During my usual destination research on Prague, the first word that jumped out at me was bohemian. No stranger to the arts and culture of an unconventional lifestyle, two things often described by this term, I was surprised to learn that a Bohemian is also a Czech person and describes the language in general. To call Prague an artistic city is a massive understatement. A wide variety of artists have lived and created here, from literary masters to painters to musicians.
Sadly, we visited this vibrant, historic city when the weather’s cold and the fog is set in. I feel I missed out on some of that incredible beauty everyone raves about. But should one find himself in Prague during these chilly months, all is not lost. Check out a very warm and fabulous aspect of Prague: its art scene. Sure, there’s the unmissable, old, historic art and architecture all around town, but here are 10 places to experience the newer and the new.
Artbanka Museum of Young Art – Cutting-edge, provocative contemporary art from Czech and Slovak artists (including students) of the last few decades, exhibited in a baroque palace near the Charles Bridge. www.amoya.cz
David Cerny – Visitors to Prague can find this quirky, controversial artist’s work in several public locations around the city. Most well-known are the Piss sculpture near the Kafka Museum, the upside down horse sculpture in the Lucerna Passage and his giant babies crawling up the Zizkov Tower. www.davidcerny.cz
Frank Kafka Museum – Though often considered a German writer because he wrote in that language, Kafka was actually born in Prague and lived there. His intriguing expressionist works are very influential and this popular museum draws visitors into his world through audiovisual exhibitions, diaries, drawings, first editions, letters, manuscripts, photographs and 3D installations. kafkamuseum.tyden.cz
Futura Project – Dedicated to exhibitions and supporting domestic and intenational artists with studio space and residence programs, this project consists of several parts. The Center for Contemporary Art Futura offers three floors of exhibition space. Check the website to see what’s on. www.futuraproject.cz
John Lennon Wall – Located in Mala Strana near the French Embassy, the history of this wall is as interesting as the ever-changing works painted onto it. Since the 1980s people have decorated it with graffiti and song lyrics in response to the stifling atrocities of Communism and today to keep Lennon’s messages of hope and love alive.
Kampa Museum – This collection of modern and contemporary art with permanent and temporary exhibitions showcases the work of both Czech and international artists. Children will love the practical education programs. www.museumkampa.com/en/
Leica Gallery – This gallery showcases not only the work of renowned photographers but also provides educational opportunities such as workshops, seminars and lectures for amateur as well as professional photographers. www.lgp.cz/en.html
Meet Factory – This project marries the fine arts disciplines, including dance, film, literature, music and theatre. It houses a residential program focussed on presenting national and international contemporary art through its exhibition spaces and theatres. Keep an eye on the website to catch one of the 300 public events hosted here annually. meetfactory.cz/en/default.aspx
Mucha Museum – This Czech artist’s distinctive style hasn’t always been appreciated. Best known for his series, The Slav Epic, Mucha painted mostly beautiful, feminine women in flowing robes, adorned with flowers and halos. The museum houses posters, panels, original sketches, paintings, drawings, memorabilia and a documentary film. mucha.tyden.cz
Museum of Czech Cubism – Paintings, sculptures, furniture, drawings, prints and applied art that can’t be found anywhere else in Europe are on show inside the cubist Black Madonna House in Prague’s centre. Short-term exhibitions accompany these on the fifth floor. www.ngprague.cz/en/9/sekce/house-at-the-black-madonna
During our time in Prague we stayed at the romantic, luxurious Savic Hotel. A member of the Great Hotels of the World Premium Collection, this deluxe hotel offers every comfort and amenity for a wonderful stay in the Czech capital.
Have you visited Prague? What was your favourite thing to do there?