An exhibition called Afghanistan: Rescued Treasures of Buddhism organized by the National Museum aims to present the war-torn country in a different light, to draw attention to its rich cultural history and point out the many influences that left their mark on Afghan culture and traditions. The exhibition focuses on the country’s pre-Islamic Buddhist period. Its chief organizer Lubomír Novák showed me around and began by explaining what makes the exhibition so special.
Photographs by Andy Warhol have gone on display at the Czech National Gallery’s Salm Palace building in the Prague Castle complex. The institution received the works – which include a cross-section of the pop artist’s photographs, including portraits and street scenes – as a donation from the Andy Warhol Foundation in the US. The National Gallery was among 10 institutions around the world to be given the last remaining photographs in the foundation’s collection.
The Czech National Gallery has failed to return the valuable gothic painting, the Madonna of Veveří, to the Catholic Church. According to a previous ruling of a Prague court, the painting was recognised as the property of the church and the gallery was supposed to hand it over by Thursday, February 18. The church’s lawyer František Severin said it would call in the bailiffs if the deadline was not met. The National Gallery’s spokeswoman, Tereza Ježková, said they were ready to release the painting as soon as they have all the necessary documents. The Madonna of Veveří, from the first half of the 14th century, is ascribed to an artist close to the Master of Vyšší Brod. Until 1938 it decorated the interior of a church at the Veveří Castle.
A long-lost collaboration between Mozart and rival composer Salieri has been performed in Prague. The 1785 piece entitled Per la ricuperata salute di Ophelia, which has also been credited to a third collaborator named Cornetti, was discovered at the Czech National Music Museum last year by German musicologist and composer Timo Jouko Herrmann. The score became part of the institution’s collection in the 1950s but was not correctly identified.
A massive fire broke out overnight at the main building of Prague’s National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square, one of the main landmarks of the capital. Around 20 fire crews were rushed to the scene with the fire given the highest danger level. The fire was brought under control after around an hour with around 200 square metres of the roof damaged. The blaze could have been started as a result of ongoing massive reconstruction works at the building which has resulted in it being closed to the public with the exhibits removed for storage.
There will be great excitement in the Czech art world on Friday when Ai Weiwei makes his first appearance in Prague. The world-famous Chinese artist and activist will be in town to officially open an exhibition of his Zodiac Heads at the Czech National Gallery, kicking off celebrations of its 220th anniversary. On the eve of Ai Weiwei’s visit, I asked the director of the National Gallery, Jiří Fajt, what the presence of an artist of such stature means to his institution.
Prague’s Pop Art Museum in Husova Street recently launched a new exhibition mapping the history of Apple computers which changed the world and the impact of visionary Steve Jobs. On view, are key devices from the original Apple I by Stephen Wozniak, to the Macintosh, to the iMac. Some of the items on display are rare limited editions only ever produced in the hundreds or several thousands.
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