The historic National Museum building at the top of Prague’s Wenceslas Square will close its doors on Thursday for five years of major renovations – the first in the site’s 120-year-long history. When it reopens in June 2016, the museum should offer visitors a whole new experience. On Thursday, hundreds of people used the valuable opportunity to visit the museum for one last time.
The National Museum will be closing its doors on July 7 due to a renovation, which will double the exhibition space and connect the building at the top of Wenceslas Square to the former seat of the Federal Parliament across the street via a subterranean tunnel. The renovation is expected to last four years and cost around 4.5 billion Czech crowns. This is the first time that the museum, which was founded by Kaspar Maria von Sternberg in 1818, will be completely renovated.
The 3rd annual Oslavy Prahy, or “Celebrations of Prague”, festival is underway in the Czech capital. The programme offers music and theatrical performances at various locations in Prague city centre, as well as events showcasing history, art and science. This year’s festival also marks the 800th anniversary of the Birth of St Agnes of Bohemia. Old Town Square and Petřín Hill are hosting large rock concerts. Guided tours of works of art in the National Gallery are available for free and manby of the city’s churches and famous landmarks are also open to the public free of charge or for reduced rates.
A Vienna district court recognised an appeal by Prague on Friday, scrapping the seizure of three Czech artworks being held as collateral in a legal dispute between the Czech state and the blood plasma company Diag Human. The news was revealed by Czech Health Ministry spokesman Vlastimil Sršeň on Friday. The court ruled that the two paintings and one sculpture seized where cultural property and as such except from the move. In late May, the court had recognised the firm’s compensation claim worth an estimated 10 billion crowns owed by the Czech state for thwarting its planned trade. The Czech Republic appealed the verdict. The artworks, no longer subject to confiscation, are by painters Emil Filla and Vincenc Beneš; the sculpture is a work by Otto Gutfreund. Before they were seized the works were on loan for an exhibition in Vienna.
In today’s Arts we discuss a new exhibition at Prague’s Rudolfinum Gallery of almost forgotten paintings by iconic 20th century Czech-American graphic designer Ladislav Sutnar. Entitled U.S. Venus, the show features playful, highly-stylised nudes that fit within the designer’s concept of Joy-Art, a humanistic manifesto which looked ahead to the 21st century. On the day of the opening, Jan Velinger spoke to the show’s curator Iva Knobloch of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague. She talks about Sutnar as a painter but also discusses his immeasurable
Prague’s leafy central suburb of Karlín may best be known outside of the Czech Republic for the devastating floods that laid ruin to it in 2002, but much of the world has been using the machines and products born of Karlín factories for more than a hundred years and aside from that it is also Prague’s oldest suburb – a point recalled by an exhibition being held this year at the City Museum in Prague that was created by historian Dr. Zdeněk Míka:
Thirty-four Prague museums and galleries will take part on Saturday in the eighth annual Prague Museum Night, offering free admission from 7 pm until 1 am. The evening will offer visitors not only a chance to view permanent exhibits but also accompanying events both for children and adults. These include performances such as a jazz concert as Vítkov hill or a fencing show, complete with pyrotechnical effects. This year the National Museum remains closed as it is under renovation. Special transport, also free of charge, is being provided. The highly-popular event saw 180,000 visitors last year.
The Czech Republic will bring back home state-owned artworks that are on loan abroad in an effort to avoid their seizure in a protracted arbitration case. The decision comes after an Austrian court last week upheld the claims of the Swiss firm Diag Human and seized three modernist artworks lent to a gallery in Vienna. The Czech Foreign Ministry considers any seizures of Czech property in breach of international law.
In 1997, just eight years after the Velvet Revolution, when Czechs were making up for lost time and looking into the future, one man - archeologist Radomír Tichý - was busy looking back. Like the rest of his countrymen he was now fully able to realize his dreams, but those had little to do with mobile phones, DVDs and exotic holidays. Mr. Tichý and his colleagues at Hradec Králové University aimed to recreate history by building an open air museum from the early Stone Age to the late Metal Age.
The Minister of Culture, Jiří Besser, has appointed a fresh face to the head of the Czech Republic’s National Gallery, that of economist Vladimír Rösel. Though chosen for the position by a selection committee and praised by the minister for having by far the best plan for leading the gallery into the future, critics have been quick to point out his obvious drawback – that he is neither an artist nor an art academic. What’s more, Mr Rösel replaces a huge figure in the Czech art world, Milan Knížák, an artist of world-renown whose 12-year tenure in
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Screenshot: a hybrid English-friendly Prague art-house cinema where screenings are events