Saturday, November 1, 2008

Photo Scapbook: Prague, Part II

I'm in the main hall of the Czech National Museum, located at the upper end of Wenceslas Square in Prague. During the 1968 Warsaw Pact Intervention, the main facade was severely damaged during the Soviet takeover of the country.
On our last day in Prague we walked through Wenceslas Square; the Soviet takeover was on the steps of the Czech National Museum and in the Square. Today, people stroll past shops and restaurants, like the one behind me in a converted streetcar.

Our afternoon visit to the Alphonse Mucha art museum was extremely interesting. The Mucha Foundation was established in 1992 to honor the Czech artist's Art Nouveau work; the museum opened in 1998 and beautifully presents many of Mucha's significant posters, including The Arts 1898 and several of the Parisian artist Sarah Bernhardt. His first poster of Bernhardt portrayed her in the role of Gismonda; his last poster for her was Hamlet. In 1908 Mucha gave a series of lectures at the Chicago Art Institute; he and his wife Maruska lived with the family of A. V. Cerny. Cerny's daughter Zdenka was a gifted cellist, who Mucha promised to paint when she became a virtuoso concert artist. The portrait was painted when she was 16 and used as the basis for the poster advertising the European tour she was to take in 1914-1915. However, the tour was cancelled when war broke out in Europe.

After exiting the Golden Lane on our Prague Castle tour, we came upon this contemporary sculpture - the skull symbolizes how decades of Communist domination "killed" the people of the Czech Republic.

A highlight of our tour was visiting Prague Castle complex, one of the largest fortresses in the world. It was founded in the 9th century with many additions over the centuries; it is a grand complex of Romanesque, Gothic Renaissance and Baroque elements.

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

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