Rare Drawings Portray the Quiet Corners of Lost Prague

Last chance to see a unique exhibit capturing the forgotten beauty of what are now some of the most touristy streets in Prague

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas Published on 18.05.2017 12:07:27 (updated on 18.05.2017) Reading time: 2 minutes

Steal a glimpse into the private patios and courtyards of Old Town, Lesser Town, Stromovka, Old Podskalí, and the Petrské náměstí districts of Prague, one hundred years ago before thatched cottages and blooming pear trees succumbed to war and the inevitable modernization.

This is the world of artist Jan Honsa, whose cycle of more than 200 extraordinarily beautiful line drawings capture Prague as it was in the early 20th century—showing many of the vanished or substantially reconstructed corners of the Czech capital.

35 Jungmannova Street
35 Jungmannova Street

Sixty of those works are on view throughout May for the first time in history at Prague’s Vratislav Palace, a Baroque palace with terraced gardens in Malá Strana.


Honsa, a Czech painter and graphic artist, was born in 1876. He studied at the Academy of Arts in Prague and spent time in France, where he devoted himself to landscape painting.

But from 1914 to 1917 the peasant son of farmers from Běstovice captured Prague with extraordinary precision and splendor.

Courtyard of U Milosrdných Street (Today St. Agnes Convent)
Courtyard of U Milosrdných Street (Today St. Agnes Convent)

The exhibit lets visitors peek into the courtyards of the Pachtův Palace before it became a luxury hotel, the back yards of ancient homes in Prague Castle’s Nový Svět quarter, or see a rare view of Petřín, encompassing Lobkowicz Palace and the rooftops of Lesser Town, painted from the vantage point of a Malá Strana window.

4 Kapucínská Street, Nový Svět
4 Kapucínská Street, Nový Svět

Numerous drawings also feature the heavily touristed streets of Old Town including Karlova, Melantrichova, and Liliova as you have never seen them before, completely devoid of crowds and souvenir blight.

In case you miss the exhibition, a book and an interactive map let enthusiasts explore the Jan Honsa Prague cycle of drawings further.

The artist, who died in 1937, is best known for the unusual mix of European Impressionism and rural Czech Art Nouveau he brought to his paintings.

1 Melantrichova Street, Old Town
1 Melantrichova Street, Old Town

Vratislavský palác
Tržiště 13
118 00 Praha 1–Malá Strana
Exhibit ends May 31 and is on daily execpt Monday from 11:00-19:00.
Entry is 50 Kč.

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