It seems the sun has already gone into hybernation, making life quite grey and depressing. One way to escape the winter blues is by spending a few hours in some of Bratislava's fine galleries.
There are two completely different types of galleries found in Bratislava - traditional large galleries funded by the state or city, and small private galleries which are focused on selling current artist's work. Public galleries, non-profit, offer a global look at art from the last few centuries focusing on Central Europe. The galleries serve as nothing more than an outlet for people to visit historical works along with giving scientists, art collectors, and art restorers a chance to collect famous pieces, analyze them and display them for the public. All their work is for the preservation of art, not to make profits. This shines through in some of the galleries where the atmosphere is as old as the paintings leaving much to be desired.
Still the galleries are peaceful providing visitors a quiet experience for reflection for as little or as much time as the visitor wants for a small fee. Workers are mostly older ladies who do not take their work as a job but more as a hobby. Their pleasant attitude, enthusiasm, and pride in their gallery is contagious as the visitor stroll the old halls. It is easy to see that not much money has been allocated to these galleries in the last few years as thez lack new bulletins, information leaflets and books concerning about their exhibitions in the gallery.
In sharp contrast, private galleries are sometimes very hard to distinguish from shops or cafes. Their name may contain the word "gallery" but their main aim is to not show art but to sell it or serve coffee and cakes. Usually they are very tiny compared to state galleries and are hidden in small courtyards scattered throughout Old Town.
Here is a short profile of each gallery.
SLOVAK NATIONAL GALLERY (SNG)
Slovak's largest collection of galleries was founded in 1948 by the Slovak National Council. The gallery employs experts, scientists and art restorers who analyze and evaluate various Slovak art collections old and new emphasizing young modern art. Along with Bratislava, SNG is located in Dunajská Streda, Zvolen, Ružomberok and Spišská Belá.
Open: daily except Monday, 10-18
Entrance fee: adults - 25,-Sk, children 6-15 years-old, students, soldiers, pensioners, and handicapped disabled-5,-Sk
Family pass: 50,-Sk
Tour in Slovak:70,Sk/hour
Tour in foreign language: 170,-Sk/hour
Admission is freelast Sunday in month.
Esterházyho Palác (Esterhazy Palace) - nám. Ľ. Štúra 4
There are two permanent exhibitions which occupy all three floors. One of them, Old European Art, is taken from the SNG collection, is situated on the 1st and 2nd floor and is the richest and the most complete of its kind in Slovakia. This permanent exhibition presents the artistic works from various European schools from the 15th to the 18th century. The most noteworthy exhibits come from Dutch, Italian and Flemish artists.
The second permanent exhibition is a collection of applied art, its development, forms and present state. Included are works made of wood, textiles, ceramics, jewellery, glass, photography, stage and costume design, graphic art and architecture. It is worth the visit because it offers not only traditional paintings and sculptures but also a new insight into present art that is close to our own lives. Everyday things are brought to life through this art which we live with gaining a new perspective in how we can use things from carpets to glass.
Vodné kasárne (Watter Barracks)
Rázusovo nábrežie 2, tel. 07/5332 081-2, 5331 703
There are three permanent exhibitions - Gothic Art In Slovakia, Baroque Art In Slovakia and 19th Century Art In Slovakia. The first one represents art from the most characteristic style in Slovakia. In chronological order, brilliant work awe inspires with its complexity. Wooden sculptures, wall and panel paintings come from the 15th and 16th century.
BRATISLAVA TOWN GALLERY
There are two Bratislava town galleries in old palaces occupied by famous Bratislavans.
Open:daily except Monday, 10-18
Admission fee: adults - 20 Sk, children, soldiers, retired - 5 Sk
Admission free every first Sunday in the month.
Františkánske námestie 11, tel. 07/5331 556-8
The first floor holds the permanent exhibition called Central European Baroque Painting And Sculpture which mirrors the main works of Central European prominent artists. On the groundfloor and the second floor various rotating exhibitions of Slovak and foreign artists can be found.
Panská 19, tel. 07/5333 627-8
The first two floors are ocupied by permanent exhibitions Slovak Painting And Sculpture From the turn of the 20th Century, Exhibition Of The Founders Of Modern Painting And Sculpture, Gothic Table Painting and Plastics and lastly the most well-known exhibiton in Slovakia on Central European Painting and Sculpture of the 19th Century.
Various present-day Slovak artist's works are displayed at one wing of the palace.
Primaciálne námestie 1
Open: daily except from Monday, 10 a.m. - 17 p.m.
Located in the middle of Old Town this gallerz is one of the most precious in all of Slovakia. Inside are the permanent exhibitions of European Painting in the Last Centuries and a Collection Of English Tapestries from the 17th Century.
Open: Sun-Fri: 9:30 - 23, Sat: 9:30 - 1 am
Various Slovak painter's works are for sale as well as occassional live piano music and the possibility to sit and drink coffee, tea or juice with a hip crowd. Works change about once a month and can be quite stunning depending on your tastes.
Panská 12, tel. 07/5331 228
Open: daily 10-22, Sun.16-22
The Gallery Café is similar to Gremium Gallery in that works from various Slovak artists are for sale but the main dig is hot and cold drinks, and loud chatter. It is a wonderful setting, small, family-like atmosphere mixing artists with young couples and their children. Many of the same people are there everyday.
Zichy Palace, Ventúrska 9, tel. 5331 681-2
Open:daily except from Sunday 12a.m. - 6p.m.
This "real" gallery holds works from present-day Slovak painters. The works of Jozef Jankovič and Rudolf Fila are prominently displayed. There are only two rooms, but not crowded.
GALLERY SAS - ARCHITECTURE
This gallery is completely different from all the others. There are many photos of various places in Slovakia and the United States showing types of architecture found in both countries though there is a heavy emphasis on Slovak architecture. The gallery is refreshing for it doesn't judge what is good or not good leaving space for your own opinion. Especially interesting is the mostly non-traditional studies made by students or well-known architects.
Klariská 1, tel. 0903 401 220
Open: daily 11a.m - 7p.m.
In this very small and cosy gallery it is possible to buy graphic posters from the last fourteen students of well-known Slovak artist Albín Brunovsky.
HOUSE OF ART
Nám. SNP 12
Opening hours: daily 9a.m. - 6p.m.
Quite a big gallery offering various kinds of art with no real rhyme or reason. Some works are for sale, but again it is difficult to know which ones.
4. Dec 1997 at 0:00 | Darina Hadzova