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The works displayed in galleries may only be seen by the visitors. However, Osvald Polívka (1859-1931) had the good fortune that he excelled at the architectural profession and his luxurious art is viewed by passers-by on daily basis.

Czech Architects: Architect Osvald Polívka and his Contribution to Prague

Mgr. Jana Höger
10.Oct 2018
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1 minute to read
Mariánské náměstí, Prague

Cross-section of the stylish handwriting of the author

The promising artist perfected his senses and imagination during drawing and descriptive geometry lessons. Artistically he was initially enraptured by historicism, especially neo-renaissance of Anthony Wiehl, with whom he had also briefly cooperated. Then came the luxurious art nouveau and eventually modernism.

The luxurious buildings

He indelibly changed the face of Prague by the design of the notable building of Zemská banka, Na Příkopě Street, with a subsequent extension connected by bridges over Nekázanka. One of the other stately buildings of public benefit was the Prague City Bank (Městská spořitelna pražská) in Rytířská street. The project has not been selected even in the second round of the architectural selection procedure, while numerous design plans were submitted. Finally, this neo-renaissance, originally two-floor building, was assigned to Antonín Wiehl and Osvald Polívka, who added the third floor in 1931. The New town hall located in Mariánské náměstí (Marian Square) comes from years 1908-1911. The building is decorated with sculptures by Stanislav Sucharda, Josef Mařatka and Ladislav Šaloun. The New Town Hall currently houses the capital city management.

Stately buildings of grand luxury style

Městská pojišťovna (The City Insurance Company) in Old Town Square bears neo-baroque elements. Art Nouveau is noticeable also in respect of the Obecní dům (Municipal House) of the capital city of Prague. It is an architectural luxury pearl in the Republic Square in the neighbourhood of Prašná brána (Powder Gate). This representative, stately building is historically in a strategic place, because here starts the so-called Královská cesta (Royal Avenue). Autonomy of Czechoslovakia was proclaimed here and in November 1989 the Civic Forum was assembled here, meeting the representatives of the communist regime. He also made design plans for the building which houses the largest insurance company in the world, Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A., on the corner of Wenceslas Square.

Prodej luxusního bytu s terasou, Praha 8
Prodej luxusního bytu s terasou, Praha 8, Praha 8

Osvald Polívka, a well-known unknown personality

It is known that Osvald Polívka liked to accompany his buildings by sculptural decorations by leading Czech sculptors, which matched his pursuit of rich dynamic expression. He often designed his buildings inclusive of frequently costly interiors. His architectural virtuosity is perhaps overshadowed by style eclecticism; however, we can proudly say that he put his heart into his work for our city of Prague.

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