In Prague, a must-see for art lovers (and not only) is definitely the National Gallery (in Czech Národní galerie v Praze) which is the most important art museum in the capital. The idea of setting up a museum in the city dates back to February 1796 thanks to a group of nobles who at that time had begun to collect the best works of art, both domestic and foreign, at the Sternberg Palace with the aim of making them available to the entire population. The collection, however, was only transformed into the National Gallery in 1918 with the birth of Czechoslovakia. Over time, the number of works in the collection grew and so it was decided to relocate the artistic creations to other historical buildings in the city.
Currently, in addition to the Sternberg Palace, the Gallery’s other locations are five others: Trade Fair Palace, the Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia, the Kinský Palace, the Salmovskýed Palace and the Schwarzenberg Palace. Added to these locations is the Wallenstein Riding School, which belongs to the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, where short-term exhibitions are held. The Prague National Gallery in its various locations currently holds collections of ancient and classical art, works and sculptures created in the Middle Ages, collections of Asian, Oriental and African art and creations from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
Among the artists here are such outstanding names as Piero della Francesca, Pietro Lorenzetti, Tintoretto, Jacopo Bassano, Rubens, Rembrandt, Goya, Canaletto, Delacroix, Courbet, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Degas, Cézanne, Gauguin, Picasso and Klimt.
As the National Gallery is spread out over several locations in the city, here we would like to provide an overview of the collections in the different venues so that you can better organise your visit. The Trade Fair Palace1 (or Veletržní Palác) is undoubtedly the main location, housing over 2,000 works of art, including the most important creations of 19th and 20th century art by Czech and European artists. The ground floor of the building usually houses temporary exhibitions, while the upper floors are home to permanent exhibitions, which here focus not only on Czech art, but also on European classicism and romanticism. Among the best known authors present are Franz Tkadlík, Antonin Machek, Josef Navratil and Augusta Piepenhagen.
In the Hradčany district, the district of Prague Castle to be precise, there are two other locations of the Gallery: Sternberg Palace and Schwarzenberg Palace. Sternberg Palace2 houses some of the most important European works of art ranging from classical antiquity to the 18th century, with a focus on Italian, European and Flemish painting. On the other hand, Schwarzenberg Palace3 houses masterpieces of Czech Mannerism and Baroque art from the 16th to the 18th century.
In the Old Town area is the beautiful Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia4, whose first floor houses more than two hundred sculptures and paintings made during the reign of Bohemia, which lasted from the 9th century to 1306. The complex was commissioned around the middle of the 13th century by Agnes of Bohemia, later proclaimed a saint, who was the sister of King Wenceslas I of Bohemia. Creations by numerous medieval artists are preserved here, such as Master Theodoric and the Master of the Třeboň Altar, but also Hans Hesse and Lucas Cranach the Elder.
Also on Old Town Square is another location of the National Gallery, namely Kinský Palace5, where you can find mainly Asian and African art creations with more than 10,000 objects from Japan, China, Korea, South and South-East Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Finally, Salmovskýed Palace6, also located in the Hradčany district, exhibits 19th-century art with a focus on artists of Classicism and Romanticism.
Also part of the Prague National Gallery circuit areScuola di Equitazione Waldstein7 and, outside Prague, Žďár nad Sázavou Castle and the Czechoslovak Pavilion in Venice.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
Admission to the 7 venues of the National Gallery in Prague is free of charge with the Prague Card/Prague Coolpass.
As already mentioned, the National Gallery in Prague is currently located in six different locations in different districts of the city.
Kinsky Palace and the Convent of St. Agnes are located in the Old Town district served by several metro and bus stops. Kinsky Palace in particular is located right on Old Town Square and can be reached via metro stops A and B Staromestska and Mustek.
To get to the Convent, you can take Metro A to the Staroměstská stop, Metro B to the Náměstí Republiky stop, or Tram lines 6, 8, 15, 26 with a stop at Dlouhá třída. The Trade Fair Palace can be reached by Metro C to the Vltavská stop, while Sternberg Palace, Schwarzenberg Palace and Salmovskýed Palace can be reached by Metro A to the Malostranská / Hradčanská stop.
In the centre of Prague are the Kinsky Palace, which overlooks the Old Town Square, and the Convent of St Agnes, also located in the Old Town but near the Vltava River.
The Trade Fair Palace is located in the Prague 7 district, while Sternberg Palace, Schwarzenberg Palace and Salmovský Palace are in the Hradčany district.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.