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Portrait of Charles I and Henrietta Maria by Anthony Van Dyck. This and other valuable paintings are to be seen in the Archiepiscopal Gallery almost all year-long.
© Archive of the Archiepiscopal Castle Kroměříž

The Castle Gallery

The painting collection of the Archbishopric of Olomouc is the second most valuable one in the Czech Republic after the National Gallery in Prague. The most valuable painting in the collection is the Apollo and Marsyas painting by Titian.

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 II Liechtenstein-Castelcorno the Bishop of Olomouc and it contains works ranging from gothic to late baroque periods.

The world-famous Apollo and Marsyas by Titian. – © Markéta Ondrušková
The world-famous Apollo and Marsyas by Titian. – © Markéta Ondrušková

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 Carl II Liechtenstein-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 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. – Archidiocese Olomouc, Archiepiscopal Palace, Picture Gallery
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. – Archidiocese Olomouc, Archiepiscopal Palace, Picture Gallery

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.

You can just sit there and relax in front of one the most precious paintings in the Czech Republic. – © Markéta Ondrušková
You can just sit there and relax in front of one the most precious paintings in the Czech Republic. – © Markéta Ondrušková

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.

You can find there paintings from 16th to the 19th century in the Castle Gallery. – © Markéta Ondrušková
You can find there paintings from 16th to the 19th century in the Castle Gallery. – © Markéta Ondrušková

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.

The gallery consists of nine halls, each representing a different art style. Therefore, plan to stay there at least 45 minutes or more. You can also visit the gallery at morning, go to a lunch then and came back during all the day. -  © The Archive of the Castle of Kroměříž
The gallery consists of nine halls, each representing a different art style. Therefore, plan to stay there at least 45 minutes or more. You can also visit the gallery at morning, go to a lunch then and came back during all the day. - © The Archive of the Castle of Kroměříž

Many World Heritage sites are temporarily closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please check official websites for more information.

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