Plečnik, Masaryk und die Antike oder eine Architektur für die neue Demokratie
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The philosopher T. G. Masaryk had no concrete vision for the reconstruction of Prague Castle when he became the first President of Czechoslovakia. All he had was a vague idea about transforming the monarchic castle into a democratic one. In full confidence he left the specific decisions about how to achieve this in the hands of the charismatic artist and architect Josip Plečnik. But as a statesman Masaryk did of course have a clear vision of humanitarian democracy, which he based on a system of values, a practical and political love for one's neighbour, and thus ultimately on a religious outlook. The latter was also a point of contact with Plečnik's more folk view of democracy. What is 'democratic' about Plečnik's reconstruction of Prague Castle? Of the many possible links between architecture and democracy, in this case the following stand out: transparency, successive openings of the castle grounds to the public, discursiveness, the anthropomorphic scale of the small interventions in the public space, and, above all, the reference to Greece as the cradle of democracy. As a Platonist, Masaryk identified the origins of politics, philosophy and, thus, humanism in the Greek polis. It is a well-known fact that antiquity was the most important point of departure for Plečnik's architectural work. This connection with the classical world is another important affinity between the two otherwise very distinct figures of Plečnik and Masaryk, and it helps to explain this unique example of cooperation on the reconstruction of Prague Castle in the 1920s.
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