The National Gallery in Prague is the biggest and most important art institute in the Czech Republic. The Gallery houses both domestic and international art with over 400,000 pieces dating from medieval times to the twenty first century. The Gallery is located in eight historical buildings ranging from old renovated palaces and convents to functionalist buildings.
The National Gallery started in 1796 when a group of Czech nobles and middle class intellectuals formed The Society of Patriotic Friends to “elevate the deteriorated taste of the local public.” The group established the first picture gallery as well as the Academy of Fine Arts. The picture gallery has since grown into the current National Gallery. There are five main collections: The Collection of Old Masters, The Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art, Prints and Drawings Collections, The Collection of Asian Art. These collections include works by Holbein, Dürer, Bruegel, Rubens, van Dyck, El Greco, Goya, Gaugin, van Gogh, Picasso and Braque, Skreta, Kupecky, Rainer, Brokoff and Braun and Rudolphine works by Hans von Aachen, Joseph Heintz, Bartolomeus Spranger and Adrian de Vries, among others.