One blog post is insufficient to talk about all the beautiful architecture and art in Prague, so I won’t attempt that. Instead, this small overview might whet your appetite so that you will be tempted to visit the city or return.
You can hardly talk about the Czech art without starting with Alfons Mucha. You might not know his name, but you most certainly know his art.
Yes, he’s that Art Nouveau guy. The sweet little Mucha Museum doesn’t take very long to visit – 30 minutes for the movie about his life and work (in English) and 30 minutes to enjoy the three-four rooms of his posters and sketches (and his one sculpture). No photos allowed.
Even better, though, was seeing his grand masterpiece, The Slav Epic, on display right now at the National Gallery in Prague. This is where we chose to spend Christmas Day. This cycle of 20 enormous canvases chronicles the history of the Slavic people, in myth and historical fact.
The 44 cents we spent on the pamphlet describing each painting was money well spent. We appreciated having benches in front of each work so that we could read about it and then spend a while looking over the whole canvas.
This is part of the first painting, Slavs in their Original Homeland. This represents the Slavs in the 4th-6th centuries under attack by Germanic tribes. The floating figure is a Pagan priest who is flanked by War and Peace. Click here for a better color rendition of the whole work.
This is the final painting of the cycle, The Apotheosis of the Slavs, Slavs for Humanity, summarizes the story. Click here for better photo.
As for architecture, I’m sure there are books written on this, but I know that as I walked around, I kept looking up and oohing and aaahing over the details of this city that was spared from bombing in WWII. So many styles, so much beauty.
Well, not this one! This was built during the Communist era.
We had after-opera cake in the Municipal House, an Art Nouveau treasure.
The Black Madonna – a Cubist building.
St. Vitus Cathedral – Gothic.
The Dancing House. Think Ginger Rogers swirling around Fred Astaire. Designed by Frank Gehry.
Be thankful I didn’t post any more of my photos!