Sala terrena

The Sala terrena on the ground floor of the north-eastern wing of the chateau and is an exceptional object of excellent artistic quality and unique iconographic content. It is one of the leading works of early Baroque in the Czech lands that was created over a short time and is characterised by harmonious synthesis of architectural, sculptural, and painting art.

The rough construction following the design of Giovanni Pietro Tencalla started in autumn 1686 and was completed in summer 1690. After that the project continued with selected artists commissioned to perform direct or interpreted Italian inspirations in highly advanced forms.

The complex of the Sala terrena consists of three rectangular halls separated with marble arches and two grottoes, one on each end. The central hall of the symmetrical layout connects the representative stairway leading to the bishop’s apartment on the first floor, and with direct entrance to the formal parterre of the Chateau Garden.

The sculptural decoration starts on the stairway that descends to the sala terrena from the ground floor vestibule. The two side halls are symmetrically designed with vaults and three trilobate mirrors with paintings reflecting the four seasons.

The ornamental decoration of the sala terrena is not restricted to mural paintings only; there are highly sophisticated stucco and sculptural ornaments reflecting a broad repertoire of mythological figures and stories. The paintings directly correspond with the individual sculptures that further develop the theme of passing time, natural phenomena and their various transformations in real world and in mythology.

The two grottoes are attached to the ends of the three walk-through halls. The grotto on the northern end features artificial dripstones made of tuff and its floor is clad with pebbles forming mosaic patterns running up the walls to create the imitation of ancient ruins covered in blooming vegetation. A small pyramidal fountain, nowadays non-functioning, is installed in the centre. The eastern grotto is much smaller and is styled as the interior of an underground mine with an artificial rock teeming with numerous miniature miners at work. It is an unusual version of the period-popular grotto theme and probably points out to the mining of precious ores needed for the minting of the episcopal coins and medals at the Kroměříž mint.