Bílá Hora

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Hill near the village of Liboc, 14 km from Prague, famed as the site of the defeat in 1620 of the Czech forces in revolt against the Habsburgs. One km south is the former game park of Hvězda (star), in which a villa (‘Star Castle’) was built (1555–6), with a ground-plan shaped like a six-pointed star, and set in a sham defensive enceinte with projecting towers by Hans Tirol and Bonifaz Wolmut to the designs of Giovanni Maria Aostalli and Giovanni Luchese (d 1581). Rhomboidal chambers are located in the points of the star at ground- and first-floor level, separated in each case by a peripheral corridor from a polygonal central hall. The top floor, however, is given over to a single star-shaped hall. The roof comprises six steeply pitched hips, which converge at the apex. This idiosyncratic design is a centrally planned caprice of a type often designed (sometimes with symbolic implications), but rarely executed, by Italian Mannerist architects. A brilliant stucco cycle (1556–61), probably the work of Antonio Brocco (fl c. 1550–1600) and others, inspired by Roman frescoes of the 1st and 2nd centuries ad, accentuates the Mannerist contrast with the austere exterior. The villa is the only survivor of its kind from the 16th century in central Europe.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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