The Schwarzenberg Palace at the Castle Square near the Prague Castle is one of the most imposing Renaissance buildings in Prague. It is well preserved and largely decorated with sgraffitoes. It is an example of the so-called Czech Renaissance – mixing the Italian influences with Czech traditions.
Ground plan in the shape of “T”
The building, originally called Lobkowicz Palace, was built for Jan Count of Lobkowicz in the 16 th century. It was finished in 1567 and the author of the project was Agostino Galli. The ground plan of the palace is in the shape of the letter “T” and there is also a side building enclosing a courtyard by the Castle Square. The courtyard is surrounded by a wall with a grilled gateway.
The walls and the gables are largely decorated with sgraffitoes in the Italian style from 1567. There is a Renaissance sundial on a chimney of the palace, it can be seen from the Nerudova street. By the sides of the sundial, you can see sgraffitoes depicting a cockerel (a symbol of a day) and an owl (a symbol of a night). An inscription under the sundial reads “Hora ruit” (“the hour is rushing”).
The interior of the Schwarzenberg Palace is interesting because of the preserved painted ceilings, a precious example of the Renaissance figurative painting from 1580. It represents scenes from antique mythology.
History of the Schwarzenberg Palace
The successive owner of the Schwarzenberg Palace, George of Lobkowicz, was imprisoned by Rudolph II. and his properties were confiscated. It became a possession of Petr Vok of Rosenberg and later some other noble families. The noble family of Schwarzenberg gained it by marriage in 1719.
The Emperor with his courtiers moved to Vienna and some Prague noble families followed them there. The Schwarzenberg Palace lost its residential function and at the beginning of the 20 th century there was only a military stable in the palace. Since 1908, the building was an exhibition space of the National Technical Museum and of the Military Museum later.
Nowadays, the exhibitions are closed. The Schwarzenberg Palace belongs to the National Gallery in Prague, but it needs a large reconstruction, so it is empty at the present.