Castle No. 59 - New Burgrave´s House, restoration of renaissance mural paintings


In year 1998 have been completely restored the mural paintings on facade of New burgrave´s house at II. courtyard of chateau Český Krumlov. Building of New burgrave´s house was constructed in year 1578 as part of the great reconstruction of the old Krumlov castle into renaissance mansion (Renaissance reconstruction of chateau Český Krumlov). Large building and decorational adaptations had launched a penultimate Rožmberk ruler Vilém of Rožmberk the author of project of New burgrave´s house, in documents mentioned as Buchalteria, was probably Italian architect Baldassare Maggi of Arogno, who has during this period worked as main Rožmberks constructor.

Inspection of Schwarzenberg grenadier guard, II. courtyard of Český Krumlov Castle, picture from 1900

During centuries changed the New burgrave´s house several times its usage and since 1931 is in its areal located state regional chancery and chateau library. Outside architectonic shape of building has not been changed from its origin. It has been built as one floor two-wing house in northeast part of II. yard of chateau. Volume and shape of building is characterized by large facade broke up in periodical rhythm by line of portholes with profiled granite panelling. Dominant element of northern facade is massive portal of stone with Rožmberks coat of arms on stone supporting vault, which opens east wing of building into I. yard of chateau. Mass of building graduates by steep roof with line of slender, richly formed renaissance chimneys.1)

Chateau Český Krumlov, New burgrave's houseové, detail of west facade before restoration, foto: Ing. Ladislav Pouzar, 1997 Chateau Český Krumlov, New burgrave's house, detail of west facade after restoration, foto: Ing. Ladislav Pouzar, 1998

Mural paintings were finished shortly after the construction of building. Spaces on facade are covered by painted blocks and floors are separated by illusory moulding with winded motive. At moulding are resting illusive pillars, alternated in east wing by niches with fictional statues: Courage (Fortitudo), Clemency (Temperantia), Judita, Lukrécie and Volcano. Capitals of pillars support the lintels with high fabion, on which are located oval fields with allegorical figure, scenes from Ovidius´es Metamorphos and Old Testament fableaus. These figural scenes are accompanied with rich maze of rolwerk ornaments and grotesque motives. Paintings are done in gray chiaroscure colors, which suggest impression of splendid relief of stone, what intensifies stern monumentality of building. As an author of paintings is in literature mentioned Gabriel de Blonde, who has for long time worked for Rožmberks. This claim is not documented by written sources nor by comparation with other works of Gabriel de Blonde.

Judita, woodcarving from Johann and Adriaen Collaerts, model for mural painting at facade of New burgrave's house Judita, mural painting at facade of New burgrave's house, after reconstruction in 1998, foto: Mgr. Lubor Mrázek

Paintings on New burgrave´s house have been restored in period 1842 - 43 by František Flath and their further reparation carried out painter Ludvík Kuba in 1908. In next decades have been on facade made just mechanical repairs of the most damaged parts and only in 1982 was here carried out the restoration exploration by team led by academic painter Prokopec.2) Complex restoration was done in 1998.

Lukrécie, woodcarving from Johann and Adriaen Collaerts, model for mural painting at facade of New burgrave's house Lukrécie, mural painting at facade of New burgrave's house, after reconstruction in 1998, foto: Mgr. Lubor Mrázek

Before renovation in 1998 were paintings in very poor condition mostly before breakdown. Besides defects caused by natural aging of plaster as well as color parts the paintings were mainly violated by capillarity of humidity in groundfloor parts of facade and by permanent leakage of water around rain gutter. Due to high penetration of water to plasters, intensive migration and crystallization of salt, freezing and other destructive operations were these parts of facade highly damaged and original plasters with paintings were lost. Painting decoration of facade was also dirty and at many spots mechanically harmed during undisciplined reconstruction in past and also because increasing tourism in chateau. Serious source of damage was also inapt technologies used during restorations in years 1842 - 43 and 1908. To unsuitable condition of paintings contributed the long-term absence of preventive restoration interference. Technological and methodological problem was the interface of original renaissance paintings with reconstructions and retouching from renovations in years 1842 - 43 and 1908.

Temperancia, woodcarving from Johann and Adriaen Collaerts, model for mural painting at facade of New burgrave's house Temperancia, mural painting at facade of New burgrave's house, after restoration in 1998, foto: Mgr. Lubor Mrázek

This complicated condition of plasters and paintings had to be judged during forming of fixed conception of restoration. Selected conception was aimed to presentation of original renaissance paintings combined by technologically functional and artistic acceptable historic adjuncts. Methodically was this concept supported by idea of integrity reflecting the condition of monument, when are organically combined the physical, historic and esthetic transformations, which were made during life of this art piece and which must be protected in order to learn more about it.3) Painting decoration of II. yard is represented mainly by combination of the original paintings with adjuncts from years 1842 - 43 and 1908. Completely destroyed parts of facade were via this conception solved by technologically and artistic adequate retouches and renovations. Mentioned conception preferred the integrity of monument, e.g. physical, historic and esthetic compatibility to unilateral election of its renaissance authenticity. Important role during decision making about renovation conception played the effort to rehabilitate the original illusory architectonic function of paintings, replenishing the real architecture of building.

Volcano, woodcarving from Johann and Adriaen Collaerts, model for mural painting at facade of New burgrave's house Volcano, mural painting at facade of New burgrave's house, after reconstruction in 1998, foto: Mgr. Lubor Mrázek

The renovation works started with complex exploration of plaster and color layers. This exploration was supposed to evaluate intimately the condition, composition and extent of the original plaster with paintings and rate and quality of secondary operations. Another aim of mentioned exploration was to recognise artistic, technical and technological instruments related to realization of original painting and historic repairs. Mainly to recognise techniques of original painting, identification of so called daily parts (Tagwerk), chiselled drafts, composition plans etc. Information were probed by laboratory inspection of seized samples or visually right on plaster and drawn into the photographic plans of facade.

After probing the exploration the renovation was started. Works aimed to preservation of authentic renaissance paintings and in parts where original was not conserved, functional reconstructions from the 19th and beginning of the 20th Century were mothballed. Younger reconstructions and repaints were respected as well, sometimes weakened or retouched in places, where their removal could endanger the original. From devastated ground floor parts were removed the rests of disparate plaster, realized new ones with illusory blocking made by technique al fresco. During the reconstruction minded the restorers the continuity between colors and script of reconstruction and original renaissance painting and respected historic repairs.

Chateau Český Krumlov, New bugrave's house, detail of south facade, before restoration, foto: J. a P. Novotný, 1997 Chateau Český Krumlov, New burgrave's house, detail of south facade, after reconstruction, foto: J. a P. Novotný, 1998

Material base of restoration came out from nowaday standards. For hardening of color layer and plaster were used materials of SAX Tiefgrund W company and for injections the material LEDAN, plaster adjuncts were carried out by calcareous mortar prepared at the place from send, slaked lime and part of white cement. Retouches were made by aquarelle and casein tempera with pigments Schmincke. For reconstruction of frescos were used lime white and black Fe3O4. During the restoration exploration and renovation itself were specified or newly explained some artisitic, historic, craft and technical questions about origin and development of painting decoration at II. yard of chateau. Result of historic and artistic research were published in international collection (Techniken der Fasssadendekoration, publisher: Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege, München 1999, pages 13 - 35), restoration report documenting accurate results of researches as well as separate stages of it is deposited in chancery of State office for protection of monuments in České Budějovice and in office of director of State chateau and castle Český Krumlov.

Chateau Český Krumlov, New burgrave's house, west facade, before reconstruction, foto: J. a P. Novotný, 1997 Chateau Český Krumlov, New burgrave's house, west facade, after reconstruction, foto: J. a P. Novotný, 1998

Restoration of paintings at II. yard of Krumlov´s chateau ensured the State office for protection of monuments in České Budějovice in cooperation with Chateau´s management. For restoration were detached means from budget of the State office for protection of monuments and part of costs were paid from program EU Raphaelo (www.raphaelo.org). For restoration works the conditions were put out for tender, from which came out as winners restorers Mgr. Josef and Petr Novotní. Concept of restoration and supervision over relic guaranteed Pavel Jerie from State institute of relic care in Prague and Mgr. Petr Pavelec from State office for protection of monuments in České Budějovice.

(pp)

Notes :

  1. Information about structural-historic development of object integrally summarizes: MUK Jan, LANCINGER Luboš, Český Krumlov, Structural-historic exploration of areal of chateau , No. 59 - regional chancery and chateau library, Prague 1990, (typescript is stored in chancery of State office for protection of monuments in České Budějovice and in office of director of State chateau and castle Č.Krumlov). Here can be also found accurate list of other literature and archival written, pictorial and plan materials.

  2. PROKOPEC Petr, (collective), Restoration report - research, Prague 1982 (typescript is stored in chancery of the State office for protection of monuments in České Budějovice as number 320).

  3. Ethical codex and rules for restoration of artistic works, published Association of restorers and company Re art Praha, Prague 1991, page 8.

Further information :
WWW.RAPHAELO.ORG
Chateau No. 59 - New burgrave´s house
Chateau No. 59 - Lower castle, restoration of renaissance mural paintings
Chateau Český Krumlov in renaissance period
Renaissance reconstruction of chateau Český Krumlov
Gabriel de Blonde
Renovation of chateau Český Krumlov today and in close future