12. 11. 2014 – 29. 3. 2015
Cruel destiny awaited the famous collection of Rudolph II which was one of the largest ever assembled. As soon as the emperor perished, his brother and successor Matthias took the majority of the collections to Vienna and the rest passed to his younger brothers. Others with access to the castle area also took numerous items. Swedish soldiers finished the destruction when they took the rest to Stockholm to please Queen Christina.
To see the treasure which once turned Prague Castle into the mecca of art, Czech visitors must travel to the Museum of Decorative Arts in Vienna where they will find the majority of the collection. However, the collection items have been scattered all around the world, as the Swedish portion did not remain intact in a single location.
Until recently, we witnessed world auctions which sold works of art that once had been parts of Rudolph’s collection. Sadly enough, Czech public cultural institutions had no funds to regain them. The situation, however, has changed over the past decade. Enlightened private collectors emerged and were instrumental in the return of some artworks from abroad. In addition, collectors purchased more at auctions in the Czech Republic from Czech households which often had no clue about the real treasures that had embellished their walls.
Thus, the time has come to introduce works of private collectors to the public as an activity which not only brings personal satisfaction but also is a meaningful investment of money and significantly enriches our cultural heritage. It should inspire potential collectors and enable visitors of museums and galleries to enjoy outstanding works of art for a short period of time which otherwise would remain inaccessible.
On display will be works of Bartholomeus Spranger, Hans von Aachen, Joseph Heintz the Elder, Pieter Stevens, Dirk de Quade van Ravesteyn, Matthias Gundelach, and Adriaen de Vries. Furthermore, several interesting works made by unknown artists in Rudolph’s era and a collection of graphic sheets will be exhibited. The City of Prague Museum will add several exhibits from its collection.