The Castle Gallery
The painting collection of the Archbishopric of Olomouc is the second most valuable one in the Czech Republic (the most valuable one is the National Gallery in Prague). The collection was established by Karl von Lichtenstein-Castelcorno the Bishop of Olomouc and it contains works ranging from gothic to late baroque periods.
Some of the very first items were purchased during the episcopacy of Bishop Stanislaus Thurzo (episcopate 1497–1540) – these include e.g. the two altar paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder. The fundamental part of the collection is represented by the purchases of Karl vom Lichtenstein-Castelcorno (episcopate 1664–1695), who acquired part of the collections once held by the English king Charles I Stuart and count Thomas Howard of Arundel, but he also bought several other works through a network of agents and directly from the artists.
The most valuable painting in the collection is the one named Apollo and Marsyas by Titian. The Flaying of Marsyas, one of Titian's last works (1570's) illustrates Ovid's myth of the satyr Marsyas being skinned alive by the god Apollo after unsuccessfully challenging him to a musical battle.
In the 18th century the collection grew with the purchases of bishop Ferdinand Julius Troyer von Troyerstein (1746–1758) and Leopold Friedrich von Egkh (1758–1760). In the 19th and 20th century the collection received new acquisitions through Cardinal Friedrich von Fürstenberg (1853–1892), archbishop Theodor Kohn (1893–1904), and archbishop Leopold Prečan (1923–1947). The collection therefore documents the evolution of styles and tastes of its founders and their times.
The Gallery consists of several halls, each representing a different art style. You can find there gothic and renaissance art in one room, which includes the oldest paintings kept at the Kroměříž collection. Another room presents the Dutch and German portrait painting of the second half of the 14th century. The display in the third hall focuses on the European genre painting of the 16th century, mostly the Dutch painters. The Golden era of the Dutch painting of the 17th century is presented in the next room. There is also a room focused on an Italian renaissance works, or the other one representing the finest representatives of 16th century Venetian painting, Jacopo dal Ponte, known as Jacopo Bassano.