Wallenstein Palace

Wallenstein Palace Palace salla terrena

The Wallenstein Palace Complex, which now houses the Ministry of Culture was built in 1623 in the Little Quarter for Count Albrecht von Wallenstein. It is the first monumental early Baroque building in Prague.

The palace, built on the site of 23 houses and three gardens, is asymmetrically located around five courtyards, with a spacious garden, including a lake, aviary, and riding school.

Wallenstein Palace History

Building began in 1623 after a design by Andrea Spezza that still included some Mannerist elements. Most of the Wallenstein Palace was completed by 1633. The garden sala terrena was the first big project of this type, north of the Alps.

Prague Wallenstein palace

The garden, a paramount work of Central European Mannerism, was set up at the same time, and Adriaen de Vries designed the Neptune Fountain and four smaller fountains for the garden together with bronze mythological heroes and groups of muscular wrestlers, water gods, nymphs and sirens set in the parterres. In 1630 Wallenstein acquired Benedikt Wurzelbauer’s statue of Venus from the fountain of the Lobkovic garden and placed it on the Neptune Fountain.

After Wallenstein’s murder in 1634, the palace was seized by Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor; it was acquired by Maximilian von Wallenstein, a nephew of the original owner, in 1639.

allenstein Palace Adriaen de Vries Herkules Statue

The Swedes caused considerable damage in 1648 when they confiscated many items, including the garden sculptures, which were taken to the Drottningholm Palace, near Stockholm (later, replicas placed in the Wallenstein garden): Wurzelbauer’s Venus alone was returned by the Swedes in 1889. In 1938 a giardinetto was designed in front of the sala terrena, and the entire garden assumed its present form, designed by M. Vincík, in 1955. At the same time, the riding school was adapted for the purposes of the National Gallery by Vincík and J. Pecánková.

The main, front wing, which extends 19 bays, encloses in its center the original Trcka house. The two-story Knights’ Hall forms the centerpiece. Its shallow vault is decorated in stucco with military motifs and figures of genii, surrounding a ceiling fresco of Albrecht von Wallenstein as Mars by Baccio del Bianco.

The doorways, made before 1720 to František Maximilián Kaňka’s designs, were brought from the Černín Palace in the restoration of 1853. In 1630 Bianco decorated the two-story chapel, which also contains a carved wooden altarpiece by Ernst Johann Heidelberger, with frescoes of scenes from the Life of St Wenceslas and, over the organ-loft, the Life of the Virgin.

Wallenstein Palace Adriaen de Vries Statue

The audience hall in the north wing has paintings and stucco dating from the late 17th century, the ceiling depicting the Triumph of Apollo, with personifications of the Seasons. The Astronomy Corridor was decorated before 1630 with paintings of mythological personifications of seven planets, the continents, and Zodiac symbols, set in rich stucco frames.

The three-bay sala terrena, probably by Giovanni Pieroni da Galiano or Andrea Spezza, is fronted by doubled Tuscan columns. Its deep barrel vault was decorated with stucco by Dominico Canevale de Moneto and Santino Gallo from 1629–30 and frescoed by Baccio del Bianco with subjects from Virgil’s Aeneid. The garden court of the riding school was modified in 1978.

Wallenstein Palace Map

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