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Art Centre

The Jesuit College as the Art Centre of Palacký University

Art Centre of Palacky University

The Baroque building of the former Jesuit College is one of the oldest parts of the university in Olomouc. After an exacting renovation on a grand scale, Palacký University
now owns a spacious historical building with many original rooms and halls. Five fine art departments of the Philosophical Faculty and Faculty of Education have thus gained new lecture halls, fine art studios, recording studios, representative conference halls for international venues, and rooms for its students and teachers. The historical centre of Olomouc now has another centre for culture and the arts.
The Art Centre of Palacký University, besides being a teaching and research institution, will be involved in the everyday cultural and artistic life of the city and the region, and will have a specific dramaturgy. The artists, ensembles and companies performing there will be linked with the specialized orientation of the local institutions and their contacts with artists and experts from the Czech Republic and from abroad. The people of Olomouc as well as the tourist visitors will have an opportunity to attend programmes held in the university cinema and theatre, in an attractive concert hall in the Corpus Christi Chapel, and see exhibitions installed in the spacious corridors and in the College Gallery, and attend performances and concerts held in the atrium and the courtyard. After the performance, the audience can stay in the restaurant or in the student club in the basement. The Art Centre will be open even during the summer holidays so that Summer Schools of Film, film shows, outdoor exhibitions and concerts can take place there. The premises will be also used for the events of the Olomouc Culture Summer. The Art Centre of Palacký University will cooperate in its activities with the City Council of Olomouc, the Council of the Olomouc Region, with institutes, commercial and industrial companies in the region, and with sponsors.

Address:

Palacký University Art Centre
Univerzitní 3
771 80 Olomouc

Contact Person:

Mgr. Jana Koulová, manager
tel: +420 585 633 099
e-mail: jana.koulova(at)upol.cz  

Departments of Philosophical Faculty and Faculty of Education Located at the Art Centre:

Department of History of Art (cz)
Department of Theatre, Film and Media Studies (cz)
Department of Musicology (en)
Department of Music (en)
Department of Fine Arts (cz)

 


Corpus Christi Chapel

ChapelThe Corpus Christi Chapel was built between 1721 and 1724 by Olomouc master mason Jan Jakub Kniebandl. The concept of the chapel was inspired by the Roman church of Jesuit novices S. Andrea al Quirinala built according to Gianlorenzo Bernini's design. Another Olomouc artist sculptor Filip Satler executed the interior sculptural and stucco decoration. As in the case with architectural design, the free-standing sculptures Love, Hope and Faith display a number of immediate analogies with the types of sculptural works by Bernini and his Roman circle.
The chapel interior decoration was completed between 1727 and 1728 with painting by Jan Kryštof Handke. It is a typical example of Baroque allegory interpreting events of the latest political development. The painter rendered the motif of legend describing the victory of Jaroslav of Šternberk over the Tatars at the 1241 battle of Olomouc as a parallel to the impending danger of Turkish wars threatening central Europe in the 17th and 18th century. The elementary level of general interpretation of the interior decoration is determined by the dedication, and accordingly, the name of the structure-Corpus Christi. In accordance with the mode of universal analogy of Baroque forms, this makes sense also for architectural design, the ground plan of which resembles a host. Similarly, Handke's painting needs to be understood as an artistic transcription of the Triumph of the Eucharist, employing a local legend of the Tatars having been supposedly defeated owing to the Eucharist, and, first and foremost, thanks to the intervention of the heavenly powers.
Legend has it, and this is actually the second level of the interpretation, that on 24 June 1241 Jaroslav of Šternberk received the Eucharist in the Olomouc Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and at the same night set off with his troops for the Tatar encampment, defeating the enemy, including their commander Pajdar, in a sweeping victory. In the Olomouc context, the historical story goes on to underline the rich heroic past of the city.
We still need to confront the historical legend of the Battle of Olomouc with the historical reality which is, however, far more prosaic. Although the 1241massive invasion of the Tatars into central Europe also affected Moravia for a short time, no battle took place near Olomouc, let alone any major defeat of the Tatar army. The quick retreat was not caused by a lost war, but the change of political situation in Asia after the death of Grand Khan Octai.
Hence, Handke's mural painting constitutes an integrative element of the entire chapel decoration, both in therms of visual, aesthetic aspect and the understanding of conceptual background of the whole structure. It is also noteworthy that the entire design and decoration of the chapel was exclusively executed by local Olomouc artists and craftsmen which explicitly illustrates the artistic potential of Olomouc in the first half of the 18th century.

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