For the collections and temporary exhibitions as well as for the building itself, don't miss this visit!
The Czech National Museum is located in the magnificent Veletržní Palace built between 1925 and 1928 by Oldřich Tyl and Josef Fuchs. On the day of its inauguration, it became the largest building in the world (140 m long and 80 m wide) and the first functionalist public architecture in Europe. Le Corbusier came in person to admire this jewel. The building transformed into offices in 1950 was completely destroyed by fire in 1974. The palace, rebuilt according to Miroslav Masák's plans, reopened in 1995. It is difficult to describe in one word this museum... One could say: spectacular!
The exhibition extends over five floors, the first and fifth of which are reserved for temporary exhibitions. The floors are organized around an inner courtyard overhung by two red sails suspended on the walls and a huge deformed ball in the middle. In short, this museum of modern art in Central Europe (and undoubtedly one of the most important in the continent) is a real hidden treasure waiting to be discovered.
2nd floor: art from 1930 to 2000. This floor offers an important selection of modern European art: you can see major works by Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka (including the very ironic painting Partage which denounces the Munich agreements). You can also admire a self-portrait of Edvard Munch.
In the rest of the exhibition, we find the work of Toyen, by Josef Šěma, the art of Skupina 42 (Group 42). The poems written on the walls are part of this collection. Socialist realism is represented above all by a huge statue representing Fraternisation. You will also see the laboratory of contemporary trends: orange solar-powered cars, photos and design, recent architecture from Prague and Germany, and glass worked in different ways.
3rd floor: 1900-1930. For those who have little time to devote to this incredible museum: this is the floor you must visit. You will start with paintings from different legendary cities of František Kupka, continuing with his canvases in geometric shapes, which founded the artistic movement of orphism. Discover the works of František Drtikol, the square lines of Antonín Procházka and Emil Filla and the cubist furniture that is unique in the world. Equally disconcerting are the statues of the famous sculptor Otto Gutfreund, such as the very expressive Anguish.
The second part of the exhibition shows the evolution of French art from Romanticism to the 20th century and constitutes the largest collection of its kind outside France. The list of artists on display reads like a pantheon of world painting: from Courbet to Chagall, from Delacroix to Douanier Rousseau, the jewel of 19th and 20th century French painting is here!
4th floor: 19th century Czech art. The statues of Josef Václav Myslbek, the portraits of Antonín Machek, the landscapes of Josef Mánes and others of his friends are gathered on this floor. We are surprised by the model of Antonín Gareis' wooden steam engine from 1839. Some well-known paintings by Alfons Mucha and statues by Josef Bílek are also here. The second half houses models of Prague architecture of the time, wallpapers, vases, mosaics and a huge model of the old chain bridge that existed near the National Theatre.
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