Art of Books

Books aren't just about content. The new exhibition at Prague Castle, Kniha je ART (Art of Books), will atypically focus on form and present the most beautiful and unique Czech books from the beginning of book printing to the present day. There will also be a selection of volumes from Franz Kafka's original library and an airy reading room of contemporary publications.

The treasures of book culture from the collections of the Museum of Literature and the Prague Castle Archive include specimens that are remarkable from the point of view of the history of manuscript and printed books in terms of top-quality scribal and typographic design and the presence of representative illuminations and illustrations, or exemplary book bindings. Visitors can look forward to unique exhibits such as a Latin medieval parchment manuscript from the 14th century, a Czech author's manuscript of a medical book from the end of the 16th century, equipped with a Renaissance binding made of brown calf leather decorated with embossing carrying figural motifs, or a two-volume edition of the Latin version of the historical work Bibliotheca historica by Diodorus of Sicily created in 1746 in Amsterdam. Also included are works by leading names in Czech graphics and typography of the 20th century – Jindřich Štýrský, Karel Teige, Ladislav Suttnar or Josef Váchal.

The exhibition will also present the most beautiful Czech books selected from the 60-year history of the competition of the same name organized by the Museum of Czech Literature. The selection of publications accentuates the spectrum of authors who used various individual forms of art and craftsmanship including experimental ones. It is a confrontation of the development of book culture in different centuries, but also a demonstration of the possibilities of book printing and bookbinding today. It is here that you can follow the development of typography itself and new forms of lettering, book bindings and the influence of artistic creation on book design.

The opening of the exhibition will take place in June, on the one hundred year anniversary of the death of Franz Kafka whose creative career was connected with Prague Castle - between 1916 and 1917 he created in the house at No. 22 in Zlatá ulička (Golden Lane), the short stories The Country Doctor and The Report for the Academy. For the exhibition, the Franz Kafka Society has lent a part of the original contents of his library, which will give visitors an insight into the world of literary inspirations of one of the most important writers in history.

The architecturally-exceptional and richly-decorated first floor of the Royal Summer Palace will offer visitors space for relaxation and reading in the airy reading room, while the building's walkways offer unique views of the Castle, the surrounding gardens and the Prague skyline.

The exhibition is organized by the Prague Castle Administration in cooperation with the Museum of Czech Literature/Museum of Literature and the Identity Project.

Date and place

7 June - 20 October 2024
Royal Summer Palace
open daily 10 am - 6 pm


Basic: 150 Kč

Reduced: 70 Kč

Family: 300 Kč

Castle map