We present you the two comprehensive permanent exhibitions housed in Kinský Palace on the Old Town Square, which the curators have titled “The Art of Asia” and “The Art of the Ancient World”, will present to visitors masterpieces from Czech collections.
The Art of Asia permanent exhibition – First floor of Kinský Palace
From the collections of the National Gallery in Prague
In 2010, the National Gallery in Prague‘s Collection of Oriental Art was transferred from Zbraslav Chateau to Kinský Palace on the Old Town Square. The curators of this Collection have mounted for the public a comprehensive exhibition of ancient and contemporary Asian art. Visitors can admire a display of superb art collections of ancient Chinese art, Buddhist sculpture, Tibetan votive pictures, known as thangkas, Islamic pottery and metalwork, Japanese woodblock prints and illustrated books, and early and modern Chinese painting.
“It has been our intention to present unique masterpieces both in their original social context and with regard to the history of art collecting in the Czech lands,“ says Dr. Markéta Hánová, Director of the Collection of Oriental Art. “The Collection of Oriental Art of the National Gallery in Prague administers more than thirteen thousand art objects from Japan, China, Korea, Tibet, South and Southeast Asia, the Islamic cultural region, and Africa. In terms of size and significance, it ranks among the most prominent such holdings in Central and Eastern Europe. The Collection’s particular importance lies in its documentation of the history of Asian art collecting in the Czech lands that begun around the mid-19th century and continues to the present. The country’s cultural exchange and contacts with regions of East Asia, and their study and presentation are among the crucial themes that the Collection’s specialists deal with,“ adds Hánová. Ever since it was founded in 1952, the Collection of Oriental Art has been systematically building its collections of Asian art under the guidance of Dr. Lubor Hájek, expanding them whenever possible by targeted purchases and transfers from other public institutions, as well as through bequests and donations from private collectors.
Patrik Hábl and Michal Rataj inspired by Chinese art and culture
As a continent of age-long tradition and culture, Asia never ceases to inspire – a fact visitors can appreciate in the area of theKinskýPalace’s main staircase that will feature a new monumental, hanging-scroll-type painting created by the contemporary Czech artist Patrik Hábl (b. 1975). In his artwork, Hábl seeks formal and symbolic influence in the tradition of Chinese scroll painting, which he regards as an important source of inspiration alluding to visions of imaginary landscapes. Inspired by sounds from the historical centre ofBeijing, the contemporary Czech composer Michal Rataj composed a musical collage that accompanies the painting. The music and painting mutually resonate, creating a peaceful and contemplative atmosphere before the entrance to the exhibition rooms that house original Asian art. Contemporary art thus enters into a dialogue with traditional Asian art.
The Art of the Ancient World permanent exhibition – Second floor of Kinský Palace
From the collections of the National Gallery in Prague, National Museum and Charles University in Prague
Presented on a relatively small space, visitors can inspect and compare a remarkable selection of artefacts ranging from ancient Egyptto Etruscan art. “Curators of the National Museum and National Gallery, in collaboration with their colleagues from Charles University, have done outstanding work aimed at presenting to audiences the greatest treasures of ancient art from Czech collections. The wealth of these cultural relics in our country is truly admirable, as the Czech lands stood on the margin of the ancient world, never belonged to European powers and only seldom could organize major archaeological exhibitions. Until recently, these superb holdings were kept out of sight: Together perhaps with Reykjavik, Prague had been the only capital in Europe that had no permanent museum of ancient and classical cultures,“ noted Prof. Vít Vlnas, the authorized director of the National Gallery in Prague and one of the exhibition’s co-authors, on the occasion of the re-opening of the Art of the Ancient World exhibition.
“We value this excellent long-term cooperation with the National Gallery in Prague. Also, thanks to this partnership, can the National Museum present its rich Ancient and Egyptian collections at the prestigious location in the Kinský Palace. We are glad to have joined powers, which is exactly what will the visitors and admirers of ancient art appreciate", says the General director of the National Museum Michal Lukeš.
A poster showing the “Torso of Venus” invites visitors to the exhibition. Fashioned after a Hellenistic original, this ancient Roman sculpture dating from the 2nd century A.D. is believed to come from Varna. The slim, smaller than life size, female nude figure has wavy, shoulder-length hair. The arms and legs are broken off and the waist is cracked. The sculpture was executed in the posture of the Venus Pudica (Modest Venus). The figure can even represent one of the Three Graces.
The displayed objects from Egypt, Anatolia, Assyria, Mesopotamia, Iran and Classical Antiquity document the superb craftsmanship of the ancient cultures that laid the foundations for later European art. Artefacts from ancientEgyptandNubiaform a visually intriguing prologue, which is followed by pieces from the Near East,Cyprusand the Aegean region. A large section of the exhibition documents ancient Greek art production dating from the Early Iron Age phase to the Hellenistic period. The exhibition closes with Etruscan and Roman art.
Both exhibitions housed in the National Gallery’sKinskýPalaceare accompanied by a variety of educational programmes: lectures, programmes and art workshops organized by the partner institutions. Visitors are invited to create their own artwork or to study in the studio. There are also facilities for parents with children. Books from editions published by the institutions that collaborated in the preparation of the permanent exhibition are on sale in the shop on the ground floor.
The Collection of Oriental Art of the National Gallery in Prague is one of the round one hudred collections of Asian art that published their masterpices on the internationl web-page VCM - Virtual Collection of Masterpices. The link to the VCM pages are here: www.virtualcollectionofmasterpieces.com
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