I must confess that Prague itself was a living museum and the uniqueness and beauty of it overshadowed any artwork I saw in its museum. However, it's National Gallery (Schwarzenberg Palace (Schwarzenberský Palác)) did collect some important and quite moving paintings, particularly those with dark and nationalistic works, documenting the endless struggle of the great nation.
The National Gallery in Prague had several locations, each host a specific group of collections. Here in Schwarzenberg Palace, the collection was labeled as "Baroque in Bohemia - Permanent Exhibition of the Collection of Old Masters of the National Gallery in Prague".
Schwarzenberg Palace was a renaissance building, located near the Prague Castle, built between 1545 and 1576 for the Prague Count Jan Lobkowicz the Younger, and for that reason it was originally called the Lobkowicz Palace. The castle passed to the emperor then Petr Vok z Rožmberka, and the Schwarzenberg family, who owned the palace from 1719 until 1948.
My first favorite painting there is a diptych featuring four Saints - Wenceslas,Vitus, Sigismund and Adalbert, by Bartholomaeus Spranger (21 March 1546 – August 1611), a Flemish Northern Mannerist painter, draughtsman, and etcher. The somewhat stiff poses of these saints gave these four figures an other-worldliness and timelessness.
Saints, Wenceslas, Vitus, Sigismund and Adalbert (after 1585)
Bartholomaeus Spranger (21 March 1546 – August 1611)
My second favorite was "Portrait of a Man" by Karel Škréta (1610 – July 30, 1674), a Czech Baroque painter. Though produced rather early, the verisimilitude of this work was quite astonishing and the contrast between light and dark created a symphony of light, though in a minor key.
Portrait of a man (after 1640)
Karel Škréta (1610 – July 30, 1674)
Finally, I must include a picture of the building - a marvelous palace with wonderfully characterful façade.
My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 37: My Favorite Sculpture and Painting at Strahov Monastery, Prague
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