Josef Mánes

Josef Mánes

Josef Mánes is one of the most important Czech artists of the 19th century. His oeuvre is characterised by its extraordinary breadth and quality ⁠–⁠ it includes works intended for public space and works of a distinctly intimate character; works that are timeless and works that are quite topical; images, landscapes, allegories; canvases, drawings, and prints. The exhibition presents the key areas of Mánes’ work and complements them with comparative material covering both the work of his Czech contemporaries and foreign artists who influenced the Czech environment. The overall picture is completed by excerpts from Mánes’s correspondence, texts of his time, photographs and, last but not least, information about new discoveries made during the restoration research of Mánes’s works.

Another aim is to look beneath the layer of decades-old stereotypes associated with Mánes’s work. A significant part of the exhibition therefore consists of the reception of Mánes’s work after his death, when he first became an icon of the National Theatre generation. Towards the end of the 19th century, his name was used for an association of artists who were turning to new artistic directions. In the 20th century, the “myth of Mánes” transformed from the national revivalist conception of the first half of the century to the ideologisation of the artist within the framework of socialist realism.

The exhibition features more than 400 exhibits from 25 public institutions and private collections, including the original calendar plate of the Prague Astronomical Clock from the collections of the Museum of the City of Prague. A catalogue and two publications aimed at young audiences will be published alongside the exhibition: Josef Mánes ⁠–⁠ Friend and Artist and Pocket Paintings: Mánes.

31/03/2023 – 16/07/2023
Waldstein Riding School

Year: 2023
Curator: Markéta Dlábková, Veronika Hulíková
Exhibition and graphic design: Matěj Činčera, Jan Kloss, Adam Zaňka
Exhibition architecture: Tomáš Svoboda
Photo: National Gallery Prague
Client: National Gallery Prague