Cubism in architecture – thoroughly Czech, peculiar, new and fresh.
While the studios of Picasso and Braque were key to Cubism in the applied arts, Cubism in architecture is a unique, purely Czech phenomenon. The Czech Republic is, evidently, the only country in the world where Cubism is manifested in specific buildings. Come and take a look at this unique play of light and shadow!
The Black Madonna
Czech Cubism, an artistic style that was applied chiefly in Central European art and design in the first half of the 20th century, left its own, unique mark on Prague architecture. A true gem, in particular, is the House of the Black Madonna at the corner of Celetná street and Ovocný trh (the Fruit Market) in Prague, built between 1911-12 and designed by architect Josef Gočár. What makes the building exceptional is not only the facade, but also the Cubist floor plan and, chiefly, the influence of Cubism on the interiors. On the first floor, take a look at Grand Café Orient, for which Gočár designed a number of stylised elements, for example the bar, chandeliers and lamps. Also built in the Cubist style is Gočár‘s pavilion in Bohdaneč Spa.
Cubism was only the start
Following the First World War a new style developed out of Cubism: Rondocubism. One excellent example of this style is the building of the former Czechoslovak Legions bank in Na Poříčí street in Prague, where the original, austere geometric edges, cubes and pyramids are supplemented by crescents and circles in the spirit of national Slavic traditions. Rondocubism was also widely applied in industrial architecture.
Cubist galleries and museums
Want to find out more about Cubism? Then visit the National Gallery’s permanent exhibition of the devoted to 20th- and 21st-century art, housed in the Veletržní Palace in Prague. To sample the atmosphere of the early 20th century, you can also take a look at the Cubist Bauer villa in Libodřice, an authentic environment housing the Josef Gočár Museum and the Gallery of Cubist Design.