The Art Inventory of Bohemia


Since the late 19th century, the Czech Archaeological Commission and the German Art-Historical Commission have been dedicating themselves to a shared project — documenting the artistic and cultural inventory of Bohemia. This study tackles the preconditions and results of the large-scale inventorying of cultural legacies that continued even after the foundation of the First Czechoslovak Republic.

Gate bars of the castle in Kunratice. Illustration for the monument inventory of the Kingdom of Bohemia, 1908; photo credit: Ústav dějin umění AV ČR

The Art Inventory of Bohemia: Cultural Diversity, National Competition and the Consolidation of Artistic Culture (1895–1937)
The joint »Topography« edition of the Czech Archaeological Commission and the German Art-Historical Commission documents the gradually professionalising art history’s and cultural legacies conservation’s perspective on the Kingdom of Bohemia’s art and construction legacy as a testimony to an old shared culture and new cultural expectations. 
The selection of the objects and their art-historical descriptions are shaped, on the one hand, by the Bohemian provinces’ social and cultural diversity and, on the other, by their national polarity. This study traces the poles of a large-scale academic project and works out how the situation of national rivalry became the topographical category of a monument inventory. How did the canonisation of certain periods and art forms, specific construction types and styles contribute to the development of different cultures of remembrance?

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