The history of the National Gallery in Prague started to be written in 1796 when a group of significant representatives of the patriotically oriented Czech nobility along with several middle-class intellectuals from the ranks of Enlightenment movement decided to elevate the deteriorated taste of the local public. The corporation, that time called Society of Patriotic Friends of the Arts, then established two important institutions which Prague had – the Academy of Fine Arts and the publicly accessible Picture Gallery – predecessor of today National Gallery in Prague, that was established by and its activity is based on Law No. 148/1949 Coll. on the National Gallery in Prague.
The original idea that has lasted since the establishment of the National Gallery has been present in all the complicated peripeties of the Gallery’s development: to elevate the nation’s spirit through works of art. This ideal is considered the mission of the National Gallery even today.