Line, Light, Shade
Selected Masterpieces of European Prints and Drawings from the 16th and 17th Centuries
In the recently reopened Schwarzenberg Palace, new space has been reserved for short-term exhibitions of Old Masters artworks from the Collection of Prints and Drawings. This space has substituted the former Graphic Cabinet situated on the palace’s second floor, where for ten years works on paper were shown in the form of monographic and thematic displays.
The Collection of Prints and Drawings administers the National Gallery Prague’s most extensive holdings that currently total more than 400 000 prints, drawings, albums, illustrated books, and related works. German and Dutch and Flemish graphic art of the 16th century, engravings and drawings of Rudolfine Mannerism, as well as an outstanding body of works by Wenceslaus Hollar form one of the pillars of the Old Masters collection. Italian Renaissance drawing is represented by a number of remarkable pieces, and the corpus of Italian graphic art of the 17th and 18th centuries is equally invaluable. The Collection preserves unique masterpieces of Bohemian provenance and an important collection of German and Austrian drawings and prints of the 17th and 18th centuries.
The opening exhibition will present in two stages selected masterpieces from the periods of the Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque and Neoclassicism. The first instalment features for example prints by the genius of the German Renaissance, Albrecht Dürer, whose output inspired other German artists in their impressive drawings and engravings. The famous self-portrait of Giuseppe Arcimboldo stands out from the displayed 16th-century Italian drawings; this superb drawing will be on view only during the first weeks of the exhibition, for reasons of its protection. Presented drawings and engravings of Dutch and Rudolfine Mannerism are still attractive today for their distinctive subjects and meticulous execution.
In the exhibition’s second instalment, to be presented next year, chefs-d’oeuvre of the Baroque epoch will be presented to the public.
In this curatorial selection of masterpieces, the variability of styles, subject matter, formats and techniques serves also as an invitation and prelude to a multifarious exhibition programme that the Collection plans to hold in this new Graphic Cabinet in the following years.
A Czech and English catalogue has been published to accompany the exhibition, which presents the works shown in both stages of the exhibition and also discusses the history of NGP's Collection of Prints and Drawings.
Curator: Petra Zelenková
Cooperation: Lenka Babická, Blanka Kubíková, Dalibor Lešovský, Alena Volrábová, Martin Zlatohlávek