Jesuit College


The Jesuit College (Czech Republic, Kutna Hora) was designed by Domenico Orsi, a famous Baroque architect, in the 17th century. A strict, with clear lines, monumental structure is adjacent to the Cathedral of St. Barbara. Once, in those days, the college was even connected to the cathedral with an original passage. Architect Orsi completed the college project according to the Jesuit principles of restraint and rigor. Only the facade of the building keeps a barely noticeable trace of the lightness that is inherent in Italian palaces. The structure was erected in the shape of the letter “F”, so as to remind of the famous kings of Habsburg - Ferdinand II and Ferdinand III.

Not far from the Jesuit College in Kutnaya Gora, a wall was erected with busts of saints. All thirteen were created by Fratishek Bagut, known to the world for the Plague Column, and personally approved by the Jesuit monks. The purpose of this wall is to hide from prying eyes an artificially created terrace, which is located in the center of the Jesuit College. In the middle of the XIX century, the building lost one of its symbols. For objective reasons, the middle tower located in the center of the college was demolished.

Jesuit College is often compared with another architectural monument - Charles Bridge, which is located in Prague. The bridge merges seamlessly into the ensemble of the royal way, connecting the Prague Jesuit residence with the city itself and the temple. It is believed that the Jesuit College was built by analogy with it, and serves as a kind of "connecting link" between the city and St. Barbara's Cathedral.

In the past, after the abolition of the Jesuit Order, the college building was used as a barracks, placing the military in them. Today, the Museum of Modern Art is located in a two-story Jesuit College. It hosts international exhibitions with the participation of world art masterpieces. And only a corner room, a dining room in the past, severely preserves the former grandeur of the college. To the classical music and dim candlelight, the dining room recalls the past wealth of the building's decoration with frescoes located on the walls.

One of the most popular expositions of tourists at the Museum of Modern Art is the one dedicated to mining. On the territory of the Jesuit College there is a mine, until today open for visits by tourists. According to the legends and legends existing in the city of Kutna Hora, thousands of tons of silver and copper were mined from this mine.

Photo and description

Since 1626, Catholicism has been the dominant religion in Kutnaya Gora. The Jesuits were to guide the townspeople on the true path and return them to the fold of the Church. In a short period of time, the Jesuit Order becomes the sovereign master in the city. The main temple of Kutnaya Gora - the Cathedral of St. Barbara becomes their property. Next to this magnificent building they are building a no less austere and beautiful complex of the Jesuit College. This happens at the end of the 17th century. To carry out the work, the then-fashionable architect Orsi was invited. He usually collaborated with various monasteries, fulfilling the orders of the Holy Fathers and glorifying the Church in his works.

To get from the city to the Cathedral of St. Barbara, it was necessary to pass the long building of the college, which was distinguished by restraint and severity of lines, but at the same time had the characteristic features of Baroque, giving it lightness and charm. The Jesuit College resembles the letter F in its form, which, according to some researchers, was supposed to remind everyone around of Emperor Ferdinand II.

There was a terrace in front of the college, which had to be hidden from prying eyes by some kind of barrier, preferably bearing a sacred meaning. Thus, the sculptor Bagut proposed that the Jesuit fathers build a wall opposite the college, decorated with sculptural compositions depicting saints. Each statue was labeled with the names of these same saints. The tablets also served as a kind of reminder of the time when this or that composition was erected.

Now on the terrace you can go to the Cathedral of St. Barbara, as well as take beautiful photos of the surroundings from it.

The premises of the Jesuit College in our time are often used for temporary exhibitions.

Construction history

The construction site was determined by imperial decree and was located between the Cathedral of St. Barbarians and Hradek near the chapel of the Body of the Lord. The Italian architect Giovanni Dominico Orsi worked on the project. The preparatory work and fundraising took a lot of time. Finally, on May 8, 1667, the first stone was laid.

In 1678, the north wing was erected, then the east. The construction of the south wing was postponed due to lack of funds. Therefore, the building turned out in the form of the letter F instead of E, but it was presented as a construction in honor of Emperor Ferdinand II.

At the same time, the arrangement of the terrace near the college was completed, it resembled the Charles Bridge in Prague. On one side, sculptures and railings adorned her. Sculptural compositions were created by Frantisek Baugut from 1709 to 1716. These were the twelve holy Jesuits: Barbara, St. Ludwik, St. Isidore, St. Joseph, St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Wenceslas, St. Frantisek Xavier, St. Joseph Kalansky, St. Florian, St. Frantisek Borgias, St. Anna, St. Charlemagne, sculpture of St. Jan Nepomutsky was created later.

The last, in 1750, a central wing with a summer refectory (refectory) was built. The design was modified by Kilian Dienzenhofer. The baroque facade of the Jesuit College with prismatic towers, on which there are small turrets with spiers, with pilasters and stucco molding gives the building the appearance of a palace. With the Cathedral of St. The barbarians building was connected by an indoor gallery. Inside the college there was a long corridor with doors that led into classrooms. The south tower of the institution in the 20s of the XVIII century served as the bell tower for the Cathedral of St. Barbarians, because its wooden bell tower was destroyed.

After the abolition of the Jesuit Order

Pope Clement XIV abolished the Jesuit Order in 1773. Until 1997, the college was placed at the disposal of the military. There were barracks, a hospital, and a military educational institution. Restoration work took place in 1776, 1843 and 1856, during which the interiors were repaired, the central tower was demolished, and the covered gallery was destroyed.

Jesuit College today

In 1998, the former Jesuit College was transferred to the Czech Museum of Fine Arts. Now it is the Center for Contemporary Art, where you can get acquainted with the history of the Jesuit College, see works of Czech art of the 20th and 21st centuries, and watch an exposition dedicated to animated films.