The House at the Black Madonna

Located at Ovocný Trh in Prague’s Old Town, the House at the Black Madonna is a must-see destination on any proper visit to Prague. Walking down the Celetná Street, you won’t overlook the Prague’s first Cubist building, a masterpiece of Cubist architecture designed by Joseph Gočár between 1911 and 1912 as a manifesto of modern architecture. It was named after the original house that stood on the site. Don’t hesitate to step inside to explore the amazing Cubist interior. Until recently it housed a long-term exhibition of Czech Cubist art on three floors of the building, which was moved to make way for a selection of works from the collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts.

In contrast to the Parisian Cubist movement, which mainly focused on paintings, the Czech Cubism experimented in all art fields: paintings, sculptures, architecture, and last but not least, applied art. The fascinating Czech Cubist art of the era includes paintings by Emil Filla and Bohumil Kubišta, bronze statues by Otto Gutfreund, furniture by Josef Gočár, ceramics by Pavel Janák; some of these will be incorporated into the permanent exhibition of the National Gallery at Veletržní Palace.

The importance of Czech cubism consists in that although Czech artists were influenced by Pablo Picasso’s and George Braque’s plastic studies, they managed to create their own unique style thus transforming Prague a major avant-garde center in the early 20th century. Make sure to stop in the Grand Café Orient on the first floor, whose interior will immerse you in the spirit of the era. The setting was recreated on the original design by Gočár himself.

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