Friday, July 13, 2012

My Favorite Sculpture and Painting at Strahov Monastery, Prague

Strahov Monastery (Strahovský klášter) in Prague (Praha), a Premonstratensian abbey founded in 1149 by Bishop Jindřich Zdík, Bishop John of Prague, and Prince Vladislav II, is a beautiful cloister, and houses wonderful art collections from Italy, Holland and Central Europe dating from 1300 through 19th century (Collection of Czech and European art from the Gothic to Romanticism). 

Amongst its collections, two works struck me as particularly interesting.  One was a sculpture by an unknown artist, portraying the God figure.  It had a wonderfully stiff and eloquent pose, beautiful patina, and mesmerizing facial expression. The sculpture was both reassuring and mysterious, perfectly captured the essence of the omnipresent yet allusive god.

Lower Austrian Sculptor, early 16th century
God the Father of the Coronation of the Virgin Mary
Linden wood

The second work I cite here was a painting by Gerrit Dou, a Dutch Golden Age painter, the Portrait of Rembrandt's Mother.  The old woman, richly but somberly attired, against a pale green/black background, with pinched mouth, wrinkled and unguarded face, downcast yet penetrating gaze, indirectly confronted the viewers, in an almost unbearable intensity, seemed to demand our confession as well.  I was in awe of her great presence and startling characterization.  The interplay of dark and light, worthy of Rambrandt himself, though with less subtlety, perhaps.  A striking portrait.

Gerrit Dou or Gerard Dou
Leiden 1613 - Leiden 1675
Portrait of Rembrandt's mother
Oil on wood

The monastery was also famous for its wonderful library, featuring incredibly beautiful baroque ceilings and enormous manuscript collections.  Actually, I have to say that the library made much stronger impression on me than its art collections.

My Favorite Museum Collection Series

>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 38: My Favorite Paintings at Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 36: My Favorite Paintings at the National Gallery (Schwarzenberg Palace) in Prague

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

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