The Wallenstein Palace Complex, which now houses the
Ministry of Culture was built from 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 the first big project of this type, north of
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.
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 centre
the original Trcka house. The two-storey Knights’ Hall forms the centrepiece. 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-storey 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.
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
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Wallenstein Palace Photos
Valdstejn Palace stables
Wallenstein Palace - salla terrena
Wallenstein Palace Adriaen de Vries Herkules Statue
Wallenstein Palace Adriaen de Vries Statue
Wallenstein Palace Statue
Wallenstein Palace courtyard
Wallenstein Palace Garden