September 4, 2007

Prague’s Museum of Decorative Arts

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:21 am by classicalmusic

Most visitors to Prague miss this gem of a museum.

The Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts

Tourists visiting Prague generally go for the National Museum of Arts and the Clementinum (the National Library), but most of them never even hear about the Museum of Decorative Arts.  Although it is listed in all the guide books, and it is located close to the Smetena Museum and the old Jewish Quarter, it is one of those places that ordinary tourists simply don’t have time to see.

I was fortunate enough to have been advised by a friend who lives in Prague to be sure to get there.  Firstly, she told me, there will not be a lot of people inside, and you can see all the exhibits without fighting a crowd.  Secondly, she added, from the toilets one gets the best-ever view of the old Jewish Cemetary!  Well, she was right in both respects.  I got there around 10:30 a.m. and was the only visitor, although a few more showed up later.  The museum’s permanent exhibits are on the first floor which means climbing two flights of monumental stairs.  But once you have made the climb, it is definitely worth the effort.  There is a very large, long rectangular room with old, old tapestries hung along the walls while down the center is a huge glass enclosed display of fashions for brides and grooms beginning with the 1700’s and going all through to the 1940’s.  The materials on the bride and groom mannikins are magnificent, many of the older ones having been completely handmade.

For porcelain, glass and crystal lovers there is a large room holding magnificent displays of old Czech crystal table ware and decorative pieces and gorgeous sets of porcelain from all over Europe including Delft and Limoges.  However, my favorite room was the one that held all kinds of old clocks, watches, sextants, compasses, etc.  Many of them dated as far back as the 13th century and all of them were absolutely fascinating and wondrous to behold.

On the ground floor of the museum there are two large rooms for temporary exhibits.  The day I was there, they were showing handblown glass figures, some of them huge, by two contemporary Czech artists – all of the figures were either creepy crawly things like beetles, bees, spiders, etc. or fish.  Although the blown glass was really beautiful, creepy crawlies are not my cup of tea, so I went through the two rooms very quickly.  If you are in Prague and have the time, visit this 17th century palazzo-style building that holds the Museum of Decorative Arts.

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2 Comments »

  1. Nice article. Thanks for taking us on a tour to the Museum of Decorative Arts. It was like being there for real and seeing the art works. I hope to visit Prague soon.

  2. Rupertcd said,

    nice work, dude


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