Treasure stories: Langweil’s detailed model of Prague was created eleven years ago
We have this period preserved, dokonce and 3D. PAntonín took care of it in the last century Langweil, who created glued Model then Prague.
Today him exhibits the Museum of the Capital City of Prague. On about 20 square meters, it captures the Old Town with Josefov, Mala Strana and Hradčany as we no longer know them today. Malá Strana ends with massive walls in Újezd (ty were demolished during the construction of the Chain Bridge, on the site of today’s Legion Bridge), and the Old Town roughly today’s Revoluční and Na Příkopě streets. Here it is atinstead of the last Czech Art Nouveau pearl, the Municipal House, the so-called King’s Court can still be seen.
Houses that no longer stand
The model includes more than 2,000 miniature cardboard buildings at a scale of 1: 480 with all the colorful details of the decoration of the facades as well as the detailed courtyards, gardens and farm buildings.
“Of course, the most valuable documentaries are houses that no longer stand today, “says its curator Kateřina Bečková about a unique work placed in a dust-free showcase.
It is mainly Josefov, on whose territory you will find about 270 houses. None of them survived, except for six of the nine synagogues. Also in the Old Town, although it does not seem so, at least half of the development is radically transformed. Part of this district also fell under the Prague redevelopment, it was demolished and replaced by new buildings. In addition, in the second half of the 19th century, the construction business became profitable, so builders demolished small houses and replaced them tenement houses.
How to capture constant development
“When we look at Langweil’s Prague, we know very well that it is the same city. We know them by the same dominant. But if we enter its alleys, we will wander, “notes the curator.
Today’s person would be a little better at the then Malá Strana. Although it was also rebuilt here, the basic floor plan of the district remained.
“It happened that a house changed during his work. In such a case, the author also tended to introduce that transformation into the model. To be current. So we are very lucky that Langweil created at this time. On the one hand, it was a time when the city was still in a strongly Baroque form, and on the other hand, it was just before the big changes. It was a time of construction decline, “says Bečková about Langweil’s complex work.
Antonín Langweil began building his model in 1826. He brought it to its current form 11 years later, in 1837. He died in the same year.
“Langweil was a library servant who apparently had a great artistic environment. He had an artistic talent and tried to draw, paint and even exhibited at the exhibitions of the Prague Academy. But he was not talented enough to make a living. That’s why he was looking for a profession that matched his technical skills. “
Peripetia and migration
Antonín Langweil was born as the ninth child in Postoloprty, where his father was a brewer in the Schwarzenberg brewery. However, he soon died and his mother moved to another Schwarzenberg estate, Český Krumlov, where she came from. He grew up here and later started a lithographic workshop.
The Austrian censorship machinery in the city soon forbade him to do so. He was allowed to move with his business to Prague. He did so and took his wife and child with him. He probably didn’t know that without burgher law, that is, that he would own a house, he could not run a workshop here either. After further vicissitudes, he eventually gained a lower official position in the university library.
“His work certainly did not satisfy him, “says the curator of the Museum of the Capital City of Prague. “In a text published in a guide about Prague in 1830, Langweil himself describes how he once walked along Petřín and looked at Prague. At that moment, he wondered how beautiful a city would be in a small model. ”
More than ten years ago, the Museum of the City of Prague had Langweil’s model digitized. During many months of work, she found out, or rather confirmed, the incredible accuracy of the original. Some details on buildings drawn in ink reach the accuracy of hundreds of lines per millimeter.
The aisles in some parts of the model have dimensions of two to four millimeters, so it is not possible to get to them properly with the scanned devices. Chimneys alone, for example, the model records more than 9 thousand. Fortunately, it is possible to divide it into several parts. More than a quarter of a million images were created so that the data could be further processed.
What were the fates of Langweil’s model of Prague after his death and how was the restorer sought for the unusual artifact? Listen to the whole Treasure Tales.