Lobkowicz Palace at Prague Castle

 

By Tracy A. Burns

Lobkowicz Palace

Lobkowicz Palace at the Prague CastleThere is much more to see at the Prague Castle complex than the castle itself and St. Vitus’ Cathedral, the sights most tourists flock to. Don’t miss a chance to follow the intriguing Lobkowicz family history at Lobkowicz Palace on the castle grounds as you will learn about the family’s ancestors and the artifacts that tell tourists riveting tales.

The portraits

Lobkowicz Palace in PragueVisitors will familiarize themselves with the Lobkowicz ancestors. For instance, in the 16th century Vratislav Pernstejn was the first Czech to be awarded the Order of the Golden Fleece, and he was only 25 years old at the time. The clan is also related to Spanish King Philip II, who, over a 40-year reign, amassed a great empire that even included the Caribbean, Central America and part of what is today the United States. Visitors familiar with Diego Velazquez’s famous painting Las Meninas will recognize four-year old Infanta Margarita in one family portrait.

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A tale of trials and tribulations: Family history during the 20th century

Lobkowict Palace at Prague CastleOn the audio guide, the current owner, William Lobkowicz, talks about his grandparents. The Nazis took away all of his grandfather’s property – including 13 castles – when they established the Nazi Protectorate in Bohemia and Moravia. William’s grandfather Max was an ardent supporter of the democratic First Czechoslovak Republic and participated in anti-Nazi activities. After the war all of Max’s property was returned to him. Then the Communists took control in 1948. Once again, Max lost everything. This time the family would have to wait until after the 1989 Velvet Revolution to claim ownership again.

Porcelain and classical music

The fine porcelain on display includes an impressive collection of Meissen, majolica service and tableware from Delft. Classical music has played a significant role in Lobkowicz history. Original scores by Beethoven, such as his third “Eroica” symphony are highlights as are others by Mozart and Handel.

Pieter Brueghel the Elder and Antonio Canaletto

Lobkowicz Palace in PraguePerhaps the painting collection is the most captivating. The Lobkowicz family owns Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s Haymaking, one of six panels representing the 12 months of the year; each panel symbolizes two months. Brueghel the Elder’s work made a name for itself in Western European painting. It was the first time a landscape was seen in its own right rather than as a backdrop for religious figures. The family also has on display two spectator 18th century views of The Thames in London by Antonio Canaletto.

More spectacular works of art

However, those are just a few of the masterpieces to be seen in the palace. A 16th century painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder shows Mary and the Christ child. The Croll Room features landscapes completed in the 1840s for Ferdinand Joseph Lobkowicz. Robert Croll rendered the Lobkowicz’s in his paintings. You can see Roudnice Chateau and Nelahozeves Chateau, for instance. Engravings of Rome hang in the Firanesi Room while portraits of dogs are on display in the Dog Room. In the Dining Room there are magnificent allegorical ceiling frescoes.

Café and other places in the palace

One cannot help but admire the variety of artifacts created in various styles, whether Romanesque or Rococo. Yet the palace is more than the objects it flaunts, as spectacular as they may be. It is the history of one family over many centuries. Following the Lobkowicz line via historical events makes the palace unique. There is also a café with outdoor seating that offers spectacular view of Prague plus a concert hall and a gift shop.

Nelahozeves, Roudnice and Strekov

The Lobkowiczs also own Nelahozeves Chateau, Roudnice Chateau and Strekov Castle. Not far from Prague, Renaissance Nelahozeves boasts remarkable works of art. Also near Prague, Roudnice Chateau features a winery. Strekov Castle is a romantic Gothic ruin in north Bohemia.


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