A joint project of the National Museum and the House of Bavarian History, the Czech-Bavarian regional exhibition follows the exhibition in Regensburg, Germany, but also brings baroque treasures from the collections of the National Museum and from Czech and foreign lenders. The rare exhibition of unique works of art, organized into six thematic units, breaks down stereotypical ideas about the Baroque as a period of darkness and political conflicts and highlights the epochal boom presenting both countries as a common cultural space united by mutual inspiration.

The story of the Baroque in the National Museum is an exhibition of outstanding works of art that presents both countries, Bohemia and Bavaria as part of a unified area of Baroque culture in Central Europe. The exhibition is divided into six thematic parts in four halls of the Historical Building of the National Museum.

The selected Baroque monuments that have been curated for this exhibition collectively tell the story of a great cultural epoch that could not be shackled by territorial borders or conflicts of power. The Baroque was more than just an artistic or architectural style; it was a complete lifestyle that, in the wake of the traumas inflicted by the Thirty Years’ War, transformed Central Europe into a crossroads of spiritual influences and artistic ideas. Bohemia and Bavaria were turned into a huge building site and artistic workshop in about 1700. This new dynamic art, so abundant in form, has shaped the world we call home, as – despite the intervening quarter of a millennium – Central Europe remains a Baroque landscape. Many artists, among them members of the Dientzenhofer architectural dynasty and the Asam brothers, have left us their works in both Bavaria and Bohemia. Bohemians and Germans alike would flock to pilgrimage sites in both lands. John of Nepomuk, the Bohemian Baroque saint, also became the patron saint of Bavaria in the year of his canonisation (1729).

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Bohemia and Bavaria enjoyed wide-ranging social, economic and, of course, political ties. Though it was not always idyllic. In 1620, Duke Maximilian I of Bavaria helped the Habsburg Emperor to suppress a revolt by the Bohemian estates and, in doing so, earned himself an electoral hat. In 1741, Maximilian’s great-grandson, Charles Albert, invaded Prague with the French army and had himself proclaimed the new King of Bohemia. This episode symbolically brought the curtain down on the Baroque era in the relations between the two lands.

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