Cubism in Prague

House of the Black Madonna Cubism emerged as an important artistic movement in painting and sculpture in the beginning of 20th century. Pablo Picaso made his The Young Ladies of Avignon, regarded as the first cubistic painting in 1907. The movement quickly spread throught Europe, but only in Prague became so much influential, that was reflected even in the architecture.

The story of Czech Cubism is easy to be dicovered if you visit the Musem of Czech Cubism, a part of the National Gallery, which is situated in the House at the Black Madona, Ovocný trh Street, nr. 19 (close to Mustek Metro Station). The building itself is built in the cubistic style. Sharp edges and dynamical diagonales were used by the architect Josef Gocar to design such a unique building. It was built in 1911-1912, to be used as a department store.

Now, a wide-range collection of cubistic artefacts made by Czech autohors is held. There are not only paintings (by Emil Filla, Bohumil Kubišta, Antonin Prochazka) and sculptures (the most noble author is Otto Gutfreund), but also pieces of furniture or ceramics in cubistic design (Pavel Janak, Josef Gocar, Vlastislav Hofman) and even architectonic designs for different buildings. There is also situated stylish Grand Café Orient.

The most famous building in the cubistic style is the already mentioned House at the Black Madona, but it is not the only one. There were even plans to made a whole housing estate in Prague Vysehrad, which was not fully realized, but there are few buildings. Or also so called “Dum Diamant” (House Diamond) could be noticed, made by Emil Kralicek and situated in Spalena Street, this house is also striking example how cubism was applied to architecture.

Promising development of this style in former Czechoslovakia was disturbed by the break out of the First World War. But after it´s end, cubism was again remembered, now in so called “National Style”, full of colouful circles and arcs. The famous example of this style is the bank in Na Porici Street by Josef Gocar.

Cubism had a really strong influence on Czech Arts, and local architecture in this style is something really specific which would be a pitty to miss out, if you are at least a bit into architecture.

Sep 9, 20:20 (Filed under: Culture )

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