The house really does have columns that look like corn sheaves. And I learned the curve of the house was supposed to resemble a scythe. This was built by the artist for his family home and a studio as well. The first floor has two rooms as they would have looked when Bílek lived here. It is all Art Nouveau style with a bit of cottage feel thrown in. It’s very cozy and welcoming. I was ready to move in. I wish I had photos to show but they made me lock up the camera before I could go in. Some of the details that stood out were lanterns carved into stone columns, including a gorgeous curved staircase. Bronze door handles shaped like leaves with ladybugs on them. Keyhole covers shaped like bees. Light wood furniture with dark wood inlay. Wonderful, whimsical detail everywhere. The studio and upper floors contain his sculpture and drawings. There was a high school group there getting the tour so he must still be relevant in Prague’s art history. His sculpture is strong and well done. His concepts are heavy on Christian theology so they didn’t appeal to me as much. It’s a small unique museum and I’m glad to have stumbled upon it.
From there I wandered around the neighborhood for a bit and then walked through the large gardens surrounding the palace. It was a beautiful sunny day and a very pleasant stroll. I checked out the Lobkowicz Palace Musuem. This is a family home from the 1500’s and what was really interesting was that the audio guide was done by the family. All of these old portraits of people are more interesting when it’s someone’s distant ancestor and the ring worn in the portrait is still worn by his mother. Or the love letters and family legends surrounding the items. It makes it come alive. It’s also interesting that the family has had all their possessions and land taken away twice. First by the Nazis, then the communists. They were able to reclaim them when communism fell in 2002. It’s an interesting position to be in, they have these items but now they need the cash to restore and preserve them. Probably why they opened the museum.
A quick stop to the post office and I wandered around the Jewish quarter for a bit. Sat on a bench near the Old New Synagogue, built in 1270, and admired the view. Great Art Nouveau buildings surround it with intricate gold mosaics. It was next to a very odd park. It was a green patch of tall lilac bushes that were all in bloom and smelled lovely. But it was fenced all around so you can’t actually go in. I guess you’re just supposed to admire from afar.
On the tram ride home I stopped by the “Dancing House”, a really modern house that looks like it’s going to dance itself down the street. It was designed by local architect Vlado Milunić in cooperation with Frank Gehry. It’s a nice break from the traditional Art Nouveau.