Minorite Monastery in Český Krumlov (officially Monastery of the Order of the Knights of the Cross with a Red Star) was founded in 1350 by Peter I of Rosenberg and his wife Kateřina as a common monastery of Minorites and Clare nuns, with a common church. From the end of the 14th century, the complex also included a house for pious laic women, called beguines. The stay of the Clare nuns was brought to an end by reforms of Emperor Joseph II in 1785, but the Minorites stayed in the monastery until as late as 1950. After that the monastery premises were used for secular purposes. As far as the Clare Convent is concerned, this situation has lasted until today, while the remaining part of the complex was acquired by the Order of the Knights of the Cross with a Red Star.
The monastery area is entered through a gate with the coat-of-arms of the Knights of the Cross, behind which a small park called Tramín is situated.
The monastery Church of Corpus Christi and St. Mary in Pain was consecrated in 1358, and in the years 1649-1681 it underwent a Baroque rebuilding. The interior of the church is a unique gallery of the Baroque church arts. The high altar was made by the order of the prince Johann Christian von Eggenberg and his wife Eleonore in the years 1679-1682. Their joint coat-of-arms is situated in the middle part of the altar. The altar painting by Matyáš Leithner depicts the Virgin Mary with Christ and St. Francis, and the painting on the extension shows God the Father giving his blessing. The early Renaissance architecture of the altar is completed with statues by the Eggenberg sculptor Jan Worath.
An outstanding work of woodcarving is the Baroque pulpit from 1746. Its oratory is adorned with a gilded relief depicting scenes from the life of St. Francis, and there is a sculpture of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary encompassed by clouds and rays of light above the canopy. The attic of the canopy has the unified coat-of-arms of the donors: Prince Joseph Adam von Schwarzenberg and his wife Maria Theresia von Liechtenstein.
Another noteworthy part is the early Baroque altar of the Virgin Mary from the second half of the 17th century, situated at the southern wall of the church. It is adorned with a relief of the Coronation of the Virgin Mary and statues of St. Benedict, Bernard and St. John Evangelist.
The southern part of the church is adjoined by monastery buildings. Their most important part is the cloister from around 1500. It is vaulted by a tracery vault and its northern wing is made up by a unique two-nave space divided by spiralled columns. In the middle of the western wing is the entrance to St. Wolfgang’s Chapel, consecrated in 1491. There are preserved partly Gothic wall and partly Baroque paintings from 1781 presenting scenes from St. Wolfgang’s life.
Another interesting tombstone is placed in the cloister, on a wall neighbouring with the monastery church. It is a tombstone belonging to the family of Michael Antonín of Ebbersbach, who lived at No. 77 Široká Street and was employed as an alchemist at the court of the Krumlov ruler Wilhelm of Rosenberg. After Wilhelm’s death in 1592, owing to fraud, he was put into castle gaol, where he died in 1593.
On the walls of the cloister hang paintings from the mid-17th century depicting scenes from the life of St. Francis, and in the eastern wing is installed part of the treasure of the Order of the Knights of the Cross. The inner walls of the cloister have windows with lavish late Gothic traceries opening into the „Paradise Courtyard“. In 1686, the Chapel of St. Mary of Einsiedeln was establi-shed in its middle, based on the model of the famous pilgrimage chapel in the Swiss canton of Schwyz. Above the entrance to the chapel the joint coat-of-arms of its founders, prince Johann Christian von Eggenberg and his wife Marie Ernestine, née von Schwarzenberg, is situated. In addition, there is an altar with the statue of the Black Madonna of Einsiedeln inside the chapel, dating from the second half of the 17th century.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.