Sunday, 25 October 2009
Yesterday I visited the lovely Renaissance chateau of Kratochvile between Prachatice and Ceske Budejovice. It was quite unlike anything I had visited in the Czech Republic, a sort of Czech palace crossed with an Italian villa. Which is not altogether surprising as the palace was designed by an Italian architect Baldassar Maggi of Arogno for Vilem of Rozmberk.
It is a palace built for pleasure and reflection, something that is to be seen in the design of the rooms, with downstairs featuring incredible hunting scenes on the ceilings, including much to my delight a picture of a fox with feathers sticking out of its mouth, and then upstairs we have more celestial images, of the classical myths and biblical motifs. Downstairs the decoration are in strong bold pictures with bright colours, upstairs the decoration is incredible stucco work of a clarity and style that I have never seen before.
It is hard to imagine that this wonderful building was built on marshland and its unstable foundations have caused problems for its owners and now restorers over the years. Somehow it seemed appropriate to me, as if the palace was a mirage, a building not of this material world.
I read the back of the ticket and smiled. It read "It (the palace) calls on the visitor to find peace and regenerate one‘s spiritual forces. Let us obey this call and reflect about the past tales of passion, and if we understand them, we shall be able to understand ourselves." Trust those Czechs to put something like that on a ticket.
If you want to know more visit the palace website