Small Painted Portraits The Collection of the Old Czech History Departement of the National Museum in Prague
This catalogue of small painted portraits from the collection of the Old Czech History Department of the National Museum in Prague builds on the previous work that published the complete group of the miniature portraits from the same collection: Lubomír Sršeň – Olga Trmalová, Malované miniaturní portréty. Sbírka oddělení starších českých dějin Národního muzea (The collection of painted portrait miniatures at the Department of Old Czech History of the National Museum in Prague), Praha 2005.
While the previous book professionally presented 377 portraits, this volume publishes 230 pictures. These are portraits of medium size, heights of which range from approximately 20–40cm (without frames, mounts or cases). A third catalogue is being prepared, which will include the remaining approx. 430 painted wall portraits, i.e. portraits of height over 40 cm. It will be issued in the near future; thereby the entire collection of painted portraits of the period from the 16th century until the first half of the 20th century will be professionally documented for experts.
The collection has been built since the origin of the National Museum in 1818 and is mainly concentrated in the abovementioned department. It is focused primarily on the portraits of important personalities of the Czech history; however, it also contains portraits of ordinary and already forgotten or anonymous people. A considerable part of the collection consists of portraits of other European people from Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, France, and other countries. The author of the portrait was never a priority when building the collection. Therefore, many average painters appear here alongside first class artists; their standard production forming a broad base of an imaginary qualitative pyramid of European and Central European portrait painting. The catalogue has brief note of organization in English so even foreigners who do not know Czech could understand its most important information.