Credit: NPU

Czech National Heritage Institute Reveals Busts of Duchess and Duke of Savoy, Lost For 455 Years

The Czech National Heritage Institute (Národní památkový ústav; NPU) has discovered marble busts of the Duchess and Duke of Savoy, Margaret of Austria and Philibert II, lost for 455 years, in the collections of the Czech chateau Sychrov in the Liberec region, NPU spokeswoman Blanka Cerna has told CTK.

Next year, the busts will be exhibited at the nearby Frydlant castle.

The last written record of the sculptures was from 1569. The NPU research project Ad Unicum also established that their author was Renaissance sculptor Conrat Meit (1480-1550), who made them early in his career, when he worked in the Netherlands in the 1510s.

Until now, the bust of Philibert was described by experts as an unknown man (or Petrarca) and dated to the 19th century. With the sculpture of the Duchess of Savoy, it was confirmed that it is Margaret of Austria. The sculptures are among the few surviving white marble works by Meit.

“This is an extraordinary result of the scientific work of the National Heritage Institute, which will significantly influence the perception and presentation of the history of European art and culture,” said Ad Unicum project lead Sarka Radostova.

Meit made the two sculptures at the request of the Duchess, who invited him to the court in 1512 to create a bust of her deceased husband Philibert II.

The sculptures were restored by experts from the Prague Academy of Fine Arts headed by Jan Kracik, head of the studio for restoration of sculpture works.

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