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K. A. Ottenheym

Castle in Breda, north Brabant, Netherlands. It is one of the first examples of monumental Renaissance architecture in the Netherlands, constructed at a time (1530s) when large buildings there were still dominated by the Late Gothic style from Brabant. A fortress had stood on the site since the 13th century. In 1515–21 Count Henry III of Nassau (1483–1538) commissioned a gallery on the curtain wall and a portal, both with ornate pediments (destr.), which was the first known piece of Renaissance architecture in the Netherlands. In 1536 Henry initiated more thoroughgoing alterations, with the intention of replacing the Gothic castle with a modern palace. The design comprised a rectangular layout around a large courtyard overlooked by an arcade. From the courtyard a stately, covered double staircase led to the double-height great hall on the first floor, which occupied the entire west wing. The ground floor below this hall was originally an open hall of columns. This design was finally completed in ...


Gordon Campbell


Jakub Vítovský

[Ger. Pürglitz]

Gothic castle situated in the Czech Republic c. 60 km west of Prague. It was a favourite country seat of the kings of Bohemia. Founded on the site of a fortress dating from c. 1110, it was built in the 13th century by Ottokar II Přemysl (reg 1253–78). About 1400 it was extended by Wenceslas IV (reg 1378–1419) and was burnt down in 1422. Between 1493 and 1522 it was totally rebuilt by Vladislav II Jagiellon (reg 1471–1516) and his son Louis (reg 1516–26). The castle later passed into the hands of the nobility and deteriorated. Between 1882 and 1938 it was restored.

The castle is built on an asymmetrical headland above a stream and is triangular in plan; the nucleus of the eastern part, forming a small triangular courtyard, dates from the 13th century. There is a cylindrical tower à bec in the eastern corner. The west wing consists of the residential palace, with a passage in the centre and a ceremonial hall on the first floor. There is a chapel in the south wing. The oldest part of the castle is marked by the Romanesque windows (first half of the 13th century) that are found on the ground-floor of all three wings. The passage through the palace is enhanced by blind arcades in the so-called Cistercian–Burgundian style used in Central Europe. The remains of the vault of the ceremonial hall are similar in style. There is written evidence of a vaulted ceiling with bosses decorated with the coats of arms of all the countries ruled by Ottokar II Přemysl....


Zygmunt Świechowski

[Ger. Trebnitz]

Cistercian nuns’ church dedicated to the Virgin and St Bartholomew, near Wrocław, Poland, containing significant remains of an Early Gothic sculptural programme. It was founded in 1202 by Henry I, Prince of Silesia (reg 1201–38), and his wife, Hedwig (1174–1243), and colonized in 1203 by nuns from St Theodore’s Convent in Bamberg, Germany. A document of 1203 records that the Duke sent one of his masons, Dalemir from Zajączkowo, near Legnica, who presumably began the building. The documents of 1208 and 1234 that mention lapicida Jacobus magister operis are medieval forgeries.

The church was consecrated in 1219, but building work continued for many years. It is built of brick with granite and sandstone details. The traditional ground-plan consists of an aisled nave, a transept and a choir terminating in an apse. The choir was originally flanked by two apsed chapels. A three-aisled crypt beneath the choir had columnar supports and still has groin vaults (in one bay a rib vault). The nave and aisles were constructed in the so-called ...