Bohemian Baroque making a comeback

The National Gallery in Prague will be opening it's largest exhibition of the year 2001 this Friday. Labeled "The Glory of the Baroque in Bohemia", it includes exhibitions at four different venues in Prague and will also be featuring various theatre productions, readings, conferences and events within the city as well as around the Bohemian countryside. Pavla Navratilova visited the exhibition and brings back this report.

The Baroque period in the 17th and 18th centuries was one of the most fruitful in Bohemia's cultural history. It has left a rich legacy including music, painting, architecture and theatre, and to this day you can see literally hundreds of Baroque churches and country houses around the country. So the National Gallery's major exhibition profiling the Baroque in Bohemia is one of this year's most important cultural events.

I talked to the general curator of exhibition, Vit Vlnas, and asked him what visitors can expect from this year's exhibit.

"I think that visitors can expect all the best of the Bohemian Baroque... not only fine arts but also very interesting items from the history of literature, from the history of daily life and private life, and from the history of music and theatre."

The exhibition will also feature various special events in and around the Czech capital city. Pilgrimages to Baroque churches, regional projects around the country, national radio programs, and an international conference are all planned for the year.

"We can find not only set of exhibitions in Prague, but there's also a great group of other exhibitions, of other cultural events especially concerts, theatre, and many, many others... not only in Prague but in whole of Bohemia during in this year."

This exhibition fits hand in hand with another huge exhibition that can be currently found in Prague... Ten Centuries of Architecture, showing at the Castle. In terms of putting something of this size together, Mr. Vlnas explained the scope of the National Gallery's Bohemian Baroque project, which has been in the making since 1997.

"It is quite a huge exhibition... the greatest that has ever been done in National Gallery in Prague. This idea for the exhibition [was] born originally from the present state of research in Baroque and the need of inter-disciplinary methods in Baroque studies."

And how important is the Bohemian Baroque period of the 17th and 18th centuries here in Czech Republic?

"In Bohemia, it's quite substantial period because art of Baroque in Bohemia and the culture of Baroque in Bohemia is the origin from which issues our present situation. Baroque transformed and created landscape of Bohemia, but also mental landscape... the mentality of modern Czech nation. That's why it's [a] very important topic."

And this exhibit and accompanying events run from April right through to October. To hear more about this Baroque in Bohemia, tune into future editions of Radio Prague "The Arts."

Author: Pavla Navrátilová
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