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House of the Black Madonna

House of Black Madonna
Credit: VitVit / CC BY-SA 3.0

In Prague along with paintings, furniture, and sculptures, even houses had architectural terms dictated by Cubism. This style evoked by Czech artists is perfectly reflected in the House of the Black Madonna now home to a small museum of Cubism.

The House of the Black Madonna sometimes referred to as Black Mother of the Lord is the first Cubist house built in Europe by architect Josef Gocar for tradesman F. J. Herbst between 1911 and 1912. Located on the corner of Celetná Street and Ovocný trh. The old Baroque building was demolished for building a Cubist house. Initially, the conservationists disagreed with its construction arguing that the design would look out of place with the old, historical buildings. But the Cubist house has withstood the test of time, it is blended beautifully with the neighbouring historical buildings, illustrating the ‘contextualization’ of Cubist architecture.

The Cubist House with its subsequent reconstructions has paved way for unique designs such as angular bay windows, imposing Cubist portal, characteristic capitals between windows, and cubist designed balcony railing, staircase, and the handrail.

Gočár had originally built the masterpiece as a department store for his client, but after major restorations, it was converted into a museum in 2002-2003. Dedicated to permanent exhibits of Cubist art, it pays great attention to the initial years of Cubism in Czechoslovakia. Along with paintings and sculptures of famous artists,  documents related to Pavel Janák, Josef Gočár and Vlastislav Hofman are also exhibited here.

Visit Prague and the House of the Black Madonna to get an insight into the era of Czech cubism. Also don't forget to visit nearby notable attractions such as Astronomical Clock and Old Town Square.

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