s also holding a series of other events to mark its birthday. But most of all it is getting ready for a major renovation project, that will get under way in three years’ time.
Alphonse Mucha’s Art Nouveau paintings are among the most instantly recognisable works in Czech art. He himself considered the Slav Epic, a series of huge paintings depicting the history of the Slav peoples, his greatest achievement, though it has not had the happiest of fates. Mucha donated it to Prague in 1928, on condition that the city build it a dedicated home. Eighty years later, his grandson John Mucha says he is at a loss as to why the artist’s wish has still not been fulfilled.
One community that’s borne the brunt of skinhead attacks are the country’s Romanies, 250,000 of whom live in a state of uneasy cohabitation with their white neighbours. Romanies make up half of the three dozen people killed in racially-motivated attacks since the fall of communism. April 8th is International Roma Day, which was first marked in 1971 and has been celebrated here in the Czech Republic since 1990. We spoke to Ivan Vesely, head of the Roma organisation Dzeno.
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