The Church of Holy Trinity and the monastery, Slaný, Czech Republic

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Klášter Nejsvětější Trojice Řádu bosých karmelitánů, Hlaváčkovo náměstí 221, 274 01 Slaný 
Description of work:
Survey and restoration of the sundial
Restoration of wall painting and of the stone lavabo in the refectory Baroque plastering in the courtyard  
The Order of Discalced Carmelites
Contractor: GEMA ART GROUP a.s.
09/2002 – 04/2003


Work in progress Work in progress Work in progress Work in progress Rest of origins painting Sonde Sonde Stratigraphy Sundial - before restoration Stratigraphy Stratigraphy Sundial - stratigraphy Puttying Before restoration Cleansing Second limy layer Sundial - work in progress Sundial - before restoration Sundial - work in progress After cleansing Sundial - before restoration Sundial - puttying Sundial - after restoration Sundial - after restoration

  • History
  • Restoration work
  • More info

 The history of the complex goes back to the 16th century, when the Renaissance Church of the Holy Trinity was built, originally as a cemetery church. The year 1655 saw the arrival of the Franciscan Order, invited here by Polyxena of Sternberk, wife of the local landowner Bernard Ignác of Martinice. The Franciscan Order monastery was built between the years 1655 and 1662, and it was officially consecrated by the Archbishop of Prague Arnošt Vojtěch of Harrach on 12th August of that year. The church was at the same time rebuilt in the style of Early Baroque and in 1658 a Loreto Chapel was added to the interior after Count Martinic's trip to Italy, where he visited the famous Shrine of the Holy House in the town of Loreto.
Further Baroque alterations to the buildings were carried out after the devastation caused by an extensive fire. The design for the reconstruction is considered to be the work of the famous Italian architect Giovanni Domenico Orsi. The Franciscan Order remained at the site till 1950, when all the male monastic orders in what was then Czechoslovakia were abolished. After the Velvet Revolution of 1989 the administration of the former Franciscan monastery and the adjacent Church of the Holy Trinity was taken over by the Order of Discalced Carmelites.

The monastery and the Church of the Holy Trinity has been administered by the Order of Discalced Carmelites since 1996 and under their management the complex is being gradually renovated. Expert workforce from the GEMA ART GROUP a.s. has been responsible in particular for the renovation of both exterior and interior plastering. Before the work commenced a survey of the plastering layers had been carried out in order to establish their original composition and appearance. During the placing of probes in the monastery's refectory, frescoes from the turn of the 17th and 18th century were accidentally revealed and were subsequently uncovered and sensitively restored. The original stone lavabo within the refectory was also restored.

Restoration of the sundial:
The sundial is located on the east side of the monastery in the so called "Paradise Courtyard" (a garden with fragrant plants and herbs). The sundial had been last repaired in the first half of the 19th century and was now in a poor state. To start with, the restorers carried out an expert survey during which they indentified three different layers, the oldest one covered in a faintly pink lime coating. The latest layer bore an inscription in Italian and the date 1767. As the original appearance, which could not be precisely dated, was only very patchily preserved it was decided to adhere to the 1767 look. The sundial was ornamented with a depiction of sun and sunrays. The whole of its area had to be injected with strengthening material and missing parts were infilled with mortar and grout. The whole surface was carefully cleaned and retouched to return the sundial to its 1767 appearance.

Restoration of the plastering in the courtyard of the monastery:
Part of the work here was the preservation of the fragments of the original colour layer on the north-west side of the courtyard. Examination of the stratigraphy layers and a silicate analysis of the exact composition of the original plastering were carried out prior to the restoration work. The degree of salinity in the plastering also had to be established so as to implement effective measures against future gradual salt penetration into the plastering.

Restoration of the frescoes in the refectory of the monastery:
Before the work within the refectory commenced a restoration survey was carried out during which the frescoes were uncovered. They depicted trompe l'oeil architectural scenes and dated back to the turn of the 17th and 18th century. A fragment of inscription above the niche of the lavabo, probably from the 19th century, was also discovered. The probing was extended to the whole of the room but only monochrome layers of grey, pink and ochre colour were found.
The frescoes were damaged by a coarsening of the surface prior to overpainting – the original paint was covered by no less then five layers of lime coating – and the plaster had in many places become loose. The wall around the frescoes had cracks caused by stability disturbance. Some areas of the frescoes were also destroyed by installation of electricity cables. The lower part of the wall paintings was exceptionally badly decayed.
Once the uncovering of the frescoes was completed their surface was cleaned, repeatedly stabilized and the defects were deep sealed. This was followed by application of a secondary sealant and complete retouching.
After puttying Before restoration Left side - angel - work in progress After restoration After restoration After restoration