When the Emperor is Dying
The exhibition commemorates Emperor Charles IV and his time.Location: Czech Museum of Music, Karmelitská 2/4, Praha 1
It may seem to be a little paradoxical that the National Museum is contributing to the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of the birth of Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, with an exhibition dedicated primarily to the death of this monarch. However, it was Charles’s demise in 1378 that opened the way to historical immortality for the great ruler. Charles’s death and the splendorous festivities accompanying his spectacular funeral defined the way his contemporaries viewed his life and deeds as a whole.
From the Exhibition
During the reign of Charles IV, the Czech lands underwent significant cultural, artistic, economic and social development. Charles concentrated his efforts on Prague, which, given its area, population and number of prime buildings, belonged, without exaggeration, among the most important cities of the empire in the second half of the 14th century. The exhibition, emblematically entitled When the Emperor is Dying, focuses on these aspects of Charles’s reign. It introduces selected monuments of the material culture of the 14th and 15th centuries from the National Museum’s collections, supplemented by loans from other public institutions and private owners. Individual sections of the exhibition are dedicated to: society in Czech lands during the High Middle Ages; its growth and prosperity in the context of the four last things of man; the process of dying; and the – at that time – irreplaceable role of the church.
From the Exhibition
The exhibition theme concentrates on the key moment of Charles’s death and funeral, including a ceremonial funeral procession and individual funeral ceremonies. The exhibition further presents a rich collection of textiles from the royal burial chamber in Prague Castle. The eternal memory of Charles’s deeds is represented in the works of numerous artists, especially those from the 19th century, related to the grandeur of his “second life”.