Prague was my first stop in Central Europe in early 2000s, which included the capitals of Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary.
The most impressive art in Prague is the city itself, more so than anything I'd seen in a museum, cathedral or a monastery. The best of it was Karlův most (Charles Bridge) over Vltava, linking the "Old Town" to the even older "Malá Strana (Lesser Quarter)", named after the Holy Roman Emperor, Karl IV, who was the first Bohemian king who ascended the imperial throne.
We stayed in Malá Strana and every morning, I would take a little short stroll to walk on the wonderful bridge, to savor the quiet and intimate moments when most tourists had not flooded the bridge and to admire the continuous alley of statues and statuaries, 30 in all, mostly in baroque-style, originally erected around 1700 but now all replaced by replicas.
I will cite two as my favorites. One is St Philip Benzi (St. Philip Benitius) (socha sv. Filipa Benicia):
It was designed by Michal Bernard Mandl in 1714 and portrayed St. Philip Benitius, fifth general of the Servites, holding a cross, a book and a spray. A papal crown lay behind his foot. This is an understated, but highly charged statue. The inner conflict was betrayed by his unsettled right leg and arm, despite the calmness on his face. The picture I took above had a very dramatic clouds background and it was a perfect foil for the restrained sculpture.
My next favorite was a much more ornate sculpture of Saint Francis of Assisi (socha sv. Františka Serafinského), flanked by two large winged angels. The frontal view of sculpture was quite plain and humble, befit to the character of the saint. However, when viewed with the impressive wings as focal point, it became incredibly dramatic and ornate - perhaps Rodin would not have approved it but I loved its view like this.
Perhaps a bit sentimental, whenever I looked at this picture, I remembered that street musician playing "Que sera, sera", under a colorful umbrella. The very essence of bohemian life.
My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 36: My Favorite Paintings at the National Gallery (Schwarzenberg Palace) in Prague
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 34: My Favorite Sculptures at Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, Paris