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Content available remote ARTISTIC WORD IN RENAISSANCE (Umelecke slovo v obdobi renesancie)
The beginning of Renaissance in Europe goes back to the 14th century. The territory of present Slovakia was observed by certain refinement of customs and the advancement of the culture life of the Hungarian society under the reign of Louis I the Great (1342-1382). The laudation of combativeness, the patronage of justice and truth, the protection of the weak and allegiance were the dominating themes of heroic and historic songs of minstrels, and the enchantment by beauty and by virtues were the themes of the songs of troubadours, trouveres, and minnesingers. They were a component part of noble and town culture in the 14th and even the 15th centuries. Humanistic society and literary circles contributed markedly to the elevation of culture and the shaping of the intellectual elite of Renaissance Hungary. These men built on the activity of the European 'Devotio moderna' movement, which stressed individualism and mysticism in religiousness, education and inner spiritual culture. In Christian rite the manner of preaching was determined in the past, but even there, novel features were introduced thanks to continuing development. 'Spis Prayer Sermons' (1479) have given an insight to the language and speech culture in communicating the message of God to the congregated believers in the Slovak language in Eastern Slovakia churches.
On 24 May 2012 a poster ‘From the Gothic Style to Art Nouveau’ appeared in the west-side staircase vestibule of Rundale Palace, next to the entrance door to the west-side block. Behind that door, a quite dark and mysterious world opens up, very different to the light and playful environment of the Palace designed by Rastrelli. Museum staff have named this new exposition rather conventionally – DEKO. Decorative arts are always placed behind their nobler sisters as the fine arts are thought to top the hierarchy. Nevertheless, decorative arts have been most closely related to people’s daily life. In Latvia, much evidence of our cultural history has perished as a result of wars, revolutions and social transformations. Not all European countries have a special museum of decorative arts, but in Latvia the chance to see close-up examples of canonical historical styles is even more limited. Already in the 1960s there was the idea to create a chronologically and stylistically arranged exposition of decorative arts in the Rundale Palace Museum. Besides purchases from antique shops and loans from other museums in Latvia, another way to enrich the collections was taking over items from the churches of Latvia; their tragic fate in the conditions of Soviet occupation became even worse after the ideological action of 1961 when congregations were liquidated. Apart from wood-carved altars, pulpits, benches, sculptures, altarpieces and votive plaques, the Museum also received many silver and tin items, and they did fit well with the idea of a future exposition of decorative arts. Besides churches, the Museum also systematically inspected manor houses. Much was salvaged from these too at the last moment – stoves, doors, parquetry, decorative reliefs or metalwork fittings. Already then it was evident that all this should be part of the future exposition. The DEKO exposition envisages demonstrating all historical styles from the 15th century till World War I in fourteen rooms, beginning with late Gothic and ending with Art Nouveau and Neo-Classicism. The idea is to show both the major line of stylistic development in Western Europe and the reflection of these styles in Latvia.
Vecgulbene (Alt-Schwanenburg) manor is situated in Gulbene District within the territory of the town of Gulbene, which has been a crossroads since ancient times. The manor is known as one of the most prominent and splendid ensembles in Latvia and possibly in the Baltic region. This place suffered considerably during the wars and the Soviet period. Construction and reconstruction of the so-called White Palace at 12 Brivibas Street has been dated differently by various sources. First it was stated that the central part had already been built in 1763 and reconstructed in 1840s-1870s. Art historian Dainis Brugis holds that the Palace was built around 1840, which seems to be a more plausible version; construction was carried out by the Wolff family, possibly by Rudolf Gottlieb Magnus von Wolff (1809-1847) and entries in his daughter Isabella's diary attest to this. Rudolf von Wolff had traveled to many countries including Italy. The style of Italian villas evident in the White Palace surely comes from Rudolf's taste and interests. The Palace was inherited by Rudolf's son Johann Heinrich Gottlieb von Wolff (1843-1897) who reconstructed and enlarged the building in the last quarter of the 19th century. The architecture of the Palace was influenced by the Renaissance. The project resembles the Renaissance villas found among Andrea Palladio's works. The central two-storey block was almost cube-shaped and flanked by single storey wings at both ends. The façades were lavishly decorated. The central volume featured wide, fluted colossal order pilasters; triangle-shaped, plastic frontons were placed over the ground floor window openings.
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