The State Castle and Chateau Český Krumlov
The Guided Tour I presents the interiors from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
Château Chapel of Saint George
The current appearance of the originally Gothic chapel dates from 1750-53. The walls are covered with artificial marble. The wooden pews were intended for the servants. The nobility sat upstairs in the oratories, which were heated in winter. The chapel was consecrated to Saint George whose sculpture over the main altar is a work of Jan Antonín Zinner. The side altars are decorated by paintings of St. Anthony of Padua and St. John of Nepomuk (the Schwarzenberg family patron). The remains of St. Calixtus are deposited in a glazed case below the painting of the Virgin Mary. An operable organ from 1750 is located, unusually, on the left side.
This area belongs to the eastern, originally Gothic part of the castle, rebuilt in 1574-77 by Vilém of Rosenberg. It is vaulted with ribbed vaulting and embellished with decorative paintings. The large painting shows the story of the Vítkovec Family division. The ancestor of all the Vítkovecs, Vítek of Prčice divided his possessions among his five sons. Each of them was given a manor, troops and a coat of arms consisting of a cinquefoil rose of a different colour. According to the legend, that was how the Lords of Rosenberg, with a red rose on a silver field, came to be. The painting also shows a view of Krumlov castle in the Gothic period.
The furs in the Renaissance rooms come from the bears from the castle moat, who have been raised there since the time of Vilém of Rosenberg. Bears are connected to the legend of the Rosenbergs’ relation to the Italian family of Orsine (Ursine) – orsa = female bear. The aim of the 15th century legend was to strengthen the exceptional position of the Rosenbergs among Czech nobility by the alleged ancient origin of the family.
The 1st and 2nd Renaissance rooms
This room and the next room originally formed one large room. It was a ruling room and was a part of the representative residential complex of the last Rosenberg rulers. There were lady's rooms (rooms reserved for the noble lady, her suite and servants) upstairs. The first room is now indicatively furnished as a bedroom, which used to be the most important room in a house. People were born here and died here surrounded by the whole family or even the whole court. The portraits next to the entrance door show the same woman in a dress richly decorated with lace, from the mid-17th century. The next room is a feast hall with a stylized portrait of Oldřich II von Rosenberg. He was the head of the Catholic party in Bohemia, fought against the Hussites, and added to the Rosenberg wealth, often illegally. There are replicas of Renaissance glasses (“Vilkuma” – welcoming goblets) and tin dishes set on the table. The walls are decorated with pictures of historic personages and female figures from the Old Testament. Only the painted frieze under the ceiling and some of the furniture have remained from the original Renaissance decoration. The Dutch tapestries from the 17th century which hang on the walls also used to serve as heat insulation.
The 3rd and 4th Renaissance rooms
The last two Renaissance rooms served as antechambers. The adjacent chamber served as a room for the pages. Both the rooms were decorated by the Rosenberg court painter of Dutch origin, Gabriel de Blonde. The paintings on the first antechamber walls are inspired by Old Testament stories (Lot with his daughters and the burning Sodom and Gomorrah is between the windows and the sale of Joseph to Egypt is on the opposite side), the paintings in the second antechamber imitate fabric tapestries. The Renaissance lacunar ceilings with the cinquefoil Rosenberg rose motifs and the window scuncheons with the coat of arms of Vilém von Rosenberg and his three wives are also worth attention. A painting of an ancient myth, “The Judgement of Paris” by Jacob de Backer dating from 1590, hangs over the table in the second antechamber. Next to the entrance door there is a portrait of Perchta, the White Lady of Rosenberg. A legend describes her unhappy marriage, which resulted in her appearing by night in all the Rosenberg castles after her death. There is a portrait of Vilém von Rosenberg with the Golden Fleece, the highest Habsburg award given at that period, between the windows.
This corridor dating from the 16th century is decorated with the coats of arms of the Rosenbergs and their relatives. The coats of arms of subsequent owners of the Château were also painted according to these. The Eggenberg crest and an older version of the Schwarzenberg crest are on the adjacent wall. The Turk's head with a raven memorializes the seizure of the Turkish fortress of Györ by Jan Adolf von Schwarzenberg in 1598 (Györ = Raven). In the first vestibule of Guided Tour I there is the crest of Rudolf II von Habsburg, who owned the Château from 1602 onward. He himself never lived here, but he assigned Krumlov to his illegitimate son, Don Julius d'Austria. The mentally unstable and disabled Julius brutally murdered a girl he had lived with in a fit of insanity. A year later, he died alone in captivity in Krumlov in emotional and physical deprivation. The two carved and gold-plated Rococo sleighs from 1742 were used for rides in the garden in winter. Each was drawn by one horse.
The antecamera (antechamber) is the first room of the large Baroque Schwarzenberg apartment of the early 18th century. Guests used to wait here to be introduced to representative parlours. Two portraits show the first Schwarzenberg owners of the Château, Eleanor Amalia and Adam Francis (who died by accident at the age of 52 when he was fatally shot during a deer hunt by Emperor Karl VI, the father of Marie Theresa). A vedute of the Schwarzenberg summer residence, Červený dvůr, hangs over the fireplace. The other paintings show Eggenberg residences.
The portraits on the walls present members of the Eggenberg family, who gained Krumlov for their financial support and help of the emperor in the Battle of Bílá Hora. The golden Eggenberg carriage of 1638 was made in Rome for a diplomatic mission from the Eggenberg’s palace in Rome to the Vatican informing the Pope about the vote of a new emperor. The carriage was drawn by six horses and accompanied by escorts, whose clothing is displayed in the niche. The carriage is made of walnut and coated with genuine gold leaf.
Baroque dining room
The dining room is furnished in early 18th-century style. The “Judith and Holofernes” tapestries were woven in Brussels in the 17th century. The folding table (for up to 30 people) is laid with tin and faience (Delft china with blue cobalt painting) dishes, which was replaced with china no earlier than the late 18th century. That was the time when use of cutlery in sets of knife, fork and spoon was spreading widely. The small table inlaid with ivory, nacre, ebony and tortoiseshell (probably Dutch work of the 17th century) is an interesting piece of furniture. The original floor of four kinds of wood, dating from the 18th century, is also very attractive.
The room is named for the Rococo sofa with a canopy. It served as a drawing room, for sessions with informal visitors, for conversation and table games. The walls are covered with the then popular draperies. The Rococo taste was also reflected in objects imported from Asia (cabinets, china vases, soapstone figures). The china service reminds us of popular soirées where “trendy” and then exotic drinks – coffee and chocolate - were drunk. There are two Venetian cut mirrors in gold-plated frames located between the windows.
Bedroom of Princess Eleanor Amalie Schwarzenberg with an Oriental parlour and a chapel
This representative bedroom was originally furnished for a visit from Emperor Charles VI himself. The stove (the golden allegoric relief represents Ganymeade being abducted by the god Jove, transformed into an eagle), the fireplace and the mirror next to the door are typical expressions of High Baroque artistic craft. In addition to the sofa with canopy there are several chairs, tables and a desk decorated with a floral inlay of various woods. The portrait over the fireplace shows Adam Francis of Schwarzenberg; the other portrait over the table, his son Josef Adam.
A small parlour for the most intimate society reflecting the preference of that time for the Orient also belongs to the bedroom. The room is decorated with illusive painting of blue faience tiles. The Rococo china chandelier made in Meissen (the oldest china factory in Europe) in the 18th century is charming. The Chapel of the Sick was used for contemplation and praying. Its furnishings date from the 18th century.
Dressing room and lady's rooms
The rooms are furnished somewhat more modestly. The wardrobes and chests of drawers served for storing some of the clothing, the dressing table served for making up and hairdressing. Various caskets, powder tins and glasses with heavy perfumes belonged among the inevitable equipment. The part of the room reserved for the chambermaid, who also slept here, is separated by a screen. She could also be called from an adjacent bedroom by ringing the bell hanging in the corner over the chapel. The other two rooms were indicated as the lady's rooms in the mid-18th century. The ladies at court, who accompanied the princess, assembled and stayed here. They spent their time here with handiwork, entertainment and other activities.
The Hall of Masks
The Rococo Hall of Masks belongs among the largest and most representative areas of the entire Château. It was decorated by Viennese painter Josef Lederer in 1748 (he left a self-portrait in the first window niche). He and his only assistant spent exactly half a year on the hall decoration. The author left a carnival society of 135 people on the walls. There are also the characters of Comedy dell’arte, among others. All the characters look very three-dimensional as each has its own shadow. The mirrors then provide numerous optical illusions and effects. The Hall of Masks was used especially as a dancing hall, and concert and theatre plays also took place here occasionally. Musicians sit on the gallery (a painting of musical instruments on the left and costumes on the right). The Hall is now being used for social purposes; there are regular concerts here.