About the project

The Via Dientzenhofer project commemorates the 300th anniversary of the death of Kryštof Dientzenhofer, one of the most important builders and architects of the Baroque period in Bohemia.

Via Dientzenhofer

Via Dientzenhofer is the story of the five Dientzenhofer brothers - Georg, Wolfgang, Christoph, Leonhard and Johann - from the small farm Gugghof in the village of St. Margarethen in Upper Bavaria. At the same time, Kilian Ignaz, son of Christoph, and Justus Heinrich, son of Johann, were the only descendants of the brothers to carry on the family tradition.

The story of the Dientzenhofer builders is a story of extraordinary work over a period of about 70 years at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, of architectural genius, but also of extraordinary family cohesion, successes and tragedies. The architects and builders of the two generations of Dientzenhofers profoundly influenced the shape of Baroque architecture in Bohemia, Franconia and the Palatinate in Bavaria, Hesse and Thuringia or Silesia.

The eldest, Georg (1643-1689), who brought the brothers from their family farm to Prague and opened the way to Franconia and the Palatinate in Bavaria, was particularly active in the Upper Palatinate. Wolfgang (1648-1706) became court architect in Amberg, the capital of the Upper Palatinate. Christopher (1655-1722) settled and established himself in Prague and Bohemia, Leonhard ( 1660-1707) established himself in Bamberg, the capital of the Franks, as court architect of the Bamberg chapter, and the youngest Johann (1663-1726) served as court architect of the Fulda chapter in Hesse and later as court architect of the Bamberg chapter.

Among the descendants of the first generation of Dientzenhofer brothers, Christoph's son Kilian Ignaz (1689-1751), the architect of a number of extraordinary Baroque buildings in Bohemia, and Johann's son Justus Heinrich (1702-1744), who became court architect in Bamberg, made a name for himself.

The Via Dientzenhofer project does not focus on extensive architectural descriptions and comparisons, but on presenting the lives and fates of the Dientzenhofer builders and architects. A work which is extraordinary.

Project background

In the Czech Republic, the presentation of the work of the Dientzenhofer family of builders from Bavaria focuses on the work of Christoph and his son Kilian Ignaz in Bohemia. The reason is logical. Christoph was the only one of the five brothers who settled permanently in Prague, his son Kilian Ignaz was born in Prague and his work was entirely focused on Bohemia, while the other brothers settled and worked across the border in Germany, which under the previous regime was furthermore formed by the Iron Curtain. Nevertheless, even in the case of Christoph, it took quite a long time before his role in shaping the form of Czech Baroque architecture was acknowledged and the description of him as an illiterate illiterate whose work, or even existence, is uncertain (!) was abandoned. The paraphrase "what he could have been if he could read and count..." is offered here.

This is also a consequence of the ideological conception under the previous regime, when it was not appropriate to single out an author of German origin who, moreover, created mostly sacred buildings. That is why today the general, but also the more educated public is not familiar with the work of all the Dientzenhofer brothers in Bohemia and Germany, which is quite extraordinary both in scope and in the level of architecture. This distorted view of the Dientzenhofers is still very common today, for what else is there to discover in the Dientzenhofers.

One of the first to highlight and describe the work of Christoph and Kilian Ignaz in a European context was the Norwegian scholar Christian Norberg Schulz in his 1968 monograph. Another significant achievement in the understanding of the Dientzenhofer family and their spectacular journey through Baroque history was the work with the archival holdings of historian Milada Vilímková. This has not only enabled the history of the Dientzenhofer brothers' Baroque buildings to be understood in the usual data structure, but has also outlined the brothers' lives, the links between them, and the people and events that influenced them. What makes the Dientzenhofer brothers, then, is no longer just an entry in biographical databases and an entry in monographs devoted to Baroque architecture, but portrays them in a colourful manner and in many influential layers. That is why Milada Vilímková deserves a big thank you for our project.

Project implementation and contacts

The project is implemented by the association Monumentis z.s.

Monumentis z.s.
Tel.: +420 734780928
E-mail: info@monumentis.cz