The Rudolfinium is a music venue in the Czech Republic capital of Prague. It was originally constructed as an art gallery, and was built in the late 19th century. It is now the official home of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. The structure forms part of a group of three buildings on the square which include the Academy of Arts and the Faculty of Philosophy.
The building is named after Rudolf, the crown prince of the Habsburgs, who killed himself in 1889. Besides its early use as an art gallery, between the world wars it was put to use as the home of the parliament of Czechoslovakia. The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra took up residence in 1946. Nevertheless, art has not been entirely forgotten as a relatively small gallery of modern art survives in the building.
Construction of the venue began in 1876 under the direction and design of Josef Schulz and Josef Zitek. A location close to the Charles Bridge was chosen in order to display the building to full effect. Because of its immense scale, work on the building took eight years to complete, with the hall finally opening in 1884. The building, which is decorated in an ornate neo-renaissance fashion, stands by the side of the Vltava River, on Jan Palach Square.
Along with Prague’s National Theater, the Rudolfinium is generally seen as one of the city’s outstanding examples of architecture in the neo-renaissance style. It is especially famed for its interior concert hall, which retains most of its original 19th century features and is dedicated to the Czech composer Antonin Dvorák. A second smaller hall intended for performances of chamber music sits behind it. The hall also contains a large Rieger-Kloss organ. On top of the building’s cornice is a balustrade displaying a number of statues. These represent a wide range of European artists, sculptors, and composers, including the likes of Beethoven, Bach, Donatello, and Bramanti.