The City Hall of Kortrijk is situated on the main square of the Belgian city of Kortrijk. The facade of the late-Gothic, early Renaissance city hall is adorned with the statues of the Counts of Flanders.
As early as the 14th century, Kortrijk possessed a town hall, which was, however, completely gutted down by the French army after the victory at Westrozebeke in 1382. In 1420, a larger town hall was built in High Gothic style . The pointed arches in the hall on the ground-flour and upstairs are the only remnants of that building.
The present city hall was erected about 1520 in a style composed of Gothic and Renaissance elements. It was considerably larger than its predecessor. The front was gilded and polychromed (as the front of the Brussels town hall still is). In 1526, statues of the principal Counts of Flanders were put into niches, which so far had housed prophets' statues. In 1616 the town hall was once more enlarged, with a part of the front in the extant style.
From the end of the 17th and throughout the 18th centuries, the front underwent a series of alterations and mutilations. They did not hesitate to set up a pillory against it. In 1807, during the French occupation, the statues and their canopies were removed and the front was flattened out according to the spirit of the age. Around 1850 the front was renovated, but not too successfully. Even while in progress, the artistic value of the restoration was questioned. In 1854, the festive hall was fitted up on the occasion of a visit by king Leopold II and the Queen. In 1934, the historic Council Chamber was likewise taken in hand.
In 1938, the first plans were drawn for the restoration of the building to its 16th-century state. The actual works lasted from 1958 to 1961.
In the city hall, you also find the beautiful Aldermen’s hall and the Council chamber with 16th century sculpted chimneys. They are decorated with stained glass, wall murals and peculiar topographical maps. For several years now, the historic Aldermen's Chamber, which had been a tribunal up to 1787, has been used as wedding-room and as reception hall. The magnificent mantelpiece in late gothic style was completed in 1527. The mural paintings, made in 1875 after the romantic fashion of that time, depict outstanding scenes of Kortrijk's history. The stained-glass windows show the city's coat of arms and those of the 13th century craft guilds (principally textile workers).
In Council chamber, one can find fine gothic arches and a beautiful wooden portico. The graceful mantelpiece, a real lace work out of stone, is undoubtedly the show-piece of the Kortrijk city hall.References:
Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).
It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.
After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.
UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.
Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.