Art from the Gothic to the 19th century

Governor's Palace, Moravské náměstí 1a, Brno (opening hours)

Free entry

Kaliopi Chamonikola
Assistant Curator
Zora Wörgötter
Consultancy and selection of exhibits
Doc. PhDr. Ladislav Daniel (NG Praha), PhDr. Vlasta Kratinová, PhDr. Olga Pujmanová (NG Praha), Doc. PhDr. Lubomír Slavíček, CSc. (FF MU Brno), PhDr. Kateřina Svobodová (MG)
Opened since March 2001

The Head of Medusa by Peter Paul Rubens is one of the most remarkable works in the early art collections of the Moravian Gallery in Brno. The painting was once, in its original installation at the Francis Museum, covered with a veil in order "not to frighten women and children". The artist, drawing on the ancient mythical character of Medusa, who had the power to turn into stone anyone who looked at her, captured her magical ability in such a striking manner that its effect had to be diluted.

The title of the exhibition - Medusa's Look - offers a metaphor on the power of art to produce strong experiences, to give rise to astonishment and to excite the onlooker's imagination. The exhibition presents the most precious works of European art in the Moravian Gallery collections from the 14th to the 19th centuries, complemented by items on loan from religious institutions and other art collections. The individual sections consist of medieval art, baroque works by Moravian and Austrian painters and sculptors, a collection of Italian, Flemish and Dutch art recently enhanced by major new acquisitions, and figurative and landscape art of the 19th century.

Increased exhibition space in the Governor's Palace makes it possible to display a considerably larger representative range from the collections of early art which, in the past, were limited to Moravian works from the Middle Ages, Baroque and the 19th century. The focal point of the exhibition is again the medieval part that aims to accent the artistic issues of the Moravian region in all spheres of the visual arts. Apart from works of Moravian provenience there are also works of Austrian, German and Netherlandish origin. The collections of Flemish and Dutch painting are represented mainly by landscapes. The paintings of Italian provenience are known to the public from several temporary exhibitions, for example Renaissance panel paintings or works from the North Italian school. European artistic relations are depicted in the large canvases by J. de Herdt, a Flemish artist who was schooled in Italy and also worked in Brno, or P. Pagani who worked for the Bishop of Olomouc. The selection of works by painters and sculptors working in Moravia during the 18th century is enhanced by still-lifes and landscapes which help to generate an idea of the artistic activities of the time. The final part of the exhibition contains a selection of landscape and genre paintings from the 19th century collection, a particular feature of which is its concentration on Moravian and Austrian artists. Within this exhibition is a room for small-scale temporary exhibitions. These mainly show exhibits from the collections of drawings and graphics, the second largest collection of its kind in the Czech Republic.