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CZ: Sgraffiti in Pilsen – Mikoláš Aleš

Published: 21.12.2017
Pilsen has buttressed its art scene since the Middlge-Ages as suggest its Gothic structures, Renaissance houses, modern architecture etc. The landmarks are mostly within city's historical core. I would like to present you a true gem of Pilsen's architecture today. One doesn't necessarily notice it right away for house decor is not within our eye sights. Locals often don't know that they pass by works of art. Today, we take a closer look at sgraffiti by Mikolas Ales, an exceptional Czech graphic artist, illustrator, and painter of Czech history.

Sgraffito is a wall decor technique which was the most popular and flourished in the Renaissance era. This simple technique was used to decor exterior facade of Renaissance buildings. Mikolas Ales designed facade decor of nineteen houses in Pilsen. This came as fruits of an offer to him from architect Rudolf Stech. Unfortunately, not every Ales' work has been preserved.

náměstí Republiky – U Červeného srdce

náměstí Republiky   náměstí Republiky – U Červeného srdce

Ales himself never painted frescoes for he allegedly suffered vertigo. Mostly he worked with J. D. Krajicek and later with painetr Bosacek. He used cardboards to make his work and openings were put along the lines. These openings were used to "tap in" the color on fresh stucco. Then the entire drawing appeared on the stucco and carved into it right away. Ales often supervised the painters. He even oversaw color mixing. Colors were laid on fresh stucco, sometimes to already drying out stucco and on some occassions to even dry stucco. Unfortunately, Ales' work is constantly victim to atmospheric conditions.

Nerudova ulice č. 4 – chodský dům   Nerudova ulice č. 6

Wall paintings on houses in Pilsen are highly regarded. Ales, however, didn't like to draw the same things even though his clients asked him to. Thanks to this the sgraffiti in Pilsen is considered very original. There are many landmarks scattered across Pilsen whether its architecture or art. The sheer number of sights makes Pilsen a very rich city. Mikolas Ales created a distinct identity of Pilsen, nowhere else are so many wall paintings.

Solní ulice – ornamenty v pozdním gotickém stylu

22 compositions on 15 houses have been preserved to this day. It would be very complicated to guide you in this text through streets to all of the works. I simply give you the list of the houses with sgraffiti. So if you are in Pilsen and would like to see some art outside museums or galleries, try this:

 

Nerudova street No 2 – Přemysl Otakar II. on the Baltic Sea., Charles IV, Jan Žižka

Nerudova street No 4 – Chodský house, the Chods on guard, the rights of the Chods

Nerudova street No 6 – the battle of White Mountain (1620), the prayer for Madonna, Jan Amos Komensky, Master Jan Hus, Jan Rohac of Duba

Nerudova street No 8 – „Neruda's house“, Images of the foreign lands, Písně kosmické

Nerudova street No 10 – The lords of Ruze, Jiri of Podebrady, Prokop Holy, Jan of Rokycany

Náměstí Republiky No 27 – lékárna U Bílého jednorožce – princ sbírající léčivé byliny

Náměstí Republiky No 36 – the house U Červeného srdce – knights

Bezručova street No 3 – sgrafifto of a shield bearer

Kollarova street No 16 – sgraffito Inside besieged Pilsen (1618)

Klatovská avenue No 123 – sgraffito St George

Tovární street No 4 – sgraffito On Peter's Market in Pilsen

Tovární street No 6 – sgraffito Our Countrymen, Pegassuses

Tovární street No 8 – sgraffito Siege of Pilsen (1433)

Purkyňova street č. 35 – sgraffito myslivce střílejícího na jelena 

Sedláčkova street No 31 – sgraffito of a guild sign, ornament, and a butcher

Solní street No 13 and 19 – sgraffito of a guild sign, ornament, craftsmen

Kardinála Berana No 29 – sgraffito of the Arrival of the Czechs, St Prokop

GPS: (Nerudova Street) 49°44'31.2"N 13°22'14.8"E

 

Text and photos: Kateřina Fúdorová



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