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The cache is a small magnet box. You need to bring your own pen. The area is extremely busy and full of muggles. PLEASE TAKE EXTRA CARE NOT TO BE SEEN. After dark might be the best time to get this cache..
PLEASE REPLACE IT EXACTLY WHERE YOU FOUND IT SO IT WILL REMAIN HIDDEN
Cache is wheelchair accessible but very crowded, thus the harder difficulty rating.
This cache is for people who like logging caches in muggle-filled areas and who want to explore the area’s architecture. There are also plenty of cafes, pubs, shops and sights in the area.
PLEASE NOTE: Cache has already gone missing twice in a short period of time. Be responsible and put it back EXACTLY where you find it. I keep finding it NOT in its proper place. MAKE SURE IT CANNOT BE SEEN BY MUGGLES. Any more problems and I will have to cancel this cache and archive it.
Cubism is an art form generally thought to have been created by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, inspired by Cézanne’s later work, while they were living in Montmartre, Paris. It simplifies natural forms into geometric shapes and breaks the surface of things into multifaceted areas, giving multiple viewpoints - as if the objects had all their faces visible at the same time. The object pictured becomes fragmented and redefined within a shallow plane or within several interlocking and often transparent planes.
The name comes from art critic Louis Vauxcelles, who described it as “full of little cubes”. Many people consider Picasso’s 1907 Les Demoiselles d'Avignon to be the first true Cubist painting, followed by Three Women and the sculpture Head of a Woman (Fernande Olivier), sculpted in 1909 and first displayed in 1913.
Czech Cubism was an avant-garde art movement that was active mainly in Prague from 1910-14, primarily as a decorative motif on stripped Neo-Classical and Modernist buildings. The Czech Cubist group (Capek, Chochol, Gocár, Hofman, Janák, and Novotny) treated façades with prismatic ornament and toyed with asymmetrical composition, interpenetration of volumes, transparency, and perception simultaneously from various points of view. The Czech style moved away from the “little boxes” of Cubism, replacing them with diagonal and triangular polygonal shapes that seem to change with the viewer’s perspective, which may explain why these early 20th century experiments seem to blend so well with Prague's baroque architecture.
The Czechs were far from unified in their approach to architectural Cubism – some aimed for pure geometry, with special attention to how light and weather would interact with the geometry and the building material itself; others saw the movement as a highly subjective struggle between imaginative spirit and inert materials that illuminated the physical laws of matter and the ambiguous place of individual human consciousness within a world made up of those laws. In all cases, however, the separation between the wall and its ornamentation vanish, creating a blurring of the lines between building material and decoration, inside and outside space, and external physicality and internal, subjective viewpoint.
Czech Cubism had two main stages: the First Period, 1911-1917 (the final years that Czech lands would be part of the Hapsburg Empire) and the Second Period, 1918-1927 (when Czechoslovakia was created and a new national identity was being formed).
After WWI, Czech Cubist architects, mainly Josef Gocár (whose 1913 House of the Black Madonna was the first Cubist structure built in Prague) and Pavel Janák (whose 1911 article “The Prism and the Pyramid”, published in Art Monthly, is generally seen as the birth of Czech Architectural Cubism), changed their approach to decoration, adding circles and folklore elements in an attempt to create a “national style” and in response to the Functionalist movement’s call for the stripping of ornamentation in the name of “mathematical harmony.” In the 1920s, the avant-garde Marxist Karel Teige insisted on a “new proletarian art . . . a kind of socialist Gothic” to break with the Modernist styles from before the war, a “scientific Functionalism” that kept some of the ideas of early Czech Cubism but evolved them to fit the new age and new nation.
Rondo-Cubism is not found outside of the Czech Republic.
Thanks to Wikipedia, the Columbia Encyclopedia, the Oxford Dictionary of Architecture and Landscaping, “Preliminary Notes on Cubist Architecture in Prague” by Ian Johnson and the book Czech Architectural Cubism by Zdenek Lukeš and Ester Havlová (an overview of and guidebook to Czech Cubism in architecture, available at the Cubism Museum in the House of the Black Madonna).
NEARBY (Waypoints and More)
The area near the cache is rich in early 20th-century Czech architecture. It is suggested that you visit the waypoints and see the different styles and structures and THEN reward yourself with the cache itself.
In addition to Cubist buildings, there are many Functionalist and Modernist works in the area as well. There is plenty of Art Nouveau as well.
- C1 - Cubist Streetlamp (1912-13, Emil Králícek). A geometrical Art Nouveau work with Cubist details, this is the only Cubist lamppost in the world. It was attacked by conservationists in the city for its modern look in a city filled with baroque and gothic treasures, so the Cubists took it as a sort of symbol for their movement.
- Behind the Cubist Streetlamp is the Gothic St. Mary of the Snows, originally conceived by Charles IV as a coronation church to rival St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle. Sadly, money ran out shortly after completion of the chancel, so today it is a curiosity – a church as tall as a cathedral, with vaulting 100 feet high, but very short in length.
- There is also the Dum Knihy (entrance in the passage that leads to Wenceslas Square, not far form the streetlamp), a huge bookstore that claims to be the biggest in Prague (though NeoLuxor, halfway down Wenceslas Square, claims to be the largest in Central Europe). It has a café and English-language books are upstairs (top floor).
- C2 - At number 4 on the square there is a commercial and apartment house by Rudlof Stockar from 1920-22 in Rondo-Cubist style.
- C3 - Straight ahead, on the other side of the square, is the Adria Palace (1923-24, Josef Zasche in collaboration with Pavel Janák), a massive Rondo-Cubist take on a Venetian palace with integrated sculptures, in which the sharp angles of Cubism are rounded and softened. A multi-purpose structure built for the Italian insurance company Reale Adriatica di Sigurta, the Art Deco interior holds a clock with 12 sculptures representing the signs of the zodiac, a café, a restaurant, a gallery, shops, offices, and a theater - originally the Lanterna Magicka, where Vaclav Havel and the Civic Forum held meetings with students during the Velvet Revolution of 1989. It was reconstructed in 1996-97.
- With the streetlamp to your back, straight ahead and on the left is U Pinkasu, the first Pilsner Urquell pub in Prague and former haunt of writer Bohumil Hrabal and other notable personalities.
- F1 - Just past the pub, there is the Functionalist two-storey House of Musical Instruments (1938-39). A bit further on is another Functionalist building, which today holds an Adidas store.
- Near the statue, right by the metro entrance, is a fantastic Art Nouveau doorway.
- F2 - Around the corner is the white, tiered Functionalist ARA Department Store Building (currently a bank) on the corner of Perlova.
- M1 - A bit down Narodni, at number 36 on the left, is the former House of the Czechoslovak Werkbund (1934-38) with a glass facade that is today unfortunately covered with advertising. The passageway expands into a courtyard with a movable roof and the basement held an exhibition hall.
- M2 - On the same side of Narodni, at number 30, there is a former bookshop that is now the Scála Gallery. This 1938 work was one of the last designed by Frantisek Zelenka, a Jewish architect and stage designer who died in Auschwitz in 1944.
- M3 - Next to Adria Palace is the old Skoda Works Building (1923-26, Pavel Janák) which today is the Magistrat for Prague.
- M4 - Across the street is the Mozarteum (1912-13, Jan Kotera) with a tri-axial facade that ends in a tympanum. The bearing wall on the outer face shifts 7.5 cm with each floor, giving the whole structure a “plastic” texture. In 1925, the large hall inside was used for a cycle of lectures on “New Architecture” by the likes of Le Corbusier, Loos and Gropius. Today the ground floor houses a North Face store.
- F3 - Next door to that is the Functionalist Te-Ta Department Store Building (1933), now apartments. Walk through the passage to get to the Franciscan Gardens that lead out to Wenceslas Square.
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