The Lobkowicz Palace in Prague Castle
|Established||April 25, 1550|
|Location||Prague, Czech Republic|
|Collections||The Lobkowicz Collections|
|Founder||Jaroslav of Pernstejn (1528-1569)|
|Public transit access||Metro stop Malostranska (A Line), Tram stop Malostranska (# 5,12,18,20,22)|
The Lobkowicz Palace, (Czech: Lobkowický palác) the only privately owned building in the Prague Castle complex, is home to the Lobkowicz Collections and Museum, the Lobkowicz Palace Café, Midday Classic Concert and Museum Gift Shop, as well as numerous room venues for private functions.
The Lobkowicz Palace was built in the second half of the 16th century by the Czech nobleman Jaroslav of Pernštejn (1528-1569) and completed by his brother, Vratislav of Pernštejn (1530-1582), the chancellor of the Czech Kingdom. After undergoing a variety of renovations and a fruitful history, it was opened to the public for the very first time on April 2, 2007, as the Lobkowicz Palace Museum.
The Museum offers visitors the opportunity to explore the history of Europe through the unique perspective of The Lobkowicz Collections and the Lobkowicz family. Set in 22 galleries, the Museum displays a selection of some of the finest pieces from The Collections, including many of international significance.
Highlights from the Museum include works by masters such as Antonio Canaletto, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Lucas Cranach the Elder, and Diego Velázquez; a display of family and royal portraits; fine porcelain, ceramics and rare decorative arts dating from the 16th to 19th centuries; an extensive collection of military and sporting rifles from the 16th to 18th centuries; and musical instruments, original scores and manuscripts by Beethoven and Mozart, including Beethoven’s 3rd (Eroica), 4th and 5th symphonies, as well as Mozart’s hand written re-orchestration of Handel’s Messiah.
Visitors are ushered through the galleries by the museum's very popular audio guide, which explains important details of European history and the seven-hundred-year history of the Lobkowicz family, including the dramatic story of how the family lost everything twice and got it back twice. Narrated by two generations of the Lobkowicz family and the Chief Curator of The Collections, the free audio guide is always highly recommended by visitors from all over the world.
The oldest and largest privately owned art collection in the Czech Republic, The Lobkowicz Collections draws its significance from its comprehensive nature, which reflects the cultural, social, political and economic life of Central Europe for over seven centuries. With the passage of the restitution laws in the early 1990s, it became possible for the Lobkowicz family to reassemble most of The Collections, making them available to the public in a family context after more than 50 years.
Encompassing almost every field, The Collections feature world-famous paintings by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Pieter Brueghel the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Elder, Canaletto, Bellotto, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Lucas Cranach the Younger, Rubens, Veronese and many others, medieval and Renaissance works of art, ceramics spanning five centuries and exceptional arms and armor.
It also includes a library as well as a collection of musical instruments and autograph manuscripts by many of the greatest composers of the 18th and early 19th centuries, including Beethoven and Mozart.
The Lobkowicz Collections comprise approximately 1,500 paintings, including iconic images by Brueghel the Elder and Canaletto; the finest collection of Spanish portraits outside Madrid and Vienna; representative works by Veronese, Velázquez, Rubens, Bellotto, and Cranach; Central European portraits by Hans von Aachen and the School of Prague; Dutch, Flemish and German genre paintings; and over 50 paintings and watercolors of Lobkowicz residences by Croll.
The paintings collection is dominated by three works of art that may be considered fundamental to the history of painting. These are Haymaking (1565) by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1520/25-1569) and two panoramic views of London by Giovanni Antonio Canale, called Canaletto (1697-1768).
Other noteworthy highlights from The Collections include Hygieia Nourishing the Sacred Serpent (c. 1614) by the Flemish master, Sir Peter Paul Rubens, The Virgin and Child with Saints Barbara and Catherine (c. 1520) by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery (c. 1530) by Lucas Cranach the Younger, Caritas Romana (early-mid 16th century) by Georg Pencz and exquisite smaller paintings such as A Village in Winter (c. 1600) by Pieter Brueghel the Younger and St. Martin Dividing his Cloak (1611) by Jan Brueghel the Elder. Venetian painting of the 16th century is represented by Paolo Veronese's David with the Head of Goliath (1575).
A prayerful Madonna by Giovanni Battista Salvi, called Sassoferrato (1609-1685) and paintings by Francesco del Cairo, Antonia Zanchi and Giovanni Paolo Pannini are highlights of the Italian baroque collection. The principal Lobkowicz residences and estates—Roudnice nad Labem, Nelahozeves, Jezeří and Bilina—are depicted in oils and watercolors, commissioned from the 19th-century German painter Carl Robert Croll.
The portraits contained in The Collections reveal the most about the Lobkowicz family's participation in European political and cultural life. An outstanding component of the paintings collection are the full-length Spanish portraits of Pernstejns, Lobkowiczes, Rožmberks and related members of European and ruling Habsburg dynasties by leading European painters including Alonso Sánchez Coello, Juan Pantoja de la Cruz, Jacob Seisenegger and Hans Krell. Among the portraits created in the 17th and the 18th century is the charming Spanish Infanta Margarita Theresa (c. 1655), attributed to Diego Velázquez (1599-1660). Later paintings of members of the Lobkowicz family are by the leading Viennese portraitists of the 19th century such as Franz Schrotzberg and Friedrich von Amerling.
While not as well known as the paintings, books and music associated with the Lobkowiczes, decorative and sacred arts objects, dating from the 13th through the 20th centuries, form a significant part of The Collections.
During the forced occupations of Czechoslovakia by the Nazis and the later period of Communist rule, the private chapels in the family’s principal residences were desecrated and their contents dispersed. Important artifacts survived, including a 12th-century reliquary cross of rock crystal and gilded copper. The gold reliquary head of a female saint, possibly St. Ursula, dated c. 1300, was found in a trunk of theatrical props and recognized for the ancient treasure it is. This treasure, today, known as the Jezeri Bust, is now on display.
Late-Renaissance and early-baroque ceramics from Italy feature prominently in The Collections. Several pieces of colorful Deruta ware are considered to be some of the earliest Italian ceramics brought back to Bohemia. Ordered during a trip to Italy in 1551, the pieces are colorfully decorated with an image of a bull, which was the Pernstejn family crest.
By the late 17th century, Chinese hard-paste porcelain had become the great obsession of European rulers and aristocrats. The Dutch workshops at Delft created tin-glazed earthenware that was an early European imitation of the expensive Chinese ware. Around 1680 when he was Imperial Envoy to the Netherlands, Wenzel Ferdinand, Count Lobkowicz of Bilina, commissioned a personalized service, which was designed with intricate overlapping letters of his initials WL. The set today, with its 150 pieces, is today the largest surviving Delft dinner service. A selection of pieces can be viewed at the Lobkowicz Palace Museum in Prague. In the spring of 2000, over sixty pieces from this service were lent to the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, to be displayed as part of The Glory of the Golden Age exhibition.
The famous Meissen factory outside Dresden finally discovered how to produce authentic hard-paste porcelain for the first time outside of Asia in the first decade of the 18th century. The factory’s proximity to the Lobkowicz landholdings and castles helped encourage the prevalence of 18th- and 19th-century examples in The Collections, ranging from the earlier delicate chinoiserie motifs to the more traditional European elements and designs with fruits and flowers.
Some of the most refined cabinetmaking and marquetry in The Collections come from the Eger craftsmen who worked in Western Bohemia throughout the 17th century. Several Eger jewelry cabinets rank among the finest ever produced. Other remarkable pieces include caskets, tables and games boards, which are lavishly inlaid with ivory, mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell, depicting exquisite landscapes, animals and classical motifs.
The Music Archive, contained within The Lobkowicz Archives, holds over 5,000 items. Originally housed in The Lobkowicz Library at the principal family seat of Roudnice Castle, the entire archive was confiscated first by the Nazis in 1941, and again under the Communist regime, which sent it to the Museum of Czech Music. In October 1998, the Music Archive was physically returned to the family in its entirety and moved to Nelahozeves Castle under the auspices of the Roudnice-Lobkowicz Foundation.
The Music Archive, begun by Ferdinand August, the 3rd Prince, was assembled over three centuries by principal members of the family who were not only great patrons but also enthusiastic collectors, and often talented performers. The Music Archive contains works by over five hundred composers and musicians. These include a rare collection of late 17th- and early 18th-century lute, mandolin and guitar scores. This collection, regarded as the world’s largest private collection of baroque music for plucked instruments, is particularly rich in works by French composers, such as E. and D. Gaultier, St. Luc, Ch. Mouton, J. de Gallot, and others. The Music Archive is most celebrated, however, for its late 18th- and early 19th-century collection, including works by Handel, Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven.
Philip Hyacinth, the 4th Prince, and his second wife, Anna Wilhelmina Althan, were both distinguished lutenists and he an accomplished composer as well. The Prince and the Princess were both taught by some of the finest contemporary lutenists, including Sylvius Leopold Weiss and Andreas Bohr, and their fine period instruments still reside in The Collections. Their son, Ferdinand Philip played the glass harmonica and championed the gifted son of one of the family's foresters, the remarkable opera composer Christoph Willibald Gluck.
The family member who had the greatest impact on the history of Western music, however, was undoubtedly the 7th Prince, Joseph Franz Maximilian. A talented singer, violinist and cellist, the 7th Prince was the great patron of Beethoven. Beethoven dedicated the 3rd (Eroica), the 5th, and the 6th (Pastoral) symphonies to the Prince, as well as other works.
It was the annual stipend provided by the Prince (and continued by his son until the composer’s death), supplemented by support from the Archduke Rudolf and Prince Kinsky, that allowed Beethoven the freedom to compose without dependence on commissions and time-consuming teaching.
In addition to the manuscripts and printed music, The Collections include musical instruments from house orchestras that performed in the various family residences at Jezeří and Roudnice in Northern Bohemia, but principally in Vienna where the Lobkowicz Palace was unequalled in the quality of its performances and the sophistication of its audiences.
On display at Lobkowicz Palace in Prague are lutes from the 16th and 17th centuries by Maler, Tieffenbrucker and Unverdorben; a 17th-century guitar; violins of Italian, German and Czech origin (Gasparo da Salo, Stainer, Eberle, Hellmer, Rauch); contrabasses from Edlinger and Stainer; Guarneri and Kulik violoncelli; 18th-century Viennese wind instruments and a pair of copper martial kettledrums. A notable highlight of the collection is a magnificent suite of six richly decorated silver trumpets made in 1716 by Leichamschneider of Vienna – one of only two documented sets in existence.
The Nelahozeves Castle Music Room displays a spinet, a contrabass by Posch and other string instruments as well as two pair of copper and bronze kettledrums.
Arms & Armor
From the late Renaissance until the land reforms of the 20th century, the great estates of Bohemia and Moravia, with their vast forests and parkland, provided some of the best hunting in Europe. This was not an idle passion; hunting was very often the best way a young prince or nobleman could gain the kind of training he needed for warfare. The chase was a privilege of those who not only owned large amounts of land but who could also afford to dedicate these lands to sport. The additional expense of employing falconers, gamekeepers and foresters, as well as maintaining stables, kennels and gunrooms only added to the exclusivity of hunting – and to its allure.
These hunting landowners were great conservationists and environmentalists before the words were in use, because without a diverse habitat, the animals that they hunted would not have survived. They planted millions of hardwood trees at great expense, which provided shelter for deer, wild boar and other game. Without a habitat there would be no game to pursue and much of the European wooded landscape, with stately mature trees now hundreds of years old, is a direct result of this early hunting. The Lobkowiczes were no exception to this trend. All of the major Lobkowicz properties served as venues for the hunt.
Bearing witness to these hunting parties and their participants are hundreds of mounted trophies in The Lobkowicz Collections that date from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. The social aspects of the hunt are also reflected in the many paintings and graphics by local artists in the collection, among them pictures of favorite horses, dogs and trophies. The most potent totems of the hunt, however, are the firearms themselves. After being in storage for many years, some of the finest are now on display in two armory rooms at Lobkowicz Palace at Prague Castle, while others from the collection are on view at Nelahozeves Castle.
The majority of these rifles and pistols were produced locally for the family between 1650 and 1750 – the high point of Central European firearms production. The 17th-century Prague workshops of Adam Brand, Paul Ignatius Poser, the Neireiter family and Leopold Becher produced many of these firearms, as did Roudnice craftsmen such as Johannes Lackner and Adel Friedrich during the mid-18th century. They are a lasting tribute to the patronage of the Lobkowicz family, who provided the gun makers with large orders for guns throughout the centuries.
A very special feature of the private collection is a group of identical flintlock rifles produced for the Lobkowicz Militia in the 18th century, probably one of the largest of its kind in existence. Additional weapons came from Silesia, while the most elaborate 18th-century rifles and pistols (some in the Turkish manner) with mother-of-pearl inlay were produced in Vienna. Goldsmiths and silversmiths specializing in inlay were employed to decorate guns, rifles, crossbows and powder flasks of the finest quality. It is perhaps the renowned skill of the steel chiselers and engravers who, working from pattern books, have left behind a legacy of decorated actions of unsurpassed quality.
These firearms represent the marriage between power and art more clearly than any other part of The Collections, for what were conceived as instruments of war and conquest have become artworks to be admired. Today, long since the last of these guns were fired, they stand as objects of beauty and vestiges of the Lobkowicz family’s storied past.
The Lobkowicz Library is an outstanding example of the European aristocratic library. It comprises about 65,000 volumes – including 679 manuscripts (114 of them dating to the Middle Ages) and 730 incunabula (early books printed prior to 1501). It is the greatest castle library in the Czech Republic.
There are a great many first editions in subjects ranging from history, geography, medicine and the natural sciences, to architecture, literature, theology and law. Texts are predominantly French, German and Latin – but there are also books in Spanish, Italian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew and other languages. The collection of rare books printed in Spanish is the largest in the country. The oldest complete codex dates to the 10th century. A precious four-page fragment of the Gospel of Mark is even older, dating to the late 8th or early 9th century. The Music Archive alone contains more than 5,000 printed editions and manuscripts of 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century scores, also performing parts, libretti, sheet music, and baroque tablatures (a form of musical notation) for plucked instruments.
The Library grew systematically over many centuries, incorporating the varied libraries of both close and distant relations; the acquisition of the libraries of other aristocrats who fell from favor in the various dynastic and religious wars that plagued Central Europe in the 17th century; the purchase of the working libraries of figures important in political, scientific and cultural spheres; as well as through a regular program of purchases and commissions.
Early History of the Library
The earliest section, and a very important element, is the library of Bohuslav Hassenstein of Lobkowicz (1461-1510), the most distinguished Latin Humanist in 15th-century Central Europe. With the help of friends and a network of agents, Hassenstein amassed a collection remarkable in its day for its size and scientific approach to collecting and cataloguing. This library was dominated by volumes of classical and humanist philosophy and literature, in Latin, the lingua franca of the scholar. Thirty volumes represent nearly half of the then entire European production of books printed in Greek characters. The reputation of the collection was such that Hassenstein’s heirs received requests for loans from Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon. About three-quarters of the huge Hassenstein library survives – the majority of it in The Lobkowicz Library.
An even more systematic development of the family collections was started in the 17th century by Zdeněk Vojtěch (1568-1628), 1st Prince Lobkowicz, who had acquired the Hassenstein library after its confiscation from his errant relation, Jiří of Lobkowicz (1551-1607) who was charged with plotting against the Emperor Rudolf II. After the uprising of the Protestant Estates in 1620, the 1st Prince and his influential wife, Polyxena (1566-1642) had already succeeded in purchasing entire libraries forfeited by various Protestant aristocratic houses. Other, more personal libraries were also acquired, including the rare collection of books printed in Spain that came to the country with Polyxena’s Spanish-born mother, Maria Manrique de Lara y Mendoza (1538-1608). At this period The Library was deposited in the Pernštejn (today, Lobkowicz) Palace at Prague Castle, and only later moved by the 2nd Prince, Václav Eusebius, to Roudnice Castle in 1657 – hence the name by which the collection is known to scholars today. Here The Library remained – added to by succeeding generations – until the Second World War.
Ferdinand August (1655-1715), 3rd Prince Lobkowicz, held prestigious offices at the Imperial Diet in Regensburg, and acquired books from the important printing centers in Germany. Documentation exists for hundreds of purchases each year as well as generous payments to bookbinders. His grandson, Ferdinand Philip (1724-1784), 6th Prince Lobkowicz, was a voracious collector of books during his travels throughout Europe. The Library was further augmented by collections acquired through inheritance, or marriage into other aristocratic families.
The earliest classification system applied to The Library was established under Václav Eusebius, the 2nd Prince. After 1777, a permanent librarian was always in residence. Ferdinand Josef, 8th Prince (1797-1868) and Mořic, 9th Prince (1831-1903), authorized a complete reorganization of The Library that classified items according to subject in a new 10-volume systematic catalogue and a 20-volume alphabetical catalogue. Imposing bookcases were also made to house The Library.
This magnificent library was confiscated by the Nazis in 1941. The great bookcases were broken up and the ruined spaces turned into the communal latrines for the SS training center that occupied the castle. The books themselves passed to the administrative care of the University Library of Prague. After the Communist takeover in 1948, the Collections remained in a State depository, from which, for nearly fifty years, the precious volumes and manuscripts were dispersed to different depositories and libraries throughout Bohemia. During this time only a very limited number of volumes were available to the public or working scholars.
In 1992, The Library was finally returned to the Lobkowicz family. Shortly thereafter, a major private donor made a charitable contribution to re-establish the collection as a working library, based on its original classification and composition, to enable the volumes to be used by scholars in accordance with internationally accepted standards of security and conservation. A new space to house The Library in its entirety was prepared at Nelahozeves Castle. The books were again organized according to the order established in the original 19th-century catalogue, a conservation plan for the collection was completed, and a research program was established. As a result, The Library is now open, by prior appointment, to students, scholars and special groups.
Illustrated geography and history of Bohemia by Mauritius Vogt
Mauritius Vogt (1669–1730), geographer, cartographer, musician, historian and a member of the Cistercian Order, was born as Johann Georg Vogt in Bavaria. As a child he came with his father, who was a geodesist, to a monastery in Plasy in Western Bohemia. He was educated there, later joining the order and taking the monastic name Mauritius. Apart from occasional travels and temporary stays in residences of his aristocratic supporters, most of his later life is closely connected with the monastery in Plasy and its surroundings. Vogt’s first published and most famous work entitled Das jetzlebende Königreich Böhmen (on display) was printed in 1712 in Frankfurt am Main and Leipzig. It introduces the geography and history of Bohemia. The book became celebrated especially for its excellent copperplate illustrations, maps and plans. It includes a total of 45 engravings depicting views and ground plans of Bohemian towns, castles, monasteries etc. as well as a large detailed map of Bohemia. This highly valued map was added to the book as a separate supplement, and is thus rarely found in the volumes as here.
Exhibited is a view of Roudnice, the seat of the Lobkowicz family, published in Das jetzlebende Königreich Böhmen. This engraving is quite an accurate depiction of early 18th century Roudnice, including the ruined bridge over the Elbe river. The original Gothic bridge constructed in 1333–1340 (one of the first stone bridges built in Bohemia) was first damaged by the Army of the Czech Estates shortly after the Battle of White Mountain in 1620 and then completely demolished by Swedish troops in 1634. Though there was a plan to reconstruct the bridge over the river during the radical rebuilding of the castle and the town under Václav Eusebius, 2nd Prince Lobkowicz in the late 17th century, a new bridge over the river was constructed only in 1910.
Among the most attractive engravings included in the book is a view of the capital Prague, divided into two parts. The first copperplate presents the Prague Castle, Lesser Town and Charles Bridge the second part depicts a view over the river Vltava toward the Old Town, New Town and Vyšehrad Fort. The copperplates were engraved by a German engraver, Christoph Friedrich Krieger.
The exhibition is available until the 31st of May, 2015.
Handels Oratorios in the Lobkowicz Library
A new temporary book exhibition, which will be shown at the Lobkowicz Palace from 2 July to 30 November 2014, presents rare early editions of English oratorios by George Frideric Handel (1685 – 1759). The Lobkowicz Library preserves a precious collection of more than twenty volumes of first London editions of Handel's grand oratorios. Exhibited is a printed score of Handel’s oratorio Esther, regarded as the first large oratorio in English. The work premiered in 1732 and enjoyed great success, particularly due to its monumental choral and orchestral forces, which became a characteristic feature of all Handel's late oratorios. Another volume on display is a score of the oratorio Deborah, composed in 1733 in response to the success of Esther. Though first editions of the works, both volumes were published posthumously (in 1783 and 1784). The visually very attractive editions printed by Wright & Wilkinson include an excellent copperplate portrait of Handel by renowned Dutch engraver Jacob Houbraken (1698–1780).
The purchase of Handel's printed oratorios has been traditionally associated with journeys by Ferdinand Philipp, 6th Prince Lobkowicz (1724–1784) to England. The most recent findings suggest, however, that the rare prints actually stem from the collection of renowned Viennese music patron Gottfried van Swieten (1733–1803). The volumes were most likely purchased together with manuscript copies of Handel's works, including part of the score of the oratorio Messiah with autograph alterations by W. A. Mozart, on display at the Lobkowicz Palace Museum within the permanent exhibition.
Lobkowicz Collections o.p.s. continually strives to expand lending to exhibitions as a key way of making The Lobkowicz Collections more widely available to the public. Since 1993, over 200 works of art have been lent to museums in the Czech Republic and abroad. Loans have been made to international institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, the Royal Academy of Art in London and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
- Hans von Aachen and Kryštof Popel of Lobkowicz, Prague Castle Picture Gallery. The intimate portrait on copper of Kryštof Popel the Younger of Lobkowicz (1549–1609) made by his artist friend Hans von Aachen has been lent to the recently opened Hans von Aachen and Kryštof Popel of Lobkowicz exhibition at the Prague Castle Picture Gallery. The exhibition runs from 22 April to 22 July 2015.
- The Masters of Rudolf II’s Era – Works of Art by Court Artists of Rudolf II in Private Czech Collections, Muzeum hlavního města Prahy - the main Museum building
- Open the Gates of Paradise. The Benedictines in the Heart of Europe 800-1300, Waldstein Riding School in Prague
- Miklós Zrínyi (1620—1664), The Hungarian National Gallery
- The Age of Discovery, Náprstek Museum Manner of Anthonis Mor, Portrait of a Nobleman, said to be Hernán Cortés (1485-1547), circa 1600
The Lobkowicz Palace at Prague Castle is one of the most significant cultural sites in the Czech Republic and the only privately owned building in the Prague Castle complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Through the centuries, the Palace witnessed some of Bohemia’s most important historical events.
Lobkowicz Palace was built in the second half of the 16th century by the Czech nobleman Jaroslav of Pernštejn (1528-1569). It was Jaroslav's sister-in-law, Maria Maximiliana Manrique de Lara y Mendoza, wife of his brother Vratislav, Chancellor of the Czech Kingdom (1530-1582), who brought the celebrated Infant Jesus of Prague statue from her homeland of Spain to the Palace, where it became well known for its miraculous healing powers. The statue was later given by Vratislav and Maria Maximiliana's daughter, Polyxena (1566-1642), to the Church of Our Lady Victorious in Prague, where it remains on display and attracts thousands of visitors each year. A copy of the Infant Jesus of Prague is on permanent display in the Lobkowicz Palace Museum.
The Palace came into the Lobkowicz family through the marriage of Polyxena to Zdeněk Vojtěch, 1st Prince Lobkowicz (1568-1628). In the centuries following that marriage, the Palace witnessed some of Bohemia's most significant historical events. In 1618, the famous Defenestration of Prague took place when Protestant rebels threw the Catholic Imperial Ministers from the windows of the Royal Palace at Prague Castle. Surviving the fall, they took refuge in Lobkowicz Palace, where they were protected from further assault by Polyxena, 1st Princess Lobkowicz.
Following the defeat of the Protestant faction at the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, the Catholic Lobkowicz family consolidated its influence and power base for the next three centuries. Lobkowicz Palace took on a more formal, imperial role and functioned as the Prague residence when the family needed to be present at the seat of Bohemian power for political and ceremonial purposes. With the exception of the sixty-three years (1939-2002) during which the property was confiscated and held by Nazi and later Communist powers, the Palace has belonged to the Lobkowicz family.
After World War I, and following the abolishment of hereditary titles in 1918, Maximilian Lobkowicz (1888-1967), son of Ferdinand Zdenko, 10th Prince Lobkowicz (1858-1938), demonstrated his support for the fledgling First Republic of Czechoslovakia by making several rooms at the Palace available to the government headed by Tomas G. Masaryk, President and founding father of the First Czechoslovak Republic.
In 1939, the invading Nazi forces confiscated the Palace along with all other Lobkowicz family properties. The Palace was returned in 1945, only to be seized again after the Communist takeover in 1948. For the next forty years, the Palace was used for a variety of purposes, including State offices and as a museum of Czech history.
After the Velvet Revolution of 1989 and the subsequent fall of the Communist government, former President Václav Havel enacted a series of laws that allowed for the restitution of confiscated properties. Following a twelve-year restitution process, the Lobkowicz family once again became the rightful owner of its Palace in 2002.
On April 2, 2007, after more than four years of planning, restoration and refurbishment, the Palace was opened to the public for the first time as the Lobkowicz Palace Museum, home to one part of The Lobkowicz Collections. This new reincarnation of the Palace not only revitalizes an important cultural site in the heart of Europe, but also dramatically expands the Lobkowicz family's efforts to make The Collections accessible to Czech and international audiences alike.
After the Thirty Years War, the Palace underwent a number of significant changes, particularly under Václav Eusebius, 2nd Prince Lobkowicz (1609-1677). He was responsible for the Palace’s significant baroque alterations and some of its more lavishly decorated salons.Visit_LP_History 2 Václav Eusebius redesigned the Palace in the Italian Manner. His design influence can be seen today in the Imperial Hall, whose walls are painted in fresco with trompe l'oeil statues of emperors surrounded by geometric designs, floral and other decorative motifs. Additional examples of the Italianate style can be found in what are referred to as the Concert Hall and the Balcony Room, whose ceilings are adorned with elaborate painted stuccowork and sumptuous frescoes by F.V. Harovník.
In the 18th century, Joseph František Maximilian, 7th Prince Lobkowicz (1772-1816), commissioned the reconstruction of the exterior of the Palace in preparation for the coronation at Prague Castle of Emperor Leopold II as King of Bohemia (1791). The alterations included the addition of the panoramic balconies that visitors to the Palace still enjoy today. In spite of the various alterations made through the years, remnants of original 16th-century murals and sgraffito work can still be seen in both of the interior courtyards.
Highlights from the Collections
(A picture of each highlight of the collection)
Conservation & Restoration
Taking proper care of the works in The Lobkowicz Collections – their conservation and restoration - is one of the key responsibilities of Lobkowicz Collections o.p.s. Working with Czech and international experts, the Collections staff is continually striving to find the best ways to preserve these objects for the enjoyment and education of future generations.
Significant projects include the restoration of Rubens’ Hygieia Nourishing the Sacred Serpent, restored by the late Hubert von Sonnenburg, one of the world’s leading painting conservators and former Chairman of the Paintings Conservation Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This project was made possible by generous support from donors to the American Friends for the Preservation of Czech Culture (AFPCC).
Lobkowicz Collections o.p.s.
Since 1994, Lobkowicz Collections o.p.s. (originally the Roudnice Lobkowicz Foundation), a non-profit organization registered in the Czech Republic, has been working to preserve, protect and share with the public the magnificent works of art, music and literature returned to the Lobkowicz family in restitution after the Velvet Revolution of 1989. The organization oversees the management, conservation and restoration of The Collections and provides the curatorial, administrative and outreach assistance necessary to make these treasures accessible to the general public and to scholars worldwide.
Main Areas of Activity
- overseeing the care, conservation and installation of the objects in The Collections
- creating and implementing education programs for students of all ages
- encouraging and facilitating scholarly research around The Collections
- organizing loans to other cultural institutions
- providing curatorial assistance in creating dynamic exhibitions for public enjoyment
Through bold vision, careful planning and great determination, Lobkowicz Collections o.p.s. has overseen the installation of The Collections at Lobkowicz Palace (Prague) and Nelahozeves Castle (Nelahozeves), whose permanent collections consisting of thousands of cultural and historic objects are visited annually by tens of thousands of people from around the world.
The resounding success of the organization's projects to date would not have been possible without the generous contributions of many individual and corporate donors.
Midday Classic Concert
No day at Prague Castle is complete without attending a classical music concert performed in the beautifully decorated 17th-century baroque Concert Hall of the Lobkowicz Palace.
The varied program of solo and ensemble pieces is presented daily at 13:00. The program presents works by the great baroque composers, Bach and Vivaldi, the champions of the classical style, Mozart and Beethoven, and the great 19th-century Czech composers Dvořák and Smetana.
Lobkowicz Palace Café
Lobkowicz Palace Café offers a wide variety of fresh soups and salads, grilled sandwiches, pasta dishes, delicious homemade desserts, and a fine selection of coffees, teas and award-winning Lobkowicz wine and beer.
The Café, located on the ground floor of the Lobkowicz Palace, has three distinct seating areas: an indoor café, a balcony with a view of Prague, and the Renaissance-style courtyard (open during the spring and summer seasons only).
The Lobkowicz Palace Museum Shop and e-Shop offer a rich assortment of reproductions and adaptations from The Lobkowicz Collections. Many of the items for sale have been developed exclusively for the Museum. Unique products, based on Czech or Central European motifs, as well as selected souvenirs of Prague and Prague Castle, are displayed in a stylish shop setting detailed with original family objects and mementoes.
Award-winning Lobkowicz wines are also offered for sale, as well as postcards and posters, jewelry and glass, books and stationery, and educational children's products.
Weddings at the Lobkowicz Palace
The Lobkowicz Palace, the only privately owned building in the Prague Castle complex, is leased to offer exclusive wedding opportunities in their 16th century Palace’s halls and ballroom. Throughout the year, couples may take their wedding vows in the historic chapel, adorned with Baroque frescoes and opulence, and welcome their guests to marvel at breathtaking panoramic views of Prague from the balcony and dine and dance under the magnificent chandeliers in the elegant Imperial Hall.