The National Gallery in Prague – Schwarzenberg Palace

Photos: Vladimír Lacena (OHP)

Address: Hradčanské náměstí 2, Praha 1
Year: 1555–1576
Architects: Agostino Galli (also known as Augustin Vlach); Tomáš Šantavý (reconstruction)

The Municipal Palace was built according to the plans of architect Augustin Vlach and funded by investor Jan Popel of Lobkowicz Jr. during 1555–1576, on the property where four patrician houses originally stood. It is probably the best preserved Renaissance palace in Prague. The monumental building is divided into two perpendicular wings in the shape of the letter T. Starting in the courtyard, the palace is closed in by the lower initial farming building and separated by a solid wall with a gate from the square. The main wings are rounded by lunette cornices which are richly profiled shields. The palace has unexpectedly small windows and facade which are covered by rustic graffito ornaments.

The palace was own by the Schwarzenberg family in 1719 and its interiors were rebuilt in Baroque style designed by Marcantonio Canevalle. Other modifications were introduced by Antonio Erhard Martinelli and Thomas Haffenecker. Architect Josef Schulz projected the reparation of sgraffito during the end of the 19th century. Despite its impressiveness and the richness of the interior decoration, the palace was not used to house the Schwarzenbergs and it was then leased to the Technical Museum in 1909. It was severely damaged during World War II and it served as the Military Museum after the war until 2002. Architect Tomáš Šantavý reconstructed the exhibition space for the art of baroque and opened it to the public in 2008, after the building was given to National Gallery in Prague.