Graphic Collection

Like most old, organically formed collections, the drawing and graphic collection has been part of the Strahov Library since its inception. Significant collections are found directly in the library's holdings, with some of the most famous including a set of drawings by Giulio Romano and a sketchbook by Jan Willenberg, depicting several Czech cities at the beginning of the 17th century.

View of the Strahov Monastery before the year 1736.

Characteristics of the Collection of Graphics and Drawings

The Strahov collection of graphics and drawings likely began to form in the first half of the 19th century. References to some graphic sheets can be found in Bohumír Jan Dlabacž's Künstlerlexikon, but it's uncertain whether an inventory existed at that time. The collection includes a diverse range of genres and authors, from small devotional graphics, an extensive set of portraits, vedute of Czech and European localities, quality independent religious graphics, large sheets of pictorial theses associated with university education, to graphic reproductions of famous artworks. Chronologically, the focus is on the 17th to 19th centuries, with a smaller representation of contemporary authors. Their works are acquired through purchase or as donations, either directly from artists or individual members of the canonry.

A significant part of the collection of free graphics and drawings was taken over by the newly founded Memorial of National Literature after the monastery's dissolution in 1950. When the Premonstratensians regained the monastery buildings in the early 1990s, the collection of graphics and drawings virtually didn't exist. Its reconstitution was a result of restitution, which occurred in two phases during the 1990s and 2010-2011. Since only part of the graphics had been inventoried and the inventory cards were not included in the restitution, it was decided to re-inventory into an electronic database. This inventory process took place from 2008 to 2017. The collection currently has nearly 50,000 inventory numbers, and research is conducted by a specialist upon request. Since 2020, the collection has been made accessible in the form of digital copies on the portal, with over 8000 pieces available, primarily devotional graphics and portraits of notable figures from the 17th to 19th centuries.


Johann Sadeler (1550 Brussels – 1600 Venice) after Peter Candid (Peter de Witte) (approx. 1548 Bruges – 1628 Munich) Annunciation to the Virgin Mary. Between 1588 and 1595, Copper engraving, paper; 426 × 279 mm (cropped) Strahov Library - Graphic Collection, inventory no. GS 15196
Václav Hollar (1607 Prague – 1677 London) after Leo van Heil (1605 Brussels – approx. 1661 Brussels) Premonstratensian Monastery Tongerlo in Belgium, 1650. Etching, paper; 430 × 561 mm (cropped); 1st state. Marked in the cartouche on the left: WENCESLAUS HOLLAR BOHEMUS ANNO M. D.C. L.; Leo Van Heil Bruxellensis delin. Strahov Library - Graphic Collection, inventory no. GS 28246.
Unknown authors active in the second half of the 18th century Johann Pachmayer “Pictures of Saints” — Decoratively conceived assembly of eleven hand-painted and printed devotional pictures in original arrangement from the mid-19th century. 2nd half of the 18th century; 1820s Watercolor, colored lithography, paper, parchment; dimensions of arrangement 427 × 500 mm Strahov Library - Graphic Collection, inventory no. GS 7870—7880.
F. B. Werner, View of Strahov, 1720s.