No place in today’s Prague is as empty as the Charles Bridge (Karlův most) in this spread from The Three Golden Keys. But when it rains and the tourists scatter it’s still possible to feel the strange magic of the city.
Look at this statue of Sigmund Freud by David Černý, hanging over Stare Mesto, pondering whether to hold on or let go.
Yesterday we encountered yet another magical place a couple of hours away from the city.
Český Krumlov is a castle complex, a town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. No pictures were allowed on the tour of this 13th-century castle. The castle has Gothic, Renaissance and baroque elements, a garden with French and English sections and a Masquerade Hall with Rococo art that takes the breath away. Italian and French “Commedia del Arte” figures mingle on these walls. One actor peers into an actual mirror, from which his own surprised reflection looks back. Above a balcony, an array of painted costumes hang so realistically from their pegs that at first I thought they were players waiting to go onstage.
Illusion is a commentary on reality. Sometimes the borders between them are the very purpose of art. That was true in Josef Lederer’s quirky paintings of 1748. It’s true of much of the art that is everywhere in Prague.