Wall Painting in the 3rd Renaissance Room of Český Krumlov Castle

Nearly all of these paintings have retained their original appearances. The painted panel ceiling, and especially the wall apintings, fully evoke the period atmosphere. They were probably painted in 1577 by Gabriel de Blonde, a German or Dutch artist. The reason for the reconstruction of this part of the Castle was the marriage of Wilhelm von Rosenberg to Anna Maria von Baden on 27th January 1578. This room and those adjoining it were undoubtedly Wilhelm\'s private rooms. This is confirmed by the Old Testament themes of the wall paintings, which were inspired by the xylographs of Jobst Ammann, an artist from Nuremberg.

Wall painting in Renaissance room III. at the Český Krumlov Castle

The cycle of paintings shows the First Book of Moses (Genesis), the Book of Judges, and the First Book of Tobias. The pictures are in chronological order from the West to the South wall; "The Sacrifice of Isaac", "Lot\'s Daughters", "Jacob\'s Fight with God", "Jacob\'s Dream", "Joseph Sold into Slavery", and "Jáhel and Sísera". In the Southwest corner there are two scenes depicting "Tobias Catching the Fish" and "The Recovery of Blind Father Tobit". The room is completed by two medallions with figures from Greek mythology, "Bacchus and Ceres".

There are three basic points to the paintings: keeping the family; showing that Wilhelm von Rosenberg was a Duke and Vice-King; and remembering the Rosenbergs\' and their ancestors\' religion, Catholicism.

Detail of painting in Renaissance  room III. at the Český Krumlov Castle The urge to have a son is obviously noticeable in the picture "Lot\'s Daughters". The central "married couple" is, most likely, a cryptogram of Wilhelm and his third wife, Countess Anna Maria von Baden. The dog is a symbol of loyalty and the table, painted as a sarcophagus with a skull, pelican and a bowl of fruit, should remind the observer of worldly items. A desire for an heir is also expressed in "Jacob\'s Dream", by the figures of Ceres and Bacchus, the Roman Gods of Fertility, and in the painting "The Sacrifice of Isaac" by the words: "...I will propagate your children as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seaside."

The scene "Joseph Sold to Slavery", which represents the theme "Joseph and His Brothers", indicates Wilhelm as being the Vice-King. We should also remember Joseph relating his dreams, or the Pharaoh\'s sentence: "I will be above you, because of my throne" and "Look, I am making you the custodian of all the land of Egypt." We can also mention the quote: " ... because you fought with God and people as a Duke, and you won", which refers to the painting "Jacob\'s Fight with God".

All the paintings constitute a warning to obey the Law and the heritage of one\'s ancestors. The pictures "The Sacrifice of Isaac" and "Jáhel Driving a Tent Stake into Sísera\'s Head" show the contrast of a just and imperfect sacrifice, a test. The sacrifice of Isaac is one of absolute obedience. Submission to the law and religion of ones ancestors is shown in another painting, "The Recovery of Blind Father Tobit". What must have Wilhelm thought, after two marriages with Lutherans and about to marry a Catholic, when he read Tobit\'s warning to Tobias: "... don\'t marry a foreigner, who is nor from your father\'s clan, because we are the sons of the Prophets ... Remember son, that all your brothers married daughters of their brothers, and they were blessed with plenty of children, who will inherit the earth."

(mh, jm)