abacus: The flat slab on the top of the capital of a column. See Figure
acanthus: Greek derived name for a thistle-like plant. Often used in art as a decorative feature composed of floral motifs. In classical Greek architecture acanthus was used as a decorative element of columns. The capitals of Corinthian columns of Greek temples in particular are ornamented with acanthi. Acanthus ornamentation was frequently used in the era of the Baroque, not only on stone bas-reliefs and stuccoes but also on decorative wrought iron, golden and silver objects, woodcarvings and porcelain. See Figure 1 and 2
a. basilica: a church whose nave is higher than its side aisles.
b. hall church: the nave and the aisles are of the same height.
c. double nave: a structure where the two parallel naves are of the same height and width.
analysis of material composition of plasters: The analysis establishes the ratio between the bonding compound and the filler, examines various kinds of binders and fillers and the possible presence of other materials.
apse: Term taken from classical architecture and used for the vaulted end area of the chancel in early Christian and Romanesque buildings. Semi-circular in shape, it held the main altar. From the 5th century the apses were oriented towards the east. See Figure
arcade (blind arcade): Term derived from Latin “arcus” meaning arch. In architecture this is an arch connecting two columns or pillars with an open passage underneath. Arcades are common features of sala terrenas (garden pavilions), aqueducts, loggias and interior church walls dividing the main and side naves. A blind arcade is a decorative architectural feature, which does not open the wall, only ornaments the enclosed masonry. It was used from antiquity until after the era of the neo-classic styles of the 19th century. See Figure
argillite: Sedimentary rock of white, yellowish or light grey colour, often used in the Romanesque era. Its drawback is its high porousness which causes it to absorb and hold water and subsequently crack easily. It is not a suitable building material for damp conditions.
armature: Reinforcement of particular parts of a building such as corners or buttressing, frequently used in the Gothic style. Later it was simulated in the form of bossage or sgrafitti as an ornamental feature. See Figure 1 and 2
Armenian bole: type of natural pigment used as a foundation layer for paintings, especially during the Baroque era. From the 17th century it was used for preparation of gilding poliments. It is most frequently of red colour.
Art Deco: Artistic style of the 1920s and 1930s, which originated in France and appeared in architecture, design and applied and fine art. It draws from several preceding styles, mainly Art Nouveau and Cubism. From the former it adopted the use of decorative ornament in a somewhat streamlined arrangement. A good example of Art Deco architecture in Bohemia is the Hotel Alcron in Prague.
attic: The small top storey above the main entablature. Its maximum height is one third of the overall height of the building. Its wall obscures the view of the roof and fulfils an ornamental function. It is often finished at the top by small arches and crenellations, balustrades and sculptural elements. Generally it has no windows. It features in classical architecture, and in Renaissance, Baroque, Classicist and Empire styles. See Figure 1 and 2
Augustinians: Several monastic orders whose credo is based on the teachings of St Augustine, with stress on prayer, study and a contemplative life. The largest Augustinian convent in the Czech Republic is the Old Brno Priory.
baldachin: a canopy often made of cloth or wood above a throne, a pulpit or a painting. In Gothic architecture the term is used for a small stone roof above a statue. See Figure
balustrade: A railing made of balusters which may have a square or a circular base. In architecture a so called “blind balustrade” also occurs. It is an illusory decorative railing in the form of bas-relief, sgrafitti and stucco. See Figure
Barefoot (discalced) Carmelites : The order of the Barefoot Carmelites was founded in Spain in the middle of 16th century and was based on the teachings of St Teresa of Ávila. According to Bohemian legend St Teresa was the original owner of the Bambini di Praga, now in the Church of Our Lady Victorious in Prague’s Lesser Town. St Teresa allegedly gave the statuette to a friend, who passed it to her daughter to safeguard her on her travels to Prague.
Baroque: An artistic style which originated in Italy in the 16th century and spread all over Europe. In arrived in the Czech lands after 1620 and persisted until the 1750s, when it was superseded by the more decorative Rococo. It is possible to trace two main strains in Baroque architecture: the first, inspired mainly by the Renaissance, has a more austere appearance reminiscent of the classic era; the second displays elements of movement, such as arches, ellipses and cupolas. Desire for symmetry is always a feature of the Baroque, as is the use of stuccoes, marble and gilding. The most important Baroque architectural monuments of Bohemia are the Clementinum complex in Prague, the Jesuit College in Kutná Hora, the Invalides in Prague-Karlín (See Figure), the Basilica of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary at Svatý Kopeček near Olomouc(See Figure), the Church of St John Nepomuk at Zelená Hora near Žďár on Sázava (See Figure) and the Veltrusy Castle (See Figure).
basilica: The term has several meanings:
a. In architecture it was first used in ancient Greece to describe an administrative building. In ancient Rome it meant a court building or a market place. Since the early Christian era it had been in common usage as a term for a church building of three or more naves, where the main nave is higher than the aisles. A distinguishing feature of early Christian basilicas is a band of windows in the higher main nave. Other typical parts of a basilica are an extended chancel, a transept, a narthex and an entrance atrium. See Figure
b. In canonical law the term had been used since the middle ages as an honorary title given to some religious buildings by direct permission from the Pope. Since the 18th century two types of basilicas are recognized: a basilica major and a basilica minor. The former was the title of churches directly connected to papal office and as such having a papal throne. The title basilica minor was applied to a variety of churches under papal patronage which fulfilled certain criteria: the space had to be suitably arranged and had to have exceptional artistic quality as well as significant attributes such as relics of saints, connection to important historic events or be in possession of a miraculous painting. Regular worship also had to be held in such churches.
bastion: The term is used to describe a part of castle fortification, a protruding tower, where cannons were located and fired from. Bastions had different shapes: round, foursquare or polygonal. They had been in use from the Renaissance era onwards. See Figure
bay window: Part of building which protrudes from the main structure and increases the interior space. It forms a niche with a window and during medieval times it would house a chapel or sometimes a privy. From the time of the Renaissance it became more common in burgher houses; the windows of the bay gave side views as well as being decorative features. They often appeared on several floors.
beaver tail tile: Fired clay plain roof tile used mainly in vernacular architecture, so called because its oblong shape is reminiscent of beaver’s tail.
Benedictines: Members of one of the oldest monastic orders in Europe, the Order of St Benedict. The order arrived in the Czech lands as early as the 10th century. Its famous motto is “Ora et labora”, or “Prayer and Work”.
bergfried: A German expression meaning a free standing tower of medieval castles, which served as a safe sanctuary during sieges. The only access to the tower was by ladder or a drawbridge. The tower could stand on its own or be part of the fortifications.
Biedermeier: An artistic style of the first half of the 19th century (1830-1850) popular especially in bourgeois furniture and fashion. For this reason it is sometimes referred to as the “Bourgeois Late Empire” style. It differs from the Empire style by its greater grandiosity and lesser decorativeness.
bimah: An elevated platform in the middle of the main prayer room of a synagogue. The lectern for reading from the Torah and for the rabbi’s sermons is located on the bimah. See Figure
bossage: Ornamental masonry, which mimics the appearance of building stones with raised surfaces. It was frequently used during the Renaissance era. See Figure
buttressing system: Its purpose is to transfer the pressure of the vault and the weight of the roof. The pressure is transferred to the individual buttresses on the outside of the building. The buttressing system consists of piers (abutments) and spans (flights). The latter, especially in the case of the Gothic cathedrals, are often richly ornamented with finials decorated with crabs and buds and with canopies and projecting bossages. See Figure
Calvary: Artistic depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In paintings and sculptural work Christ is portrayed on the cross, at the foot of which kneel the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist. In some instances a kneeling Mary Magdalene and the two crucified thieves Dismas and Gestas are also part of the Calvary image. At the foot of the cross rests the scull of Adam, a reference to the redemption of the original sin.
capital of a column: Upper concluding part of a column, pillar or pilaster. It is usually wider than the middle vertical part (shaft) of the above mentioned structures. Capitals have a variety of shapes and ornamentations such as anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, geometric and floral. See Figure
cathedral (dome): A Gothic church with multiple naves and a choir with radiating chapels. An ambulatory surrounds the main altar and above it is a gallery (or tribune) with windows. In some cases a triforium, (small arcaded gallery), is located above the aisles. Cathedrals also typically have a sophisticated weight-bearing system of flying buttresses, with each of the buttresses consisting of a pier (abutment) and a flight (span). See Figure
chancel/choir/presbytery: Area of the church where the main altar is located. It is usually separated from the church space by an elevation or an enclosure. See Figure
cherubs: Angels with attributes of lions, bulls and eagle wings. Their iconography draws on the Old Testament and on the last book of the New Testament (The Apocalypse, also called the Book of Revelation by John of Patmos).
choir gallery: This is the so-called musical choir, an elevated tribune in a church where the organ and the choir of singers are located. In most cases the choir gallery is found opposite the main altar.
choir: In most cases identical to presbytery.
chronogram: A Roman numeral inscription of a particular year within a textual inscription on a building, a monument or other structures. The letters, which are also Roman numerals, are gilded or otherwise accentuated within the text. Their sequence gives the year when the given structure was built.
church schism: Splintering or division of groups or individuals within a church. Two of the most significant schisms in the history of the Christian church were the so-called Great Schism of 1054, which created the Eastern Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church and the Papal (or Western) Schism between the years 1378 and 1417, when two popes were elected into office.
Cistercians: Members of the Cistercian monastic order whose history goes back to 1098, when Abbot Robert founded the first monastery in Citeaux in France. Cistercian monastery in Czech Republic: Porta Coeli Tišnov, Zbraslav Monastery, Osek Monastery, Sedlec Monastery, Plasy Monastery etc.
Classicism/ classicist architecture: Artistic movement inspired by the art of ancient Greece and Rome. It developed from the end of the 18th century and in its early years retained some Baroque elements. From the first half of the 19th century it transformed itself into a pure classical form, the so-called Empire. The most significant Empire style monuments in the Czech Republic are Kinský Summer Palace (Musaion) in Prague and castles in Kynžvart (See Figure), Duchcov and Teplice.
cleaning of metals: Survey of suitable methods precedes any cleaning procedures. The cleaning can cause a loss of material, which can lead to loss of contours and shape of an individual metal object. There are two basic types of cleaning:
a. dry cleaning: these are mostly mechanical procedures using brushes, sandpapers, steel wool, scalpels and scrapers, restoration chisels and grinding and milling machines. Jet cleaning, using fine particles such as steel grit, sand, starch or steel shot is also a type of dry cleaning. More up to date methods of dry cleaning employ lasers or the so-called plasma-chemical technology.
b. wet cleaning: wet methods of cleaning are more aggressive than the dry cleaning ones. In most cases distilled water with tenside detergents (these are substances which aid the dissolution and sedimentation of impurities) is used. To remove corroded layers a special water solution, which helps to slow down the corrosive process, is employed. In some instances metals have to be degreased with solvents. Ultrasound can be used where a more intensive cleaning is required.
cleaning of paintings: Paintings were in the past cleaned in two ways: mechanically or chemically. Most commonly used mechanical cleansers are starch, sand, bread and pumice stone. Various acids, spirit and soda are the main chemical agents used. Some of these methods are still in usage by restorers today. Before the cleaning commences, a thorough evaluation of the most suitable method is carried out. Different procedures are used for oil paintings damaged by surface crackling. These are cleaned using a water solution of potassium oleate, water with addition of Marseille soap (a soap containing olive oil) or tenside detergents. In case of tempera paintings water and ammonia mixture is used.
cloister: A covered walkway around an open quadrangle garden in a monastery or a church with a square floor plan. See Figure
coffering: Division of ceiling space into coffers, either by trompe l’oeil painting or by recessed wooden panels. See Figure
console: An architectural element inserted to support other parts of the building structure. See Figure
Constructivism: Artistic movement which originated in Russia around 1915 and expanded widely after the October Socialist Revolution of 1917. The style was especially popular in architecture and has many features in common with the Western Functionalist Style. Its main accent is on austerity and purposefulness in the design of buildings. It differs from Functionalism by its use of verticality and technical elements.
corrosion removal: Corrosion can be removed mechanically or chemically. The latter process often uses a solution of phosphoric acid. Where there is a need to remove corrosion from larger areas, a special corrosion removal paste compound of phosphoric acid, distilled water and other ingredients is applied. In restoration practice it is also possible to use a non-rinse tannin-based organic corrosion remover.
corrosive damage of the stone: Damage and subsequent disintegration of stone is caused by several natural physical processes such as changes in temperature and dampness levels as well as air pollution, occurrence of moss, lichen and algae and pollutants such as bird droppings and other chemical agents.
crabs: Decorative elements of the edges of finials. See Figure
cracking: Hairline cracks in the top layer of paint, caused by the ageing process. See Figure
crossing: An architectural term for the junction of the main nave with the transept, which occurs in Gothic cathedrals and Baroque and Renaissance churches. During the Gothic era a tower was customarily built above the crossing; this was replaced by a cupola during the Renaissance and the Baroque.
crusts: Surface layers of various thickness which often occur on architectural stone elements. They are formed by deposits of dust and soot, remains of organic organisms and other organic and inorganic particles and compounds. The stone underneath the crust is more prone to corrosion due to water precipitation with water soluble salts bellow the crusts, which causes disturbance to the stone matter. Crusts are mostly grey or black in colour, gypsum crusts could be white, grey or brown-red. See Figure
crypt: The word originally meant a secret underground passage and had been since the early Christian era used to describe a grouping of graves in catacombs. Later it denoted an underground burial place of a martyr or of a church dignitary, located underneath the church choir. A great expansion of church crypt building occurred in the Romanesque era.
Cubism: Originally an artistic style of French painting, its influence widened into architecture and design. Architectural Cubism was almost exclusive to the Czech lands, where it strongly developed during the first three decades of the 20th century. By the 1920s it was already significantly influenced by the nascent Surrealist movement. The best known example of Czech Cubist architecture is the House of the Black Madonna in Celetná Street in Prague.
cupola: Hemispheric dome-like vaulting, this architectural element has several parts See figure:
c. oculus: a circular window, which in the classical and pre-Renaissance architecture completed the dome-like structures with no lantern (such as the Roman Pantheon). The window allowed for the upper illumination of the interior.
Czech Decorativism/ National Style/ Rondocubism/Czech Art Deco: Artistic style which emerged after the proclamation of Czechoslovakia in October 1918 and which was supposed to visually embody the ethos of the newly established state. It showed the combined influences of Art Deco, vernacular architecture and folkloristic traditions. Blue, white and red were its central colours. Main representatives of the Czech Decorativism were Josef Gočár, Pavel Janák and Ladislav Machoň and among its examples are Gočár’s houses in the Prague Zoo (See Figure) and the building of the Legiobanka in Na Poříčí Street in Prague.
Czech patrons: These are the holy patrons of the Czech land and the Czech nation and among their number are St Agnes of Bohemia, St Cyril and Methodius, St Sigismund, St Zdislava, St Adalbert, St Ludmila, St Jan Sarkander, St Vitus (See Figure), St Wenceslas, St Radim, St Procopius, St Kliment, St Cosmas and Damian, St Norbert, St John Nepomuk(See Figure) and St Hedvig Silesian.
degradation of varnish on paintings: Light, acids and damp all cause changes in the resins contained in the picture varnish. When surface varnish is degraded it changes its colour (it becomes yellow or sometimes brown). When a painting is placed in an unsuitable environment or when the correct technical procedures for the application of the varnish are not observed, the varnish layer can also turn blue.
diocese/bishopric: An administrative unit of the church headed by a bishop. It is divided into parishes or deaneries, the latter containing several parishes. Archdiocese stands above the diocese in the church hierarchy. The Czech Republic is divided into six dioceses: České Budějovice, Litoměřice, Hradec Králové, Plzeň and the Ostrava-Opava diocese. There are two archdioceses, in Prague and in Olomouc.
donjon: A habitable medieval castle tower or keep. It could have its own fortification and was separated from the rest of the castle complex. When the castle was under siege the donjon served as a safe refuge for its inhabitants. The terms donjon and bergfried are sometimes used to describe the same structure. The ground floor of the donjon was often used as a prison or a dungeon.
Empire: Empire or Imperial art style, which originated in France and became intensely popular during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte (1804 – 1815); it lasted until the mid-1850s. Applied art, design and architecture were all inspired by this style, which followed the era of Classicism and was influenced by it. It drew from elements of classical Greek and Roman architecture such as columns, pediments with bas-reliefs and others. Examples of the Empire style in the Czech republic can be found in the Kačina and Dačice castles.
empore (or tribune/gallery): A church gallery whose purpose was to keep apart specific groups of worshippers, such as the aristocracy, women or nuns from the rest of the congregation. Empores were often built into the walls separating the nave and the aisles on the level between the arcade arches and the upper row of windows. Architecturally, there are three types of empores:
a. true empore: a proper storey with its own floor and ceiling
b. false empore: empore without a ceiling with a direct view into the vaulting
c. illusive empore: the division of the space is emphasized by the masonry but there is no separate floor.
encaustic: Hot wax painting technique using a beeswax and colour pigments mixture. It originated in ancient Greece and the term means “burning in”: once the painting was finished the paint was burned into the base.
“English” basement courtyard: Exterior space in front of the basement room with a window situated below street level. The yard provides light and ventilation for the basement level of a building.
Eneolithic (Chalcolithic) era: Pre-historic era – the early Copper Age – which took place in Central Europe during the 4th and 3rd millennia B.C.
Europa Nostra: International federation for the safeguarding of cultural heritage, founded in 1963. Together with the EU it awards the annual Europa Nostra Award for the best practices in heritage preservation. The company GEMA ART GROUP a. s. was awarded the prize in 2002 for its exemplary restoration of the Wallenstein Palace complex in Prague.
fair-face brickwork: Pointed brickwork without plaster render.
festoon: An ornamental half-circle feature in the shape of garland or wreath. It has a composition of small foliage, flowers and fruit finished at both ends with a ribbon bow. See Figure
finial: Slim octagonal or square based post used as a decorative end piece for individual buttresses, arches of gothic retables, church pews and other architectural elements. The sides of the finials are ornamented with crabs and their tops are usually finished with cross fleur-de-lys and buds. Finials are a typical feature of Gothic architecture. See Figure
fortified settlement (Slavonic “hradiště/hradisko”): Neolithic fortified settlement often built on an elevation above a river or on a hill. Term “hradisko” is used for Moravian locations, “hradiště” for Bohemian ones.
French cathedral style: This is a style of Gothic cathedral distinguished by its high standard of ornamentation. Cathedrals of the French type usually have a richly decorated west façade with a rosette window and twin towers. The portal and the tympanum bear a large number of figurative and floral bas-reliefs. The buttressing system is also richly decorated with crabs, fleur-de-lys and buds.
fresco: Derived from the Italian “al fresco” – meaning “fresh”, it is a technique of wall painting on new, still damp plaster. It was used most frequently in the era of the Renaissance and the Baroque. The painting “al secco”, on the contrary, means applying paint onto dry plastering.
fronton: Decorative architectural feature usually triangular, segmental or furcate in shape above a window (can be also referred to as supra fenestra) or above a portal (supra porta). See Figure 1 and 2
funereal art: Art related to death and burial such as sculptures on tombs. See Figure
functionalism: Architectural style which puts function before form and strives to create purposeful, austere buildings and which occurred in architectural practice between the 1920s and 1970s. Main Czech representatives of the Functionalist style are Bohuslav Fuchs, Bohumil Sláma and Pavel Janák. Typical examples of the style are the municipal offices in the town of Hradec Králové, the Czech Broadcasting House on Vinohradská Street, the Minor Theatre in Vodičkova Street, Czech Radio Building and Trade Fair Palace both in Prague.
gargoyle: A predecessor of guttering, whose purpose was to funnel rain water running down the roof away from the masonry and prevent its damage. Ancient gargoyles had the shape of a lion’s head, in Gothic architecture they appear as frightening animals, grimacing humans or various monsters. During the Renaissance and the Baroque era gargoyles were most often made from copper in the shape of dragons whose mouths spewed out the water. See Figure
gema (cameo): A precious stone or a gem with an engraved image.
a. Surface of an ceramic object created by a special glass substance.
b. Final and transparent coating applied to paintings.
a. gloriole(nimbus): a circle of light around the head. See Figure
b. square nimbus: a square-shaped halo, which was used to denote living persons.
c. gloriole with a cross: this kind of halo only occurs around the head of God our Father, Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit (the dove). It is a circle from which three rays in the shape of a cross emerge.
d. aureole: type of halo where the cluster of rays emerge from the whole figure of the saint. Its round shape is reminiscent of the gloriole.
e. mandorla: a halo similar to aureole, where the rays emerge from the whole figure of the saint. Unlike the aureole it is of an oblong, almond-like shape. See Figure
gold leaf: Gold metal beaten into a thin sheet, used for gilding of various artefacts, parts of statues, architecture elements and other items. Gold leaf is usually made from pure 24 carat gold. In restoration procedures sometimes a gold leaf of lower purity is used: 23 carat ducat gold, 22 carat pink gold, 17 carat green gold and 12 carat white gold.
Gothic: Artistic style which after 1230 replaced Romanesque architecture in Bohemia and persisted until the era of the Late (or Vladislav) Gothic at the beginning of the 16th century. Its distinguishing features are verticality, ogival arches and a complex buttressing system with individual buttresses finished with crab and bud decorated finials. Gothic buildings have large windows with stained glass panels. Typical decorative architectonic elements of the Gothic are triple ogives, flamboyant and twining branch motifs, helical columns and spiral staircases, especially in the later Gothic. The most significant Gothic architecture monuments in the Czech Republic are the Church of St Barbara in Kutná Hora, the Church of St Wenceslas in Na Zderaze in Prague, the Church of St Bartholomew in Kolín, Castle Křivoklát, Charles Bridge in Prague and the stone bridge in the town of Písek.
granite: Volcanic rock usually grey or red in colour. It has low levels of porousness, is durable and resistant to weathering. It is used as building material, for paving and for decorative architectural elements.
griffin: A mythical beast whose cult is connected with the ancient Skyth tribe of the 7th century B.C. It is depicted as a winged creature with the head of an eagle and body of a lion. The griffin was a popular decorative motif of the Romanesque and the Renaissance style.
grouts- grouting: Process of infilling cracks and spaces after loss of the original material and for colour retouching. There are several kinds of grouts:
a. chalk grout/plaster of Paris grout: both are suitable for restoration of tabular pictures.
b. wax grout: grouts containing plaster of Paris (or chalk) and wax are used where the process involves ironing in and also in repairs of defects in stone elements.
c. grouts with fillers containing acrylic solution binders: used for non-porous materials such as marble or alabaster.
d. epoxide-based grouts: are the most frequently used type of filler. Their binder usually contains ground glass, porcelain, aluminium oxide and silica oxide. Epoxide based grouts have high levels of durability.
hall church: A church with three naves of equal height. This type of church was commonly built from the 14th century.
hip roof with a poppy head finial: Top part of an onion dome roof. A gilded copper poppy head finial was placed on the top of the hip roof. Documents about the history of the building and its foundation were often placed within the finial.
Holy House (Santa Casa): Allegedly the house of the Virgin Mary, which was in the 13th century moved from Nazareth to the Italian village of Loreto. From the 16th century Holy Houses or Loretos were built across the whole of Europe, often on the impetus of the Jesuit Order.
hydrophobization of building materials: The more porous the stone building material, the more intense the water penetration into it. In changing temperatures the water within the material repeatedly freezes and thaws, leading to its deterioration. Water also carries water-soluble salts, which considerably contribute to the corrosion of the stone. Hydrophobic treatment is thus necessary to preserve the quality of stone. Before the treatment can commence, the stone surface has to be rid of dirt, pollutants and biogenic particles. Hydrophobic agents can be applied by coating, spraying or immersion.
iconography: A scientific discipline within the theory of art history. Its subject is the interpretation of artistic depictions of mythological, biblical and similar motifs. The term is derived from the Greek for picture, “eikon” and “graphen” for description, literally meaning “description of picture”.
illusive painting (trompe l’oeil): Wall painting which give a realistic impression of three-dimensionality
impregnation: Saturation of porous materials with special chemical or natural substances in order to strengthen and preserve them. There are several methods of impregnation and the most frequently used are spraying, coating and injecting. Smaller objects can be immersed in the impregnation solution.
intarsia: A composition created by inlaying and gluing wood veneers of various colours. In the era of the Baroque ivory, mother of pearl, tortoise-shell and metals were also often used to create intarsia. Wood intarsia is most frequently used on floors and on furniture.
Jesuits: Members of the Jesuit Order with the official title of the “Society of Jesus”. The order was founded by Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556). Jesuits concentrate their efforts on education and missionary work. Jesuit houses in Czech Republic: Jesuit College in Kutná Hora, Jesuit “Professi” House – Lesser Town in Prague, Clementinum in Prague etc.
lazure coating: Top layer of coating applied after the underlying layer has dried. Lazure is of a thin consistency and almost transparent. Transparent lazure coating, together with underlying colours, adds new hues to a painting and possibly a higher colour intensity.
linseed varnish coating: Has two purposes:
a. to impregnate the wood with linseed oil in order to prolong its lifespan.
b. to apply a final varnish coating to a painting in order to conserve it.
linseed varnish: Varnish produced by processing linseed oil using lead and manganic oxides. It is used as an additive to oil-based paints. It can also be used to increase the durability and lifespan of wood. In this instance the wood is given alternating coats of hot and cold linseed oil.
liver of sulphur: Potassium polysulphide used to create a patina on the surface of bronze and copper alloys.
lunette: Semi-circular space with a horizontal base with paintings or sgrafitti within. See Figure
marble (crystallized limestone): The mineral is formed by metamorphosis of limestone. Its main characteristics are low porousness and low water absorption. Marble has a relatively low resistance against chemical influences.
market town: In size between a town and a village, many market towns developed from the 14th century onwards, when their status was awarded to them by the king. Unlike villages, market towns had the right to hold weekly cattle markets. The term, “městys” in Czech, was reintroduced as part of the Czech Republic administrative system in 2006.
mausoleum: A term derived from the name of the king of one of the Persian Satrapies, Maussollos (4th century B.C.), whose body was interred in a grandiose four-square structure with a pyramidal dome in Halikarnassos, today’s Turkish Bodrum. The term is now used for monumental buildings erected to contain human remains.
metal corrosion: Damage to metals, where oxygen causes their surface to be covered by metal oxides. Various metals exhibit different levels of corrosion resistance. The most corrosion resistant metals are gold and silver, the least resistant are zinc and iron.
mikveh: Ritual Jewish bath for cleansing immersion of people and objects. Its minimum capacity has to be 762 litres. The immersion is carried out for instance for the symbolic cleansing of women after childbirth and before the start of the Sabbath. The mikveh is often located in basements near a synagogue.
mineral swab: Silicate substances used for waterproofing.
monolithic steel concrete construction: This is a building constructed entirely from steel reinforced concrete. The material is especially suitable where a high degree of stability is required.
mortar: is a mixture of water, sand, lime and occasionally cement, which serves as a binder of wall-building materials or as a material for plastering. There are several types of plaster, the most frequently used of which are:
a. lime mortar: made from slaked lime, water and sand. It is not suitable for damp conditions, where it can crumble and disintegrate. Depending of the ratio between sand and lime, the rich mortar contains higher proportion lime and the weak mortar a higher proportion of sand.
b. cement mortar: a mixture of sand and cement (a compound of limestone, clay and slate slag and water), it is especially suitably for brick walls.
c. cement-lime mortar: lime mortar with an addition of cement. It can be used even in a damp environment.
mosaic: A decorative assemblage of small pieces of stone, glass, metal or wood. Ballotine mosaic is made from glass, in a Venetian mosaic the pieces are arranged so as to compose an image. See Figure
Neo-Gothic script: Type of script developed from the 15th century, which evolved from the medieval Gothic fractured script. It was mostly used in Central Europe in German speaking areas until 1941 in parallel with the current Humanist script. The name “Schwabacher” script became commonly applied to printed Neo-Gothic script, whilst the hand-written script is referred to as “current script”. See Figure
a. acrylic paint: suitable for all kinds of bases, acrylic paint is highly resistant against aggressive impacts. Its disadvantage is its sensitivity to low temperature, which might cause the paint to disintegrate.
b. aquarelle paint: a water soluble paint. Aquarelle painting technique creates high levels of translucence in the individual paint layers, in marked difference to gouache paint.
c. dispersion paint: dispersion paint is also water soluble. Once dry it forms on the surface an elastic adhesive film, which can no longer be dissolved in water.
d. gouache (gum arabic) paint : water soluble paint of high opacity and saturation, suitable for application on paper, wood and textiles. When used on walls it can only be applied on fine grain plasters.
e. lazure paint: a type of paint with a high degree of transparency.
f. oil paint: paint created by mixing pulverized pigments with several kinds of oil. Oil paints often succumb to cracking and colour changes (yellowing and darkening) as the work ages.
g. silica paint: used for façades and wall paintings. Its binding agent is potassium water glass.
h. tempera paint: a water and oil based emulsion with high opacity qualities. In medieval art egg or egg yolk tempera paints were most frequently used.
palatinate: Fortified seat of a ruler, an architectural predecessor of an castle. It was a temporary dwelling built by rulers of the Holy Roman Empire in the early middle ages. It usually has palace-type premises and a storehouse.
pantheon: Originally the term meant a domed central building structure in ancient Rome. The Pantheon built by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippus, the son in law of the Emperor Augustus, in the 1st century B.C. was designated as a homage to all Roman gods. Later on the term’s usage applied to any building designed to honour an important personage. Sometimes it also denotes a last resting place for a person of distinction, and its meaning becomes similar to that of a mausoleum.
pantiles: Fired clay roof tiles, which have two parts: the crust (the upper part) and the vale (the underneath).
papier-mâché: Special material made from pulped paper, glue, water and occasionally flour. The material has many practical uses.
paradise courtyard: The central square space surrounded by the four wings of a monastery.
petrographic analysis: The analysis is always carried out before the restoration or conservation of the stone can commence. Petrographic analysis establishes the type of stone and its chemical composition and identifies its place of origin. Further tests can reveal the degree of stone degradation, the methods used in any previous restorations and establish additional physical attributes of the stone.
pigments: Some pigments have been known since prehistoric times. These are natural mineral pigments, which are in restoration procedures mainly used to attain good results during colour retouching. At present manmade pigments are also manufactured.
poliment gilding: Method of gilding using gold or silver leaf applied to a poliment base. Poliment can have a variety of colours: red, yellow, grey, green or black. Most common is gilding on a red base, which after polishing with agate gives a high degree of lustre. To achieve a matt finish, a yellow poliment is used.
portal: Ornamental entrance door or gate. A church portal usually has sculptural surroundings and a tympanum with bas-reliefs at the top. Recessed portals were mainly built during the Romanesque and Early Gothic era. Their funnel shaped structure has circular shafts surmounted by a continuous abacus. See Figure
Premonstratensians : A monastic order founded in 1121 by St Norbert in Burgundy in France. The first Premonstratensian monastery in the Czech lands, founded in 1142, is at Strahov in Prague. The main mission of the order is to live an ascetic life of prayer, with great value placed on education and science.
presbytery: The area within a church where the main altar is situated. Presbytery is often divided from the nave by a triumphal arch. An alternative term for presbytery is chancel, or apse in the case of Romanesque architecture. See Figure
Přibylov argillite: Argillite from a quarry near the town of Přibylov, which has been in operation since the 19th century. It is white-grey or grey-yellow in colour.
pulpit: An elevated lectern in the church from which a sermon is delivered by the priest during a mass. Pulpits, which are accessed by stairs, are generally highly ornamented with a canopy above. In churches with specific orientation the pulpit is usually located on the north side of the main nave.
Purism: Architectural movement from the end of the 19th century, which strived towards compositional purity even at the cost of the removal of traces of other styles, for example the removal of later Baroque additions to an original Gothic building. The chief representative of Czech Purism was Josef Mocker.
a. bas-relief: a low relief whose contours project from the base only slightly
b. haut-relief: a high relief where at least half of the modelled form’s circumference projects from the base. See Figure
c. glyptic relief: in this type of the relief the modelled form is sunk or engraved into the base.
Renaissance: An Italian term meaning re-birth. Renaissance as an artistic movement strived to renew the traditions of Classical architecture and erudition. In the Czech lands it came to prominence from the end of the 15th century until the aftermath of the Battle of White Mountain in 1620s, when it was superseded by the Baroque during recatholization. In contrast to Gothic architecture it is distinguished by horizontal orientation and lines. The façades are often ornamented by letter-shaped sgrafitti and trompe l’oeil wall paintings; arcaded loggias and balustrade railings also occur frequently. Among decorative elements taken from Classical architecture, most popular were stylized foliage, egg and dart and astragal motifs. Among significant Renaissance monuments in the Czech Republic are castles in Nelahozeves, Litomyšl and Račice near Vyškov and the Belvedere (the summer palace of Queen Anne) at the Prague Castle (See Figure).
rentoilage: A method of complete restoration of a painting on canvas, where the original canvas is underpinned by a new one and both layers are joined together by suitable agents, such as wax, resin or glue and fixed by ironing.
resin: Resins are natural or synthetic compounds used as filler ingredients in paints, sealants and grouts. Natural resin is a product especially of coniferous trees, from which it oozes. Among natural resins used in restoration are:
a. colophony resin: A type of natural resin obtained from pine, spruce or larch trees. It is used in the preparation of varnishes and as a material employed during rentoilage.
b. dama resin: Resin obtained from trees of the family Dipterocarpaceae native to Indonesia and the Philippines. It is added to paints and wax sealants and employed during rentoilage.
c. mastic: Resin obtained from the evergreen tree Pistacia lenticus native to the Mediterranean. It is used in the manufacture of varnishes for paintings.
d. sandarac: Resin obtained from the coniferous Sandarac tree, which grows in North Africa, in the Mediterranean and in the temperate areas of Australia. It is used as an additive to oil-based varnishes for paintings.
e. dragon’s blood resin: Resin obtained from the fruits of a variety of plants such as Moroccan dracaena, croton and pterocarpus. It is added to gold varnishes.
The most frequently used commercial resins are:
f. alkyd resin: Resin used as an additive to varnishes, canvas primers and artist paints.
g. epoxide resin: Epoxide resins can be mixed with powdered fillers used for recreating missing parts in an artwork under restoration. They can also be used with powdered metals in the manufacture of copies of metal objects, such as weapons. Mixed with sawdust, epoxide resins are employed in wood conservation. Their most frequent use is in re-moulding of missing stone parts.
h. carbamite formaldehyde resin: Used in restoration mixed with wood flour as a glue or as an alternative to pointing grout.
i. polyester resin: Resin widely used in restoration as a grout or sealant and mixed with various fillers as material for manufacture of artificial stone.
Rococo: An artistic and architectural version of the late Baroque style and its successor. In the Czech lands it became prominent between the years 1745 and 1780. Some features of the Rococo are indistinguishable from the Baroque, but overall the former style is more decorative and its ornamental elements are executed in greater detail. A typical Rococo ornament is a rocaille, an asymmetrical abstract mussel-shell shaped decoration. Chief among the Prague buildings with Rococo features are the refectory of the Jesuit “Professi” House in the Lesser Town and the Kinský Palace on the Old town Square.
Romanesque style: A medieval style predominant from the 11th till the 13th century. Its typical building material was argillite stone and its typical features were the ashlar masonry, the barrel vault and narrow grouped windows. Overall, the buildings look heavy and somewhat cumbersome. The ornamentation is restrained to bacciform shapes around the portals, oblong friezes and braided floral motifs on the capitals of columns. Churches, especially rotundas, are the most numerous Romanesque buildings still in existence. The rotunda of St George on the Říp Hill, the rotunda of St Catherine in the town of Znojmo, the rotunda of St Martin at Vyšehrad in Prague, the Castle Přimda in the Tachov Region and the original Romanesque palatine with the well preserved Chapel of St Martin, St Ursula and St Erhard in the town of Cheb are the most significant Romanesque monuments in the Czech Republic.
roof ridge: Horizontal intersection of two roof surfaces at the top of the roof. The ridge is usually covered with semi-circular ridge tiles.
a. onion dome roof: has a rounded shape which resembles an onion.
b. addle (saddleback) roof: a simple type of roof with two gables and a ridge.
c. broach roof: pyramidal roof over a square or polygonal base.
d. hip roof: roof with four upward sides, which intersect at four corners and at the central ridge point.
rotunda: A circular or polygonal building with one or more apses. It is usually vaulted with a domed or conical roof. Adjacent to the rotunda is sometimes a square or oval-shaped tower. Rotundas are the most prevalent church buildings of Romanesque architecture.
sala terrena: A freestanding small building or a separate ground floor area of a palace designated for social functions, especially during the Renaissance and the Baroque era. Its typical features are arched arcades and richly decorated interiors.
salinity of masonry (salt blooms): Salt blooms occur on damp masonry in areas where the water evaporates. They are small crystals of salt which penetrate the masonry and cause degradation of the stone. When the pores of the plastering become saturated with salt no natural evaporation can take place and the presence of water in the masonry intensifies with the resultant extensive degradation.
sandstone: This is a type of grainy sedimentary rock which occurs in a variety of colours: dark grey, yellow, reddish and brown. Depending on the size of the grain, the sandstone is divided into fine, medium and coarse grain. The most hard-wearing type of sandstone is arkose. It is a robust and durable material, which has been used in building since late medieval times, when it replaced the argillite. Arkose is also used as a concrete additive.
sarcophagus: Stone casket for a dead body with a richly bas-relief ornamented lid and sides. The expression comes from the Greek for carnivorous and is based on the ancient belief that a lime stone sarcophagus is capable of devouring the dead. See Figure
Schwabacher: Print version of a Neo-Gothic black letter script developed towards the end of the 15th century. A hundred years later it was superseded by the narrower fraktur script. Schwabacher script is very ornate and has characteristic broken lines. The name is derived from the south German town of Schwabach, near Nuremberg.
Secession (Art Nouveau): An artistic style which emerged at the end of the 19th century. Its chief features are high levels of ornamentation which includes geometric elements, abundant use of colour, floral and vegetal decorative motifs and the use of stained glass. See Figure 1 and 2
sgraffito: Ornamentation of masonry frequently used in the era of Renaissance and Neo-Renaissance. It involved scratching into the top layer of the plastering to the differently coloured underlying stratum, with the resulting pattern giving the impression of three-dimensionality. See Figure
shell limestone: Type of limestone which contains residual crustacean shell material. It is used both in building and in sculpture.
shellac: Orange or brown resin secreted by the female lac beetle, an insect similar to an aphid. It is used for the surface treatment of wood. The so-called shellac politure is applied in the restoration of furniture.
stained glass: Ornamental glazing of windows. Shaped pieces of glass are held in lead beading. The technique was often used in Gothic churches. The glass could be coloured and form circles, geometric patterns and images. See Figure 1 or 2
stone conservation: A process during which conservation experts treat damaged parts of the stone and try to eliminate causes of the damage. Stone conservation has several stages. To start with, the surface of the stone has to be cleaned by suitable methods without any loss of the stone mass. Where required the stone is then de-salinized using wet wraps, which absorb the dissolved salt from the stone. This is followed by consolidation (strengthening) of the stone by special agents.
stone consolidation: Consolidation is achieved by introducing a consolidate (a strengthening agent) into the disturbed stone structure. The process of consolidation prolongs the lifespan of the stone.
stratigraphy survey: The survey is carried out prior to restoration work. Individual layers of the examined object are separated and probed. Commonly, every plaster and paint layer dates to a different time.
styrene acrylate dispersion: A compound used as a binder in various building materials. It improves adhesion of materials to the base and their resistance to damp and acid rain.
support shaft: Supporting feature, especially in Gothic architecture, which transfers the pressure of the vault ribs. It has the shape of a semi-column placed on a floor level console or socle.
swivel bolt: Swivelling metal fitting for the opening and securing of windows or doors.
synagogue: Jewish house of worship. See Figure
The order of Merciful Brothers: A monastic hospitaler order founded in the 16th century by St John of God.
travertine: Highly porous sedimentary rock similar in appearance to limestone, used mostly in sculptural art. In the classical era it was commonly used as a building material. The Colosseum in Rome is largely built from travertine.
triumphal arch: Has two meanings in architecture. It was originally a term used for an imposing ornamented portal with three entrances, erected to celebrate a victorious military expedition. The first triumphal arches were built in ancient Rome. The expression is also used for the interior arch in a church, which divides the presbytery (or chancel) from the rest of the main nave.
truss: Part of the roof construction which carries the roof covering. A truss has several vertical and horizontal elements: heel, bearing, panel point, splice, bottom and top chord, wedge, continuous lateral brace, web and peak.
Tudor Gothic: Late Gothic style which emerged in England during the reign of the Tudor dynasty (1485-1603). Imitations of this style appeared in the Czech lands during the Romantic era in the 19th century. The best examples are the castles Hluboká and Lednice.
tympanum: Triangular or lunette shaped area above a portal, often filled with decorative reliefs. See Figure
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization): A specialized agency of the UN for the promotion of science, culture and education, founded on 4th November 1945 in London. Monuments and natural locations and phenomena listed as “World Heritage Site” are unique and of global importance. Monuments listed as UNESCO Cultural Heritage are subject to high level of protection. UNESCO funds contribute to preservation, support, scientific examination and presentation to public of individual monuments. There are twelve such monuments listed in the Czech Republic: the historic centre of Prague, the towns of Telč, Český Krumlov and Kutná Hora (the last including the Church of St Barbara and the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Sedlec), the Lednice – Valtice complex, the open-air museum of rural architecture Holašovice, the Pilgrimage Church St John Nepomuk in Zelená Hora near Žďár on Sázava, the castle and castle gardens in Kroměříž, the Litomyšl castle, the Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc, the Tugendhat Villa in Brno and the Jewish Quarter with the Basilica of St Procopius in Třebíč.
Utraquists: Czech religious movement following the teachings of Jan Hus (1371-1415), which originated in the 15th century. In contrast to the Catholics, its members received the Eucharist under the forms of both bread (the body of Christ) and wine (the blood of Christ).
vault: functional architectural feature which closes up the upper part of the interior space and bears and distributes weight and pressure. There are many types of vaulting. See Figure
veneer: A thin (maximum around 0.5 centimetre) slice of wood used as a surface layer in the manufacture of furniture or plywood. It is often made from rare or expensive timber such as mahogany, ebony and teak.
Vladislav/Jagiellon Gothic: The 15th century Late Gothic style in the Czech lands during the reign of Vladislav II Jagiellon (1471-1516). Prague Castle was then rebuilt in this style, as were the Church of St Barbara in Kutná Hora and the Powder Tower in Prague.
Vyšehrad type of floor tiles: Romanesque tiling discovered in the Romanesque Rotunda of St Martin in Prague, which dates back to the end of the 11th century. Its characteristic feature are the bas-reliefs with motifs of griffin, lion, the Emperor Nero and the Sphinx.
vussoir: A wedge-shaped stone used for construction of arches. The keystone (central vussoir of the arch) is often pronounced and ornamented. See Figure
X-ray fluorescence (xrf): Non-destructive analytical method used for the examination of a variety of samples.