Praha: From Cubism to Art Nouveau

Powder Tower in the Old City

Today we set out to explore Prague, Czech Republic. It’s always fun to explore European cities, and when you’re in one as old as Prague, it could take years to find all the secrets the city holds. Having visited the city a few years previously I was very excited to return. Our group took a bus tour this morning, and it was fun to drive past places that me, Lindsay and Daphne saw on our trip; where we begged to park our car, where we got soaked as we searched for our hostel, and where we ate gelato on a warm summer night after getting a pizza box with George Clooney’s face on it.

Today, however, it was freezing. I don’t think I’ve even been this cold on a ski slope. After our bus/walking tour of the castle and parts of the old and new city we returned to the hotel to add a few layers. Immediately we had a family fight, likely due to our growling stomachs and freezing limbs. We returned to the subway, eager to grab some lunch and hit the two museums I had chosen. Our lunch was pretty tasty, but definitely not light, with huge sides of potato or dumpling and large portions of meat. It warmed us up, but made us dangerously drowsy.

I planned for us to hit up The House of the Black Madonna and The Mucha Museum. I chose these because of the subject matter (one is cubist and one is art nouveau), their small size, and because they will be closed tomorrow, so today was our only opportunity to check them out.

A picture of a postcard of the house and its cubist architecture

Center staircase from the bottom up...

...and the top down

The House of the Black Madonna is a house near the old center of Prague, at Celetná 34. It is a cool place to visit because it is built in the cubist style, yet it blends completely with the old architecture of the surrounding buildings. It houses two floors of permanent collection and one seasonal floor, all of Czech Cubists. One the second floor is a beautiful café, where you can come without buying any admission ticket (100 Czech Crowns), and get free internet wi-fi access and delicious food and drink. You can also easily get through all the exhibits in about an hour, so the museum size is not overwhelming.

The Mucha Museum, located at Panská 7 contains the works of Alphonse Mucha, founder of the Art Nouveau style. It’s a small museum, one floor, about 30/45 minutes to go through the whole exhibit. The posters are phenomenal, and I particularly enjoyed some of the works he created upon returning to Czech Republic that contained traditional folk symbols and beautiful artistic figures that have the ability to connect with the viewer (even if you aren’t aware of the symbols and can’t read the language). One piece of advice, always bring a student ID. I paid half price (80 Czech crowns vs. 160), simply for showing my ID. They don’t need to know I’ve been out of school for a year and a half…

Maybe next time I'll hit up this museum

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