Steal a glimpse into the private patios and courtyards of Old Town, Lesser Town, Stromovka, Old Podskalí, and the Petrské náměstí districts of Prague, one hundred years ago before thatched cottages and blooming pear trees succumbed to war and the inevitable modernization.
This is the world of artist Jan Honsa, whose cycle of more than 200 extraordinarily beautiful line drawings capture Prague as it was in the early 20th century—showing many of the vanished or substantially reconstructed corners of the Czech capital.
Sixty of those works are on view throughout May for the first time in history at Prague’s Vratislav Palace, a Baroque palace with terraced gardens in Malá Strana.
Honsa, a Czech painter and graphic artist, was born in 1876. He studied at the Academy of Arts in Prague and spent time in France, where he devoted himself to landscape painting.
But from 1914 to 1917 the peasant son of farmers from Běstovice captured Prague with extraordinary precision and splendor.
The exhibit lets visitors peek into the courtyards of the Pachtův Palace before it became a luxury hotel, the back yards of ancient homes in Prague Castle’s Nový Svět quarter, or see a rare view of Petřín, encompassing Lobkowicz Palace and the rooftops of Lesser Town, painted from the vantage point of a Malá Strana window.
Numerous drawings also feature the heavily touristed streets of Old Town including Karlova, Melantrichova, and Liliova as you have never seen them before, completely devoid of crowds and souvenir blight.
The artist, who died in 1937, is best known for the unusual mix of European Impressionism and rural Czech Art Nouveau he brought to his paintings.
118 00 Praha 1–Malá Strana
Exhibit ends May 31 and is on daily execpt Monday from 11:00-19:00.
Entry is 50 Kč.