Prague districts offer possible sites for Slav Epic

The Slav epic, photo: Filip Jandourek

Prague City Hall has once again opened up the question of where to house the famous Slav Epic by painter Alfons Mucha. On Thursday, mayor Adriana Krnáčová suggested that the series of 20 paintings could temporarily return to the castle of Moravský Krumlov, where they had been on display until 2011. In the meantime, the mayor wants to find a suitable permanent space to exhibit the works.

The Slav epic,  photo: Filip Jandourek
Alfons Mucha, who regarded the Slav epic as his lifetime achievement, dedicated the series of paintings to the city of Prague in 1928 on condition that a suitable place in the capital was found to exhibit them. To this day, however, Prague City Hall has not able to reach a decision on where to display the large canvases, depicting the history of the Slav peoples.

In 2012, the works returned from the castle of Moravský Krumlov, where they had been on display since 1948. But instead of a tailor made exhibition space, they have been on show at the National Gallery’s Veletržní palác. And soon the painting are due to quit Prague altogether for what is likely to be a long Asian tour.

Vladislava Hujová,  photo: Archive of Prague 3 district
On Thursday, Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová said she had commissioned the Prague Institute of Planning and Development to select potential suitable localities for the Slav Epic. The mayor has previously suggested that there was a place for a new gallery in the capital.

Vladislava Hujová, the mayor of Prague 3 district, this week suggested that the works could be displayed at a new pavilion at Vítkov Hill, next to the National Memorial.

“Prague has two places representing the state, Prague Castle and the Vítkov Monument and I think it would be symbolic to complement the monument with a pavilion for Mucha’s Slav Epic. It is a disgrace that 90 years after Mucha donated his monumental series to the Czech nation, Prague has not been able to build a suitable place for it.”

Oldřich Lomecký,  photo: Archive of Prague 1 district
Another suggestion came from the mayor of Prague 1, Oldřich Lomecký, who says the new exhibition space could be created as part of a larger project to revitalize Revoluční street in the city centre:

“The new zone would start at Náměstí Republiky square and end at the bank of the Vltava River. We already have plans for a new building designed by the architect Eva Jiřičná, but there is another plot owned by the city, where a spa used to be sited. We would like to use that space for a public building, such as a gallery, and we suggested it could also be the place that could house the Slav Epic.”

The Slav Epic will be on display in Prague’s Veletržní palác until the end of the year, before it leaves the country for a travelling exhibition in China and Japan. It is not yet clear when exactly the pictures will be returning to Prague.