National Gallery in Prague
museum in Prague



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National Gallery in Prague
museum in Prague
Average: 5 (2 votes)

Staroměstské náměstí 12
Czech Republic

cschuster's picture

Sr. Contributor

If the National Gallery came to me for a motto, I'd submit: "Keep Prague Weird."

It was all started in 1796 by a bunch of pricks who wanted to "elevate the deteriorated taste of the local public." Okay, maybe I'm being a little harsh. But for real, deteriorated taste? Moi?? The group was made of Czech nobles and middle class thinkers with an enlightenment bent, focused on one goal: Make Prague Czech again. Officially, the group went by the Society of Patriotic Friends of the Arts. The Society was founded at a time in Czech history when everyone was fed up with the Germans. 

Back in the 1200s, when Prague was the capital of Bohemia, the Bohemian king ascended the throne of the Holy Roman Empire, creating strong cultural ties between Prague and the greater milieu of German speaking cultures around Europe. The center of power for the Holy Roman Empire ping-ponged between Prague and Vienna for a couple hundred years, landing with finality on Vienna. The last move to Vienna purged Prague of sycophants riding imperial coattails, with the unexpected side effect of draining the cultural heritage from one of the largest cities in Europe. With the exodus also went some of the best paintings and sculpture the Czech people had produced under imperial favor. And this, folks, is the backdrop against which the Society was formed.

When they say "deteriorating taste of the local public," they don't mean that the locals are getting dumber. They mean all the smart people have left Prague, and Germans have come in to run the town. If they wanted Prague to be a Czech country then they'd have to work with what was available. Thus, the National Gallery of Prague -- an institution dedicated to the preservation of Czech artistic heritage and an arm devoted to educating painters so that the future of Czech art wouldn't suck.

Fast forward two hundred and some years, and the National Gallery of Prague is thriving. Spread over eight historic locations around Prague that also put the city's beautiful architecture on display.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about National Gallery Prague

The National Gallery Prague (Czech: Národní galerie Praha, NGP), formerly the National Gallery in Prague (Národní galerie v Praze), is a state-owned art gallery in Prague, which manages the largest collection of art in the Czech Republic and presents masterpieces of Czech and international fine art in permanent and temporary exhibitions. The collections of the gallery are not housed in a single building, but are presented in a number of historic structures within the city of Prague, as well as other places. The largest of the gallery sites is the Trade Fair Palace (Veletržní Palác), which houses the National Gallery's collection of modern art. Other important exhibition spaces are located in the Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia, the Kinský Palace, the Salm Palace, the Schwarzenberg Palace, the Sternberg Palace, and the Wallenstein Riding School. Founded in 1796, it is one of the world's oldest public art galleries and one of the largest museums in Central Europe.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about National Gallery Prague.