Sternberg Palace - Hradčanské Square 15/57, Hradčany
Hradčanské Square 15/57, Hradčany
One of the most important secular buildings of peak Baroque style in Prague was commissioned by Václav Vojtěch of Sternberg on the site of an older building in 1698-1708. The project is attributed to a number of architects, most often to G. B. Alliprandi and J. B. Santini, the master builder was K. Dietzenhofer. Two-storey palace hides behind the Archbishop´s Palace when seen from the Hradčany Square, it has four wings surrounding a square yard, on the west side there is a small garden. The oval entry hall is accessed through a passage-way that follows the old path between the Hradčany Square and Stag Moat. Mansard roof based on French models was first of its kind in Prague. Exceptional interior decorations were made by V. B. Halbax and J. R. Bysse (fresco), D. G. Frisoni (stucco), J. V. I. Kratochvíl (paintings) and M. B. Braun school (statues in the entry hall) among others. From 1796 the palace was used as the picture gallery of the Society of Friends of Patriotic Art, in 1811-47 collections of the Patriotic Museum in Bohemia (now known as the National Museum) were situated there; at that time the pioneers of Czech science worked there, including Slavic studies specialist P. J. Šafařík, botanist K. B. Presl or record keeper V. Hanka. From 1872 the institute of mentally ill Ernestinum was located there, run by the Association of ladies and girls of St. Anne, from 1918 there was also a comissary military school, during the protectorate years the governmental army barracks were there, in 1945 replaced by the Castle Guards barracks. In 1946-48 the palace was refurbished to hold the collections of the National Gallery which currently displays its old European art works there (Flemish, Dutch, and German paintings).