Significant works of art are exhibited in the Prague Castle Gallery. Originally a collection of Emperor Rudolph II., it changed many times through the centuries. Nowadays, there are paintings arranged according to the school they belong to: the Dutch school, the German school, the Italian school etc. plus several works of art from the original collection of Rudolph II.
The entrance of the gallery is situated at the 2 nd Prague Castle Courtyard. There were imperial stables originally, where Rudolph II. kept his Spanish horses. There are also remains of the former Church of Our Lady from the 9 th century, the oldest stone building in Prague.
Collection of Emperor Rudolph II.
Emperor Rudolph II. made Prague Castle his residence and he collected about 3000 valuable paintings from the 16 th century. There were Italian, German and Dutch works of art, a collection of paintings by A. Dürer and many paintings by emperor´s court artists, such as H. van Aachen, J. Heintz or B. Spranger.
After Rudolph II.´s death, his successor Matthias brought most of the pictures to Vienna. The paintings that stayed in Prague were taken away as a war booty by the Swedish army during the Thirty Years´ War. Only few pictures from the original collection can be seen at the Prague Castle Gallery nowadays: for example paintings by P. Veronese, A. Dürer or The Last Judgment by J. Heintz.
Art of the 17 th century
The collection was enlarged again in 1650. Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria bought over 500 paintings in Antwerp for his brother Emperor Ferdinand III. The works of art were from the collection of Duke of Buckingham. Paintings from the 17 th century by artists such as Rubens, Rembrandt or Tizian were among them. However, some pictures from this collection were also brought to Vienna later and placed in the imperial gallery there.
Baroque art and Czech paintings
After the independent Czechoslovakia was founded in 1918, the collection was enriched with newly bought Baroque paintings and works of Czech art of the 19 th century. Some more pictures were bought after the World War II.
Prague Castle Gallery at the present time
The collection of the Prague Castle Gallery has almost 4000 items nowadays. Only 107 most valuable of them are displayed since 1998. You can see the remains of the original collection of Rudolph II. in the first room of the gallery.
The Prague Castle Gallery is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm. The entrance fee is 150,-CZK. You can also visit it as a part of the sightseeing tour of the Prague Castle, which includes several other historical buildings.