Prague Castle's art gallery will reopen to the public for first time since 2019

One of the most popular attractions at Prague Castle will reopen to the public in January after lengthy renovations complicated by the pandemic. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 27.11.2022 15:03:00 (updated on 27.11.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

One of Prague Castle's most popular attractions has been closed to the public for more than three years but will reopen from January 2023, officials from the Prague Castle Administration told journalists this weekend.

The Prague Castle Picture Gallery dates back to Emperor Rudolf II's collection from the early 1600s, and contains one of the Czech Republic's most impressive selections of artwork including masterpieces by Titian, Rubens, Tintoretto, Veronese, Cranach, and many others.

According to Prague Castle officials, it has always been one of the most popular destinations for those visiting the Prague landmark, and contains priceless works of art by German, Dutch, and Italian masters.

The Picture Gallery closed in 2019 in preparation for extensive renovations that included repairs to the air conditioning and a temperature control system at the historic location to ensure stable conditions for the priceless artifacts it contains.

While the renovations were scheduled to take place in 2020, the pandemic put a wrinkle in those plans. The Prague Castle Administration relies on revenue from visitors to maintain the landmark, and because the castle was closed for much of 2020 and 2021, it lacked the funds for renovations to the Picture Gallery.

Over the past three years, art from the Picture Gallery has been stored in a depository for safekeeping. Earlier this summer, about half of the pieces from the Picture Gallery were presented in an exhibition at the Imperial Stables, which has been extended through December 18.

In July, the Prague Castle Administration told journalists that the reconstruction efforts were about ten million crowns short of being completed, and the reopening of the gallery was still up in the air.

"We all want the Picture Gallery to reopen, but I cannot say right now whether this will be in a year or two, in five or 40 years," Václav Beránek, head of the cultural department at the Prague Castle Administration, told journalists at the time, noting that the costs of repairs had grown to 50 million crowns.

In October, Presidential Office head Vratislav Mynář dismissed former Prague Castle Administration director Ivo Velíšek and appointed Jan Novák to temporarily take his place, with the reopening of the Picture Gallery a priority.

"I was quite upset that Picture Gallery remained closed and I consider the previous steps [taken with it] to be a gross mistake," Mynář told journalists last week.

"In a few weeks, a small technological and organisational miracle will take place. I do not doubt we can pull it off and we will welcome the first visitors [to the Picture Gallery] on January 1."

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