Charles IV. Emperor Dei Gratia Culture and Art During the Reign of the Last Luxemburgs 1347-1437
The extensive exposition project organized by the Administration of the Prague Castle in cooperation with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York belongs to the most unique and most important events that took place during the last ten years.
The exhibition at the Prague Castle presents one of the most extensive and most interesting collections of the cultural heritage of the whole world. It tells about the artistic inheritance of the ruling dynasty of the Luxemburgs - whose name and activities will always be connected with Prague and with the whole vast territory of the Czech kingdom. The collection presents- for the first time in recent history- authentic Czech memorabilia originating in the Middle Ages during the reign of Charles IV and of his sons Vaclav IV. and Zikmund of Luxemburg, which had been scattered in various galleries and collections all over Europe and the USA. The exhibition consists of 216 unusually valuable artistic and historical objects from 96 local and foreign galleries, museums, libraries, universities, institutions and from private collections assembled from 11 countries. The organizers tried to present an artistic mosaic from the Luxemburg era.
Charles IV. is inseparably connected to the Prague Castle and to the history of the Czech lands and also to the history of Europe as its 14-th century representative. He influenced for many years the political, municipal and legal affairs of this part of Europe. Prague became the center and grew into a large city. Charles IV made Prague into the imperial residence of the most powerful Christian ruler of this continent. The Prague castle became the meeting place of the most famous painters, sculptors, goldsmiths and architects whose artworks could be seen all over the kingdom. The artists created- especially during the reign of Vaclav IV, and Zikmund a unified artistic totality- the international gothic style. The exhibition CHARLES IV.- EMPEROR DEI GRATIA, presents the best of the Luxemburg times. Some of the most valuable ones are the death plaque(board) of Virgin Mary from Kosatky( brought from Boston), a shrine with a thorn from the crown of Jesus Christ (from Baltimore), a voluminous manuscript about the life of St. Hedwig (from the J. Paul Getty Museum). Kaufmann's Crucifixion (from Berlin) has been loaned specifically for this exhibition.
The exhibition in New York did not include for example the Antiphonary's manuscript (from Vorau), an equestrian portrait of Emperor Zikmund of Luxemburg (from Coburg) or the protest of the Czech noblemen against the condemnation of Jan Hus (from the Edinburgh University Library)- a pivotal document about the beginning of the Hussite movement in the Czech lands.
The exposition is located in the most beautiful rooms of the Prague Castle. From the Obrazarna PH which contains plaque (board) paintings, sculpture, embroideries, jewelry, and book illuminations, the exhibition continues to the St. Vitus Cathedral, which contains special written materials. In the Permanent exhibition called the Story of the Prague Castle, located in the Old Royal Palace, you will find memorabilia concerning the reign of the royal dynasty. The Theresian Wing of the Old Royal Palace contains a collection about the daily lives of the Luxemburgs. In its lower part there is a tactile part for those visitors who are visually challenged.
The exhibition is open until May 21, 2006. There is an accompanying catalog describing the exhibition itself, as well as other happenings in the city of Prague, concerning the Luxemburg era, For eample: The International Scientific Symposium (May 9.-13.), and other exhibitions: The Luxemburgs and St. Venceslav (National Library- Klementinum), Luxemburgian Prague ( Archives of the City of Prague), Three Valuable Manuscripts From the Era of Charles IV. ( National Museum.) It also contains information about theaters, concerts, lectures and visits to other castles and chateaus. Information on line: www.karel-iv.cz.
The exhibition is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see all of these treasures as a unified whole.Olga Szsymanska
Translated by Marie
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