THE MESSAGE OF STATUES OF CIRCA 1737 IN THE COURTYARD OF HOŘOVICE CHÂTEAU
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Around the year 1737, nine sandstone sculptures inspired by classical pictorial and literary traditions were created in the workshop of Mathias Bernard Braun to crown the pillars of the cour d’honneur in front of Hořovice Château, West Bohemia. We find here (from South to North): Mercury, Herse, Caecina Paetus and Arria the Older, Hercules and the Lion of Nemea, Hercules and Hydra, Thrassea Paetus and Arria the Younger, Minerva, Mars. It is to be noted that altogether seven pillars of the gate of the cour d’honneur at Hořovice were decorated by stock statues or statuary groups from Braun’s workshop. The existence of the sculptural group of Arria the Younger, which we do not find in Braun’s workshop production or anywhere else, seems to indicate that, in this case, the patron intervened. The statues for Hořovice were ordered by Countess Maria Aloisia Stephanie, née Kinský (1707–1786), who married Count Norbert Franz of Wrbno and Freudenthal (1682–1729). After her husband’s death, she administered the Hořovice domain as the guardian of her under-age son, Eugen Wenceslas (1728–1789), who formally inherited it in 1734.The Hořovice statues might be read as a message of a mother to her son, in a manner of speaking, a letter to be opened when he grew up. It is probably not accidental that the original contribution to the gate of the Hořovice cour d’honneur was a pair of heroic women, who had not hesitated to sacrifice their lives for the sake of their family.
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