The National Gallery Prague presented the exhibition schedule for 2024. Visitors can look forward to seeing the work of Michelangelo and other masters for the first time, in collaboration with the Musée du Louvre. An exhibition devoted to the theme of solidarity and the role of art in times marked by conflict will open in the Trade Fair Palace. In the spring, the Kinsky Palace will welcome an unconventional project dedicated to the phenomenon of hockey. The main event of the autumn season will be a show of Czech artists in interwar France. NGP is also preparing a Czech presentation at the 60th Art Biennale in Venice with the support of the Ministry of Culture.
This year’s exhibition plan reflects the institution’s development concept, which was approved by the Ministry of Culture, the founder of the NGP. The concept emphasizes, among other things, the creation of a safe and stable environment for the development of artistic projects. With its dramaturgy, the NGP devotes itself to expanding the European canon of history by Czech art. “Our dramaturgy until 2026 will focuses on the themes of solidarity, Czech exile art, the representation of women in the history of art or issues of the environmental crisis. In addition, our collections are being digitized and we are making strategic investments such as building a new depository in Jinonice, which the NGP urgently needs.” outlines CEO Alicja Knast. Key aims of the gallery include expanding knowledge of the collections through basic research and multidisciplinary projects, the results of which are presented in the form publications and exhibitions. As was the case, for example, with last year’s most successful exhibition Brandl: The Story of the Bohemian, which attracted over fifty thousand visitors.
In total, almost 434,000 visitors visited the NGP’s collection exhibits and short-term exhibitions last year, which is 15% more than in 2022. The number of Friends Club members is also growing, reaching almost five thousand. More than 46,000 children and adults visited NGP’s educational and public programs in 2023.
- Fair Palace (©Wikipedia)
Exhibitions “Across Space and Time”
In March, a group exhibition will be presented in the Veletržní palace No feeling lasts forever. Solidarity collection in Skopje. It is based on the unique collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje, reflects the aid provided to the city after the earthquake in 1963, and provides an insight into the history of post-war modern art. At the same time, the exhibition encourages thinking about historical and contemporary forms of solidarity and the role of art in a time marked by conflict, ruin and uncertainty, but also by cohesion, renewal and faith in the future. Which resonates with current world and domestic events. The exhibition is realized by NGP in cooperation with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje and Kunsthalle Vienna.
- Kinsky Palace (©Wikipedia)
In April, the Kinský palace will be open to the public again with an exhibition On the ice! Hockey and ice skating in visual arts. It will present the history of skating in the 17th and 18th centuries in Holland and its gradual transfer to the Czech landscape, where it became an integral part of life in winter. It also maps the development of hockey and its importance as part of national identity, presenting works from various collections and current work inspired by the sport. About 100 works of art will be on display across a range of media, both paintings by old masters such as Pieter Brueghel II and the most prominent representatives of 19th century Czech art – August Bedřich Piepenhagen, Karel Purkyně and Antonín Barvitio. In addition to classical treatments of the theme in painting and drawing, experimental artistic approaches by Jiří Kolář, Vojtěch Tittelbach and Theodor Rotrekl are also presented. The 1990s opened up new possibilities, which manifested themselves in hockey-themed art in particular with a critical and even ironic perspective, as can be seen in the works of Krištof Kintera, Jiří Surůvka and Ondřej Kohout. The exhibition closes with new works by nine contemporary artists who created them on the occasion of this year’s hockey championship. They include Jakub Špaňhel, Alena Kotzmannová, Jan Vytiska, Paulina Skavová and Karel Štědrý. The general partner of the exhibition, which is created in cooperation with the Sport in Art agency, is Komerční banka.
At the world’s most prestigious art fair, Venice Art Biennalethis year the Czech Republic presents itself with the project “The heart of a captive giraffe is twelve kilograms lighter” artist Eva Koťátková. This installation, selected by an expert jury from 20 entries for its topicality and ability to resonate in a global context, examines Czechoslovak history from ecological and decolonial perspectives. After a long time, the Czech and Slovak Republics will be presented together again, NGP is cooperating with the Slovak National Gallery here. The show will last from April 20 to November 24, 2024. The Czech part of the exhibition was supported by the National Renewal Plan.
- Wallenstein Riding School (©Wikipedia)
In mid-May, an exhibition will open in the Valdštejnská jízdárna From Michelangelo to Callot. The Art of Mannerism Graphics. It presents Mannerism as an artistic style whose refined elegance, fantasy and symbolism stand out precisely in graphic art. The exhibition maps the development of Mannerist graphics, its experiments and connections with other forms of art. Visitors will see more than two hundred exhibits, including drawings by Michelangelo Buonarroti. Graphic works will be presented by masters of engraving art – Parmigianino, Schiavone, Cornelis Cort, Hendrick Goltzius, Aegidius Sadeler, Jacques Bellange, Jacques Callot and many others. An exceptional collaboration with the Musée du Louvre contains a loan of unique works, including a drawing by Michelangelo, which it has not yet been publicly exhibited in our country.
November will be an exhibition in the Valdštejnská jízdárna École de Paris: Artists from Bohemia and the Interwar Paris School. It introduces names like Georges Kars, Othon Coubine and François Maurice Eberlwho found success on the Parisian art scene. It will offer previously unknown works and works by other world-renowned artists including Modigliani and Soutino. It reflects the characteristic themes of the Paris school associated with life in this interwar metropolis and is defined in time by the creation of Czechoslovakia and the end of the first republic.
- Salmovsky Palace (©Wikipedia)
The spring of 2025 should belong to the collection exhibition The Art of Asia: Across Space and Time, which will be open to visitors in the Salmov Palace. It will bring an installation of art from Asia and the Islamic world with an emphasis on cultural relations with Europe. It will focus on a new approach in the perception of Asian art, reveal the history of its collecting in the Czech lands and the topic of decolonization in the Central European area. The multicultural perspective and interdisciplinary presentation will allow visitors to look at art without a Eurocentric point of view and engage in interactive elements that promise a multisensory experience. The exhibition opens a dialogue between older and modern artistic traditions and the connection of visual arts across different disciplines.
In the framework of the project Surrealism 100: Prague, Tartu and other stories NGP will also present Czech Surrealism in Estonia. This year we commemorate the centenary of the publication of the First Manifesto of Surrealism. Prague, where the exhibition will move in an expanded form in 2026, was the second important center of this trend after Paris. Czech surrealism will be presented from its foundation to the Velvet Revolution, works by Toyen, Štírský, Makovský, Istler, Medek, Medková, Švankmajer and other artists will be exhibited.
In addition to exhibition projects, the NGP will also engage in a number of other essential activities: scientific and editorial work, digitization of collections and development of investment projects. Strategic investments are mainly about Collection care center in Jinonice, future new NGP depository. This year, the goal is to obtain a building permit and prepare documentation for the construction and selection of a contractor. Construction of the depository is expected to begin in 2026. It will also take place this year project preparation for the 1st stage of the reconstruction of the Kinski Palace exhibition spaces. It belongs to the planned investments modernization of the cooling system and lighting of the Trade Fair Palace. The Czech-Slovak pavilion in Venice was temporarily modified and roofed for the Art Biennale, whose reconstruction will continue until the beginning of 2026.
Opening photo: National Gallery in Prague (©Shutterstock)