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Barbora Klipcová – Petr Uličný

Domenico Pugliani: A New Face in the History of Wallenstein Palace in Prague

This article presents transcription and comments on a recently discovered list of contracts signed in 1623–1630 with stucco artists, painters, stonemasons, and other craftsmen who worked on Albrecht of Wallenstein’s palace in Prague and on his country house and garden in Bubny near Prague. This source provides information about Domenico Pugliani, a Florentine painter who had not previously been linked to Wallenstein Palace and who, based on evidence in this document, can now be identified as the author of most of the palace’s paintings. The list of contracts indicates that in March 1627 (but in reality not until 1628) a contract was signed with Pugliani to do work previously attributed to another Florentine painter with a similar style of painting, Baccio del Bianco. As del Bianco later stated himself in a letter, he worked on decorating the main hall, the audience hall, and St Wenceslas Chapel in the palace as well as other commissions. This work must have been done sometime in 1623. The evidence in the list of contracts makes it possible to now attribute only the fresco depicting the god Mars on the ceiling of the main hall to del Bianco, while the author of most of the other paintings, including the altar painting in the Chapel of St Wenceslas, completed in 1630, can be attributed to Pugliani. The latter can also be identified as the ‘Italian painter’ Wallenstein refers to in a letter from 1632 as having previously worked on his palace in Prague and whom he wished then to send to Jičín to decorate his residence and the Church of St James there. Pugliani’s absence from Florence is confirmed by Italian sources, which indicate that in 1628–1633 he was in ‘Germanie’, while the list of contracts reveals that where he was exactly was in Prague. Pugliani and his assistants in all likelihood also did the paintings in the loggia in 1629–1630, although the list of contracts does not provide evidence for this. A contract was signed with him on April 1630 to paint the retirada next to the loggia. There are also records of contracts from 1626 to work on the grotto in Wallenstein’s villa garden in Bubny. A contract to stucco the main hall, the chapel, the audience hall and the lower gallery was already signed with stucco artist Domenico Canevalle in April 1623, a full half year before Wallenstein was even awarded the title of prince in September of that year. Wallenstein had thus already initiated the renovation of his palace into a prince’s residence in 1622, well in advance of his being conferred this status.

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