The painting collection of the Archbishopric of Olomouc is the second most valuable in the Czech Republic after the National Gallery in Prague. The most valuable painting in the collection is the Apollo and Marsyas by the Venetian painter Tiziano Vecellio. The collection was established by Bishop of Olomouc Karl II von Liecthenstein-Castelcorno and it contains works ranging from gothic to late baroque periods.
Some of the very first items were purchased during the episcopacy of Bishop Stanislaus Thurzo (1497–1540) – these include e.g. the two altar paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder. The fundamental part of the collection is represented by the purchases of Karl II von Liecthenstein-Castelcorno (1664–1695). His major acquisition was the purchase of a part of the collection formerly held by the English king Charles I Stuart and count Thomas Howard of Arundel from Cologne art traders Franz and Bernard von Imstenraed in 1673. Besides this magnificent collection he also bought several smaller attractive sets and through a network of agents he was also able to buy directly from the artists.
In the 18th century the collection grew with the purchases of bishop Ferdinand Julius Troyer von Troyerstein (1746–1758) and Leopold Friedrich von Egkh (1758–1760). In the 19th and 20th century the collection received new acquisitions through Cardinal Friedrich von Fürstenberg (1853–1892), archbishop Theodor Kohn (1893–1904), and archbishop Leopold Prečan (1923–1947). The collection therefore documents the evolution of styles and tastes of its founders, as well as the different requirements for representation in the individual periods.
The gallery consists of several halls, each representing a different art style. Hall No 1 presents gothic and renaissance art, including the oldest paintings kept at the Kroměříž collection. Hall No 2 presents the Dutch and German portrait painting, which had evolved in the second half of the 14th century as a specific art category. The display in the third hall focuses on the European genre painting of the 16th century, mostly from the Dutch painting workshops. Dutch painting of the 17th century Golden Era is presented in the fourth room; at that time, the Netherlands was split into the southern and northern part, with each of the regions following different evolution in terms of religion, politics, and economics, but in art they both issued from the same foundations and ideals. Italian renaissance painting is the highlight of the fifth room. Besides a number of the Venetian School painters there is one particularly beautiful painting known as the Adoration of the Child by Neri di Bicci, who represents the painting school of Tuscany. Hall No 6 presents the Vision of St. Francis of Assisi by Giovanni Antonio Fasolo. Hall No 7 presents one of the finest representatives of 16th century Venetian painting, Jacopo dal Ponte, known as Jacopo Bassano. 17th century Italian painting is represented by several excellent works by different paintings schools displayed in Hall No 8, and Central European art is presented in Hall 9.