Litomyšl Castle

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Maerten van Heemskerck (1498—1574)


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Renaissance palace in Litomyšl, 57 km south-east of Hradec Králové in Bohemia (now Czech Republic). The 16th-century building is one of the best examples of Bohemian Renaissance architecture. There was a fortified Slav settlement on the site, then a castle (first mentioned in ad 981) and from 1344 a bishop's residence. In 1567 it was acquired by the Bohemian Chancellor, Vratislav of Pernštejn, who decided to build a luxurious and imposing family residence there. He summoned from Prague the court architect Giovanni Battista Aostalli, who was in charge of the project from 1568 to 1575. The house was completed by Ulrico Aostalli in 1581. Its plan comprises a massive three-storey block in four wings around two internal courtyards, with the chapel of St Michael in the south-east corner. The older medieval buildings were incorporated into the Renaissance complex in parts of the west and north wings. The main exterior façades are not architecturally articulated except for a loggia opened to both sides on the second floor of the south wing. After 1580 the façades were faced with sgraffito rustication by Simon Vlach. The corner pavilions of the building are topped by gables, articulated with pilasters over which horizontal cornices run.


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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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