The "Glory of the Baroque Czechia" exhibition to open next month

Culturally minded people in the Czech Republic are at present anticipating one of the biggest projects planned for the year 2001, a large-scale exhibition called The Glory of Baroque Czechia. At a festive ceremony on Tuesday, the Minister of Culture, Pavel Dostal, the Prague Mayor Jan Kasl and the Director of Prague National Gallery, Milan Knizak signed an agreement under which the three institutions will concertedly organize this highly significant event. Alena Skodova has this report:

The exhibition, which will open in late April and will last till the end of October, is the brainchild of the National Gallery in Prague. Although a long time has passed, this year's event ideologically follows a similar exhibition of Czech Baroque art that took place in Czechoslovakia back in 1938 as well as minor displays organized both at home and abroad over the past 60 years. Unlike those exhibitions, though, this year's event will not only focus on the most important Baroque paintings and sculptures, but it will also present drawings, graphics, arts and crafts, books and original architectonic plans.

The result will thus not be the chronological development of Baroque art, but a wide scale of exhibits of all kinds. They will be displayed in a number of places, such as St. George monastery, the Kinsky palace and in the Wallenstein Riding Hall to name but a few, and on display will be more than 1,700 original exhibits from the 17th and 18th centuries. The Glory of Baroque Czechia will not be exhibitions only - there will be many accompanying programmes, such as concerts, lectures, theatre performances, re-creations of Baroque festivities as well as other events organized by various institutions. One of them will be a play by Christopher Marlowe, "The Tragic History of Doctor Faustus", which will be performed by Prague's Comedy Theatre in the open-air arena at Vysehrad - a former fortress above the Vltava river.

Czech Baroque art will also be shown abroad, in the Czech centres throughout the world. I spoke with the Head of the Czech Centres, Zdenek Matejka:

"This year, it will be exhibited in London, but it has already been shown in New York, and then, although it's not exactly the Czech Centre, there will be an exhibition on Czech Baroque in Dublin, Ireland."

And what about other countries?

"Well, we have our centres in the Hague, where it has already been shown, then in Munich, Dresden and Budapest, and our exhibition will also take place in Paris, Vienna, Brussels, Bucharest, Moscow and Sophia. And through the cultural sections of the Czech embassies, Czech Baroque will also be shown in Buenos Aires, in Kosice, Slovakia and in Sarajevo."

Do the Czech centres entice tourists to visit Prague?

"Of course, that's our main aim, and the exhibition of Czech Baroque art might largely contribute to this, because we'll show the visitors to the Czech centres only photos, but if they want to see the buildings and all the other things, if they want to see exhibitions, if they want to hear Baroque music and see the city itself, then of course, they'll have to visit Prague in person."