It boasted a valuable collection of paintings already in the 18th century. A year after his election (in 1834), Abbot Jeroným J. Zeidler decided to make it accessible to the public in a newly built picture gallery, no doubt also in re-sponse to the growing interest in Albrecht Dürer’s masterpiece The Feast of the Rose Garlands, then in the possession of the monastery. Some 400 paintings were on display in the new gallery when it was opened, and a number of other major pieces were added in the course of the subsequent years. By the 1870s their catalogue included more than one thousand items. At first the great hall with hundreds of paintings attracted dozens of visitors, but soon art lovers, including women, started coming in large numbers, despite the considerable limitations due to the situation of the gallery within the enclosure.
The abolition of the monastery by the communist regime in 1950 resulted in the dispersal of the collection; the most precious pieces were taken over by the National Gallery in Prague, others mostly passed to various institutions responsible for the administration of historical buildings. .
With the restoration of monastic life in 1992-1993, a large part of the gallery fund was recovered, and today the collection once again comprises about one-and-a-half thousand paintings, a number of sculptures and handicraft objects. In 1993 a part of them were put on display in a permanent exposition, offering the public a selection of works of art spanning the period from the 14th to the 19th centuries.
The current, substantially expanded exposition is modelled on the original picture gallery of Abbot Zeidler, with almost all thematic groups contained in the Strahov collection represented in chronological order..
KYZOUROVÁ, I. - KALINA, P., Strahovská obrazárna, Prague 1993.
KALINA, P. - KYZOUROVÁ, I., Přemyslovský krucifix a jeho doba, Prague 1998.
Multimedia Exhibition on Strahov Monastery and St Norbert, Founder of the
This permanent exhibition is divided into three sections. The first presents a contemporary model of Strahov Monastery on a 1:100 scale.
The second displays a brief outline of the origins aand mission of the Premonstratensian Order and the history of Strahov Monastery. Photographs with sound commentary tell the story of the entire monastery, including areas which are not accessible to the public because they are part of the monastery's enclosure - areas reserved enclusively for members of the order.
The third section of the exhibition comprises a cykle of ten paintings with scenes from the life of St Norbert, the founder of the Premonstratensian Order, and artefacts used during the celebrations on the occasion of the transfer of his relics to Prague.
The exhibition is located in the "Romanesque Halls", as the areaof the monastery's former cellaria, or food storerooms, are known. The original double nave area dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries, was reconstructed in the 17th century and provided with a Baroque vault in 1671-1674. The area was given its present-day appearance after 1950.
The exhibition follows and is included in the tour, a cloister, the chapter hall, and occasionally are seen winter and summer Halls monastery dining room, otherwise the refectory.