Path of light • Bohemian Baroque
The beginning of the 17th century witnessed the uprising of the Bohemian Estates against Habsburg dominance, resulting in a crushing defeat of the Bohemian protestant rebellion in the battle of White Mountain in 1620 and launching the Thirty Years' War that afflicted Europe until 1648. Among the Protestants who were driven into exile were the later world-renowned priest and pedagogy theoretician, John Amos Comenius. He was active in his exile in Poland, Sweden, and Hungary and died in 1670 in Amsterdam. He became famous for his modern teaching books, The Visible World in Pictures and The Gate of Languages Unlocked. He’s also the author of Labyrinth of the World and Paradise of the Heart, the most famous book of the 17th century. This period had one further significant and positive dimension. Baroque left perhaps the most significant imprint of all historic styles in the Bohemian lands. It influenced not only visual arts, literature, philosophy and architecture, but also significantly changed the Bohemian landscape. This period produced most of the monuments tourists from across the world admire today.
A focused attempt on innovations, lead to the development of Bohemia crystal in the last third of the 17th century (1674– 1688 in Bohemian Forest glassworks). Its optical properties far exceeded its Italian competition and it became suitable for decoration by cutting and engraving. At the beginning of 18th century, Bohemian crystal glass was already a world-renowned phenomenon that, for a change, the Venetians, and many others attempted to emulate. The center for trade in Bohemia became the area of Nový Bor, where special export companies were established. These maintained branches across Europe and as far afield as Turkey. Glass chandeliers have been made in Bohemia for over 300 years. The first record of their existence is the delivery of three chandeliers between 1687 – 1693, from a glassworks in the estate of Zákupy (near Nový Bor) to the Favorite chateau near Baden-Baden. One remains at the chateau in Bruchsal to this day. Soon afterward, Bohemian chandeliers richly decorated with beads and pendants were born. Their quality was exclusive. Not even the French royal court hesitated to order such expensive and monumental lighting fixtures from Prague trader Bramberger in 1725. They were intended for the Mirror Hall of the Versailles Chateau.