From the medieval paintings of St Agnes’ Convent to David Černý’s outlandish sculptures, visual arts colour the tapestry of Prague’s rich history. Creativity enriches every public space in the Czech capital, be it an off-the-wall piece of street art or a grand historic gallery. Fall in love with art in Prague with our essential guide on what to see and where.
The most comprehensive archive of local and international art in Prague can be found at its National Gallery, which occupies multiple buildings across the city. In its permanent collection are Old Masters from Rembrandt and Rubens, medieval works from across Bohemia and early 20th-century Czech art. Seasonal exhibitions present everything from ancient Asian artifacts to Czech cubism.
Not to be confused with the Prague National Gallery, the National Museum houses over 14 million items – the largest repository of creative works in the Czech Republic. Its grand Neo Renaissance building on Wenceslas Square has been painstakingly restored to its former glory. Aside from fascinating historical and scientific displays, you can unearth artistic treasures such as centuries-old Czech puppets and handcrafted ornaments from traditional folk culture.
Esteemed Czech Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha has an entire gallery dedicated to his life’s work. The eponymous Mucha Museum in the Baroque Kaunický Palace is a visual love letter to his works. You’ll find everything from oil paintings and posters to decorative objects and even pages from Mucha’s sketchbooks.
For modern art in Prague, the premiere destination is the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art. Tucked away in the Holešovice neighbourhood, the progressive gallery in a former warehouse showcases Czech art that is at once challenging, thought-provoking and ultra-cool. From illustrations and photography to sculptures and installations, you’ll find all manner of contemporary art at DOX, including the giant Gulliver Airship that deftly rests upon the main building.
Over in the Smíchov district, FUTURA Center for Contemporary Art hosts avant-garde exhibitions by cutting-edge international and local names. Spread over three floors, the hip gallery presents an ever-changing showcase of works by the likes of Korean multimedia artist Sinae Yoo and Czech installation artist Marketa Magidova.
If you like your art edgy and alternative, world-renowned artist David Černý’s MeetFactory is a dynamic multi-purpose arts space in a 1920s glass factory. The non-profit organisation gives a leg-up to upcoming local talent, and you can expect to see anything from radical socio-political commentary to theatrical and musical performances.
Like London, Lisbon and Berlin, Prague has some seriously cool street art. The trendy Žižkov district is home to the finest examples of giant illustrative murals and quirky, colourful graffiti. Perhaps the most famous Prague mural is the Lennon Wall – an ever-changing brick canvas, daubed in ‘peace and love’-inspired messages – that has been present since the 1980s. The best street art in Prague isn’t on building façades, however. It’s David Černý’s incredible sculptures. His signature crawling babies can be found scaling their way up the Žižkov TV Tower and across Kampa Park. Meanwhile, his 39-tonne steel bust of Franz Kafka next to the Quadrio business centre is a kinetic masterpiece, whose layers slowly rotate and metamorphosize.