The Prague National Gallery
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The Prague National Gallery is not a single location
You’ll need to explore the various parts of the collection at it’s different homes. I do warn you now that apart from the Kinsky Palace and the Trade Fair Palace that you are going to want to like art made before the 18th century which includes a serious amount of religious depictions and royal portraits. The Prague National Gallery website details are below but let’s explore your options first.
Did you know?
Students and adults (up to 26 years old and must be proved by ISIC/Passport/ID) both Czech and Foreign have FREE entry to the following:
The specific permanent exhibitions that this offer extends to are:
- Cloister of St Agnes – Medieval Art from the Czech Lands and Central Europe
- Kinský Palace – Asian Art / Medieval Art
- Salm Palace – 19th Century Art from Classicism to Romanticism
- Schwarzenberg Palace – The Baroque in the Czech Lands
- Šternberg Palace – European Art from Antiquity to the End of the Baroque
- Veletržní (Trade Fair) Palace – Art of the 20th and 21st Centuries
The Schwarzenberg Palace (in front of the main entry to Prague Castle and second on the left) hosts a spectacularly diverse collection spanning 1650 to 1800 which encompasses the late Renaissance period and the whole of the Baroque period. It’s both paintings and sculpture mainly from European and Austro-Hungarian era artists and you’ll find a strong “Rudolph II” artistic presence much like part of the Prague Picture Gallery. You may have heard of Peter Brandl and you’ll find several of his works here.
Sternberg Palace was formerly the Archbishops Palace (in front of the main entry to Prague Castle on the right). Here you get the 14th to 16th Century Old European Masters. It covers a similar period to the ST Agnes Convent but the content is less religious. If you are thinking about seeing a Goya, El Greco or Tintoretto then you’ll find them here. Unfortunately no El Bosco or Brueghel. Special Rembrandt area in the Dutch Masters section. Lovely garden but rarely open to the public.
Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia
Medieval Art from 1200 to 1550 is my least favourite period in the Prague National Gallery collection. Heavily weighted in favour of religious and royal paintings as you would expect. Here you might actually get more from the building itself as it’s one of the most accessible complete Gothic structures in the city. For a more modern view, visitors can learn about Agnes who was a princess who became a nun (not unusual) but then her canonisation in 1989 fulfills a prophecy.
Salm Palace (in front of the main entry to Prague Castle on the left) is better known as the Salmovsky Palace opposite and to the left of the Prague Castle main entry. It usually covers a selection of 19th Century art and Czech artists make up a great deal of the content. The ground floor is more for temporary exhibitions and the first floor is for the Permanent exhibition. Pictures fall into two categories. It’s either Neo-classicism to Romanticism or Realism to Modernism.
Trade Fair Palace
The Trade Fair Palace is also called the Veletrzni Palac and hosts the Modern and Contemporary exhibitions As of September 2017 the Alfons Mucha Slav Epic is no longer there (in Tokyo at the time of writing). Not just paintings, you’ll find a lot of sculpture and architectural models in the design sections. Not a place I would bring young kids as the security gets nervous and starts to follow you around.
The Kinsky Palace on the Old Town Square became part of the Prague National Gallery after the Velvet Revolution and only fairly recently began hosting the Asian collection which had previously been held at Zbraslav Castle. Again, the same as the ST Agnes Convent, you’ll get as much enjoyment from learning about the building and its history as from the exhibition itself. Interesting stories about the Kinsky Palace involving Franz Kafka, two Czech Presidents and a Nobel Prize winner are part of my Old Town and Jewish Quarter walking tour.
If you are thinking of visiting some or all of these places then (at the time of writing) you’ll find a single ticket for CZK300 which gives entry to all of the above and the Permanent Exhibitions but Temporary Exhibitions may be extra. The Prague National Gallery website gives more details, locations, opening times and any restrictions.