The project: "Reconstruction of the Strahov Library. Restoration of the Philosophical Hall"
The project supported by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism

Applicant: Royal Canonry of Premonstratensians
Partner: National Archive of the Czech Republic
Total eligible costs: EUR 1 873 430 EUR
Grant required: EUR 1 592 415
Duration of the project implementation: 02/2009 - 12/2010

The objective of the project presented is restoration of cultural heritage with international significance - the Strahov library, which is a part of the Strahov monastery complex from the 12th century. The goal of the project is restoration of the Philosophical Hall - restoration of the furniture of the library, restoration of the ceiling painting and the cassette floor which are located in the Strahov library. The hall with the ground plan size 32 x 10 m and height 14 m with more than 60,000 volumes will be restored after the initial technological investigation, the inappropriate over-paintings and modifications from the 1950s will be removed.
The project is a part of the general plan of “Reconstruction of the Strahov Library”. The timing of the project is connected with the project of repair of the roofs above both halls (note: Philosophical and Theological Hall) of the Strahov Library funded partly from own resources and from a subsidy from the Prague City Hall. Other projects of interior repairs (except for the Philosophical Hall) are planned in the future, namely construction of a new vault room, reconstruction of the depositories, construction of new depositories, a new entrance to the library, a study room for the public, a new fire protection system (gas extinguishing), elevator, and sanitary facilities.


Restoration of the Philosophical Hall – ceiling paintings
At first sight, the ceiling painting seems to be in relatively good condition. Only when conducting a detailed investigation from the library gallery and from scaffolding the current condition of the relic can be seen. The surface of the painting is covered with a thin, grayish layer of pollutants, which optically diminishes the colorfulness of the work. The external workmanship of Maulbertsch’s painting is light, subtle and has no obtrusive colors, which has been proven by the previous and current probes into the surface contamination. In many places we see evident interventions from the repair, which took place in early 20th century. The colored layer is covered with local over-paintings copying the original (sky) and darkened retouches. Obvious inappropriate over-paintings are also on the red draperies. The poor reconstruction of the painting is apparent particularly in central part of the western wall where water leakage was probably repaired and where the earthy colors turned into powder. A large vertical static crack is also present at this place.


Freska eng



Restoration of the Philosophical Hall – Hall Equipment (Floor, Library Shelves)
A gallery is built around the entire hall in the height of approximately 8 m; the gallery is accessible via two spiral wooden staircases (already restored). All walls and spaces between windows are lined with wooden bookshelves reaching all the way to the gallery; there is another row of bookshelves above the gallery (approximately 4 m tall) reaching up to the vault with the fresco. There are 8 doors in the hall – two entrance doors, one door to the depository, one door is closed, two doors to the staircases to the gallery (formerly disguised as bookshelves), the last couple of doors lead from the gallery to the depository. There are also 6 high windows in the lower part and 7 windows above the gallery. The windows and door bays are lined with wainscoting and richly decorated with profiled gilded strips and gilded carvings. The entire gallery structure and the individual bookshelves are decorated with gilded carvings in the form of footings and heads of pilasters, leaf garlands with ribbons, parts of figures, etc. the balustrade of the gallery is equipped with large gilded vases. In the lower part the bookshelves are equipped with dipteral cabinets. The floor in the Philosophical Hall is covered with square parquet cassettes. There are large gilded angel sculptures at the fronts of the hall above the gallery.


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