Landscape of Prague Castle- Hiding a Story of Nazi Hatred

ARTIST Unknown

deceased 1991

TITLE

Painting of Prague Castle and River

 DATE

1920

 MEDIUM

Oil on canvas  

 DIMENSIONS

Width 26 1/8” x Height 16 1/2” Depth 1/2”. (66.40 cm x 41.91 cm, 1.27 cm)

 CREDIT LINE

Michael Zargarov

CURRENT LOCATION

Czech Center Museum 4920 San Jacinto St. Houston, TX 77004 Prague Hall

 ACCESSION NUMBER

PU74

 

CLASSIFICATION

Painting

 

PROVENANCE

The piece was gifted by the nephew of the artist to Michael Zargarov, the piece was located at the painter’s house in Jindrichuv- Hradec until the time of his death.


Prague Castle and River

Prague Castle and River

This beautiful 1920’s oil painting is a fine piece of history to Czechoslovakia’s past as it has an amazing story to share. The Prague Castle is recognized as a World UNESCO Heritage Site together with the Historic Center of Prague and is considered to be the most important cultural instituition in all of the Czech Republic.  The founding of the castle dates approximately to the 9th century, being constructed by Prince Bořivoj of the Premyslid Dynasty. Since its founding, the castle complex has undergone many architectural changes, including the addition of a palace and several religious churches. One of the most prominent buildings within the castle is the vast and all inspiring Gothic masterpiece, St. Vitus Cathedral.  The cathedral is the centerpiece of the painting, standing not only in the center but also as the largest and tallest structure within the piece of art. Other architectural marvels include St. George’s Basilica, with its two Romanesque towers, adjacent to St. Vitus Cathedral and on the very edge of the painting, the St. Nicholas Church. Since 1918 the Prague Castle has been the official office of the head of the state, the president of the Czech Republic.  

The artist who painted this scenery of work truly grasps the beauty of the area. By using shadowing techniques along the water, the painter wanted to established a real live sense that the world is moving through the stillness of the buildings in the midst of that is changing. The painting also demonstrates the beautiful landscape surrounding the castle complex, including the trees r and the historic homes along the river.    Although the painting appears to be in good condition, there is some residue of damage visible in the lower right corner.  According to the donor, the piece was stabbed by a German soldier in WWII with the purpose of indicating the Gestapo Headquarters with a knife.Interestingly, the city of Prague commemorates a different building as the headquarters of the Gestapo, Petschek Palace. This building is located in the center of the city, far away from the Prague Castle and the area depicted in the painting. Nonetheless, this work of art still survives and lives to tell it’s story here at the Czech Center Museum Houston.