Telč, Moravia, Czech Republic
David Lipart (active in Brtnice, 1715–1718) Václav Kovanda, František J. Hamb, Karel Škréta (1610–1674, Prague), Jan Jiří Heinsch (1647 Kladsko – 1712 Prague) Daniel Gran (1694 Vienna – 1757 St. Pölten), Ignác Raab (1711 Nechanice – 1787 Velehrad), Kaspar Ober, Josef L. Daisinger
Zachariáš of Hradec (1550–1589), Adam II of Hradec (1546–1596), Jáchym Oldřich of Hradec (1577–1604) Slavatas of Chlum and Košumberk (1604–1691), František Antonín of Liechtenstein-Castelkorn (1702), Leopold II, Leopold III, Podstatskýs of Prusinovice (1761–1945)
The town of Telč grew up around a royal homestead founded in the 13th century at the crossroads of busy trade routes. Its present appearance dates from the second half of the 16th century, when the chateau was rebuilt as the seat of the Moravian provincial governor, Zachariáš of Hradec. The arcades and house frontages were constructed to a uniform design. After his death, the town lost the status of feudal seat and became part of the Jindřichův Hradec demesne. Its owner, Vilém Slavata, was one of the victims of Prague Defenestration in 1618. During the Thirty Years’ War the town was plundered by the imperial army under Albrecht of Valdštejn and again in 1645 by the Swedes. It became the governor’s seat again under F. A. Liechtenstein-Castelkorn, whose enterprises launched the reconstruction of the town houses. In 1992 the historic heart of Telč was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The square is lined with picturesque houses with gables and arcades closed off by the chateau to the west. The historical core and original layout of the houses have been preserved each with a width of 8–10 m and a depth of around 30 m. Entering from the square a mighty stone gateway opens into a vaulted vestibule, a “mázhaus”; the gateway of which takes up almost two-thirds of its width. The mázhaus is used for the sale of handicrafts and beer. There are stairs leading to the cellar and upper floors, and a passageway to the yard and garden.
A number of houses are decorated with Renaissance sgraffiti – intricate patterns or images scratched out in wet plaster – and most of them have frontages segmented with relief ornamentation, ledges and niches. They are crowned with volute gables and straight roofs, sometimes with parapet semi-floors, decorated with relief spheres, cones, vases and figurative motifs. The uniform effect is facilitated by blind windows.
The square is an example of a modern urban concept, an effort to create a compact whole. Its multicoloured architecture and decorative sculptures resemble theatre props, creating a space for everyday life. The unique complex of Renaissance and Baroque houses has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
A great many architectural elements feature stonemasons’ marks and dates. For example, the portal of the Jesuit College is dated 1654. The construction of the Plague Column is dated by the donor’s will and by the contracts with the sculptor and stonemasons in charge. Individual building projects were mainly determined by historical events and projects initiated by demesne owners.
1651–1654; 1662–1667; 1747
The construction of both college and church are associated with the Counter-Reformation and the active approach of the Jesuits after the Battle of White Mountain in 1620. The management of the Jesuit College in Jindřichův Hradec made the best of their influence with the owner of the demesne and, after purchasing several houses in the town, they established a seat of the order there. In the west section of the square the original narrow frontages of burgher houses were broken by a monumental two-floor construction and with a church in a new style, styles which influenced all further building in Telč. The church was decorated by various European artists: V. Kovanda, F. J. Hamb, K. Škréta, J. J. Heinsch, D. Gran and I. Raab.
David Lipart (active in Brtnice 1715–1718)
A plague epidemic struck the town in 1681. Construction of the column began in 1700 opposite the house of the burgher Z. Hodová whose inheritance financed the project. A sculptor from Brtnice was chosen for the job; Brtnice was a renowned centre of arts and crafts. The cloud-like column, surrounded by volute pedestals with statues of the saints, is crowned with the figure of the Virgin Immaculata. The base is furnished by grottos within which are St. Rosalia and Mary Magdalene. The burgher’s legacy inspired other inhabitants to civic generosity and their donations paid for many of the sculptures adorning the town, including the Chapel of the Virgin Mary (1719).
The frontages of almost 50 per cent of the houses were re-plastered in the first quarter of the 18th century, not purely for decorative reasons but also because the requirements placed on housing had changed. New larger windows made the interiors considerably lighter. The houses began to feature elements of the Radical Baroque, lacking completely the basic architecture of Telc, and generally rather scarce in Moravia in contrast to Bohemia. The undulating effect of the frontages is enhanced by diagonally positioned pilasters reaching up to the gable tops that are crowned with a window and a vase.
The picturesque undulating effects of volute gables and ledges also appeared far beyond the main square, on country houses and farmhouses.
The figure of the Angel of the Annunciation closes a series of statues lining the route from Telč to Staré Město where the Chapel of the Virgin Mary can be seen with decoration by J. L. Daisinger, an assistant of P. Troger.
K. Ober’s work is seen chiefly in Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou. In Telč he is also responsible for the sculpted decoration on the frontages of two houses in the main square.
Vlasta Kratinová – Bohumil Samek – Miloš Stehlík, Telč, historické město jižní Moravy, Prague, 1992
Miroslav Plaček, Hrady a zámky na Moravě a ve Slezsku, Prague, 1999, pp. 339–341.
Copyright image "Národní památkový ústav v Telči": Národní památkový ústav – územní odborné pracoviště v Telči.
Zora Wörgötter "Telč " in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://www.discoverbaroqueart.org/database_item.php?id=monument;BAR;cz;Mon11_D;3;en
Prepared by: Zora WörgötterZora Wörgötter
AFFILIATION: Moravian Gallery in Brno
TITLE: Museum Curator and Local Co-ordinator
Zora Wörgötter studied Applied Painting at the Secondary School of Applied Arts, Video Art (Faculty of Fine Arts) at the University of Technology in Brno and Art History and Ethnology (Faculty of Arts) at Masaryk University, Brno. She has worked at the Moravian Gallery since 1997 and was curator of the Ancient Art Collection up until 2008. Specialising in Dutch and Central European painting of the 17th and 18th centuries, she has participated in the preparation of several exhibitions, catalogues and research projects in the Czech Republic and abroad, and published in the Moravian Gallery Bulletin, Opuscula historiae artium, and other journals. She is co-ordinator of the Art History Database www.ahice.net for the Czech Republic.
Copyedited by: Jiří KroupaJiří Kroupa
AFFILIATION: Department of the History of Art (Faculty of Arts) Masaryk
Professor Jiří Kroupa studied Art History, History and Sociology Masaryk University, Brno. He was a curator at the Kroměříž Museum and the Moravian Gallery in Brno before joining the staff at Masaryk University in 1988 (Head of the Department 1992–2002; Professor 1999 to present). His particular fields of interest are in the history of architecture, 18th-century cultural history and the methodology of art history. His long list of publications includes an edition on the architect Franz Anton Grimm and an essay “The alchemy of happiness: the Enlightenment in the Moravian context”. He was contributing editor for the volume Dans le miroir des ombres. Moravie a la age baroque. 1670–1790 (2002).
Translation by: Irma Charvátová
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: CZ 03
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Discover Baroque Art Exhibition(s)The Ascension of the Bourgeoisie | The identity and representation of the city Languages of Baroque | Baroque architectural rhetoric and urban structures
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