Exhibition: The Buddha Up Close (National Gallery Prague)

Date of event:   03/12/2021 − 24/04/2022

Title: The Buddha Up Close
Duration: 3 December 2021 to 24 April 2022
Location: National Gallery Prague, Prague, Czech Republic


From 3 December 2021 to 24 April 2022, the National Gallery Prague hosts the exhibition The Buddha Up Close at the Waldstein Riding School with the aim of introducing the main principles of Buddhism through visual art, thus combining an aesthetic experience with historical facts and spiritual inspiration.


The exhibition, organized by the National Gallery Prague in collaboration with the Museum Rietberg Zurich, presents more than 100 items from Swiss collections and over 70 works from Czech collections, chiefly the gallery’s own Collection of Asian Art. Sculptures, paintings, and other Buddhist artworks made from the second to the twentieth centuries reflect the exhibition’s main concept – to present the multicultural nature of Buddhism, which does not consist of only one single direction but comprises various teachings and traditions. The exhibition presents important Buddhist artworks from the National Gallery Prague together with masterpieces of Buddhist art from the collections of the Museum Rietberg Zurich that are being shown in the Czech Republic for the first time. In addition, the exhibition’s theme offers not only a learning experience but also strengthens moral values, religious understanding, and multicultural awareness.


Designed in the form of thematic sections, the project reveals the importance of Buddhism and how it spread from India to other areas of Asia and even to Europe. It strives to answer questions about its founder, the Buddha Shakyamuni (about 480⁠–400 BCE), the paths along which Buddhism spread throughout south-eastern Asia, and the contributions of the Buddha’s teachings.


The opening chapter of the exhibition shows the diverse representations of the Buddha in various Asian cultures. The next sections are focused on works inspired by the Buddha’s life, from his birth to his entering to nirvana, on Buddhist teachings and their spread across the Asian continent, and the reception of Buddhism in the Czech lands from the end of the nineteenth century to the present day.


Both the exhibition catalogue The Buddha Up Close and the educational book The Little Buddha are published in English.

For more information, please visit the website here.