Thursday, 31 January 2008
history in the facades
Just adding to Phil's blog below - a local friend of mine who is a professional restorer has made a thorough search of all the facades in the historic area of Cesky Krumlov, and hearing him talk about it is absolutely fascinating. I particularly loved him explain about the decisions that have to be made each time a house is to be 'redecorated' - you see, there are layers and layers of 'faces' that each house accumulated over the centuries, following the fashions of the day. So Jiri Bloch (the friend in question) might carefully unpeel from several small sample squares all the layers - each time working out what the whole facade would have looked like. Right under them all he might find an absolutely magnificent mediaeval fresco. Well, sometimes the decision goes to knock all the upper layers off and reveal the fresco, sometimes it is felt that it's best to keep the fresco hidden (i.e. protected) and only restore, say, the classicist face of the house. The next most important thing seems to be to preserve the authenticity of the chosen layer and not to add anything - that's why so often you can see on the facades here just half-pictures, or patches of underlayer revealed from some newer layers. Of course Jiri doesn't make these decisions himself - his research is done for the Preservation body of the council and also for UNESCO I believe. But what's great is that over the last 15 years or so he collected together all the documentation, some of which is now on display in his own small but immensely rich-in-information Museum of building crafts. Well worth a visit - this is not advertising by the way, but a heartfelt recommendation.