BUILDING IN KOMENSKEHO STREET
This house, currently used by the Jihlava Gallery, is located in the street leading from the upper side of Masaryk Square. It was created by joining two neighboring houses in 1864.
Both houses were built on narrow and long plots, typical of the urban construction of the High Middle Ages. However, the remains of older houses were destroyed by a devastating fire in the city in 1551 and subsequent new construction.
From the form of the house newly built after the fire and completed in 1577, the entrance portal, the lower hall (the so-called mázhaus), the two-nave cellar and the upper floor hall have been preserved. The space of the hall is covered by an eight-part vault. The preserved painting decoration of its hood dates from the end of the 16th century and is one of the most interesting monuments of Renaissance Jihlava.
At the beginning of the sixties of the last century, the entire semi-detached house was reconstructed for gallery purposes.
This house is located in a street that, according to the oldest written sources, was called Špitálská. It faced the northern city gate and represented one of the most important streets of the city, where the rich townspeople lived.
The house currently used by the Jihlava gallery was created by joining two neighboring buildings in 1864. Both houses were built on narrow and long plots, typical of the urban construction of the High Middle Ages, so it can be assumed that their predecessors stood here as early as the 14th century. However, the remains of older houses were destroyed by a devastating fire in the city in 1551 and subsequent new construction.
One of these houses (on the left when viewed from the street) has been inhabited since the end of the 15th century by the Geschel family, which at that time belonged to the more socially prominent ones.
From the form of the house newly built after the fire and completed in 1577, the entrance portal, the lower hall (the so-called mázhaus), the two-nave cellar and the upper floor hall have been preserved.
A stone-decorated entrance portal from the end of the 16th century leads to the ground floor room, which previously served as the sales and production part of the house. The Mázhaus is vaulted with four bays of a comb vault on a central pillar, which forms the dominant feature of the interior space. On the sides, in the back part, there are two chambers, which most likely served as the tavern rooms (the house had a license to produce its own beer). There were malthouses next to the houses, and they had large cellars suitable for aging beer.
Another Renaissance portal with a staircase leads to the upper floor hall, which forms the central part of the house. This square central space, extending from the first floor through the second floor to the attic, created a tower-like skylight superstructure covered with a tent roof. On the outside, it rose above the roofs of the surrounding parts of the house, so it was directly illuminated by daylight.
The space of the hall is covered by an eight-part vault. The preserved painting decoration of its hood dates from the end of the 16th century and is one of the most interesting monuments of Renaissance Jihlava. The hood depicts eight figures of angels playing various musical instruments. The main point of view is occupied by an angel holding an open Bible with a German quote from the Psalm of David about praising the Lord. Similar subjects were frequent especially in Protestant houses and referred to the fondness for running singing societies. In one room on the first floor, a wooden ceiling with painted decoration with plant ornaments has been preserved from approximately the same period.
Four more Renaissance portals are preserved in a fragmentary state in the central high hall, and the original arcade is partially preserved on the second floor. In the second half of the 16th century, a wing of a one-story building with an arcaded corridor was added to the house. However, it was demolished in the 1930s.
Not much has been preserved from the original form of the second house (as seen from the right street). During the construction reconstruction of 1864, it was extensively rebuilt when the two houses were merged. Even here, however, the original ground-floor hall, the so-called mázhaus, has been preserved, glazed with four bays of a cross vault on a central pillar.
At the beginning of the sixties of the last century, the entire semi-detached house was reconstructed for gallery purposes. The overall layout of the house was changed by removing numerous partitions and built-ins, by which the house was adapted to operational needs during the 19th and first half of the 20th century. The appearance of the storey hall was restored and the missing parts of the stone elements were added.
On November 29, 1964, the first exhibition was inaugurated here.
Today, the gallery uses the premises of the building mainly for holding exhibitions of contemporary art. The Alternativa gallery space is located on the ground floor, which serves the presentation of innovative curatorial projects.
The cellar room served as a permanent exhibition of haptic art until 2016. It is currently home to the IGLOO sound gallery, which presents artists working primarily with sound.
The building also houses office, depository and storage rooms.
BUILDING IN MASARYK SQUARE
The second building used by the gallery is located on the lower side of Masaryk Square.
Since the town of Jihlava was already founded in the middle of the 13th century, and the king issued a building code soon after, setting out the construction rules, it can be assumed that its predecessor stood on the plot of this house as early as the Middle Ages. However, due to frequent fires, the original form of this Gothic house cannot be determined today.
In the 16th century, a two-story house was built here, from which a stone entrance portal, a vaulted ground-floor hall, the so-called mázhaus, and a storied hall on the second floor of the building have been preserved to this day.
Upstairs there is a valuable mirror vault with cut-outs around the perimeter and brackets in the projections. It most likely dates from the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, and its occurrence in an urban environment is rare.
For the needs of the gallery, the building was renovated in the second half of the eighties of the last century.
The two-nave entrance hall, the so-called mázhaus, is vaulted crosswise on consoles and a pair of massive Tuscan columns. On the consoles there is a stone decoration with the motif of a lion's face and a stone mark dating the construction to 1591.
This hall is connected by a staircase to the mezzanine and a room that originally served as a "black" kitchen. In the back part of the ground floor there is a barrel-vaulted glass passage to the courtyard and a partly sunken chamber with a Gothic portal.
The unifying space of the first and second floors was a high hall with a staircase, which was illuminated by daylight through skylights.
Upstairs to the square was a large hall with two windows and a chamber to the side, connected to a black kitchen. While the ground floor was used for sales and production activities, the spaces on the first floor were the living quarters of the owners of the house, the wealthier townspeople. Unfortunately, nothing has survived of the original staircase due to extensive constructions in the second half of the 19th century.
The mirror vault with cutouts around the perimeter and consoles in the projections is valuable. It most likely dates from the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, and its occurrence in an urban environment is rare. The original stucco decoration consisting of a combination of ovoid and mother-of-pearl has been preserved on the vault.
For the needs of the gallery, the building was renovated in the second half of the eighties of the last century. In particular, there was the removal of numerous nineteenth-century buildings that internally divided the space into many housing units. The staircase in the upper hall had to be completely rebuilt.
The reconstruction of the building was completed in 1989, and the same year a permanent exhibition of the gallery's collections was opened here.
Currently, the upper two floors of the building are used for permanent exposition, and the ground floor and the first floor are used for holding exhibitions focused on Czech art of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century. Attention is also paid here to regional art.