Pietro Nobile’s and Clemens Wenzel Lothar Meernich’s Idea of the Summer Residence Königswart (1827–1840): a Modern Villa and an Experiment
The Star summer palace in the ‘New Game Reserve’ near Prague was built by Archduke Ferdinand II (1529–1595). The summer palace was built on the architechtural plan of a six-pointed star and the interior of the ground floor is decorated with extraordinary quality stucco decorations, which is one of the earliest manifestations of this decoration technique in Central Europe. It was built between 1556 and 1560 and the stucco decorations is the work of North Italian artisans around the sculptor Antonio Brocco. The construction was to express the politico-mythological representation idea, to celebrate the Habsburg ruler by comparison to the ancient Roman emperors. Grotesque motifs have been integrated into the decoration system, where they accompany the iconographic main themes of the summer palace and complete the overall decoration system of its interior. They are unique examples of this type of decoration in stucco in Czech renaissance art. Many of these elements were taken from ancient sculptures and architecture from the epoch of imperial Rome. Through their multiple use in decoration based on a highly dense texture of lines, frames and figurative and decorative motifs, they co-created a visual field whose effect on the viewer could be compared to a visual effect of the structure of grotesque decoration. Both figurative and ornamental elements appear in this task. Other elements were taken directly from the grotesque decoration an sich. Their proportion is smaller, but, on the other hand, they represent exceptionally good examples of this type of decoration. The ingenious division of the individual fields of stucco decoration and the depiction of ornaments and accompanying motifs, in which grotesque plays an indispensable role, was a very important artistic act that significantly influenced the aesthetically impressive tone of the whole. The effect that the stucco decorations on the Star summer palace has on its observers is given by the synergy of all these factors, in which the complex structure of the decorations attributed an indispensable role to small motifs and their sophisticated incorporation into the whole.
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