Portraits of the long gone owners and husbands of Katarína Pálffy - Ján Krušič, Štefan Ilešházi, but also other family members of the powerful family, accompany us on a thrilling journey into the past…The entrance saloon excites the visitors with a generous dose of taste and luxury, which however is only a fragment of the scattered fame of the residence of Ján Pálffy, art lover and one of the biggest collectors in the middle Europe. Thanks to the preserved photographs and the assistance of historians and experts, who were helping the current owner, whilst searching for and purchasing the precious inventories and furniture, they have managed to return the nobles into the oldest part of the Château Šimák Pezinok. The golden rococo seat set, from the time of the French King Louis XV, baroque armchairs coated with valuable embroidery, or the massively standing baroque clock, decorated by precious, wooden veneers, create an atmosphere, as if the Count Pálffy had only, just left, for a moment. The Quote on the face of the clock, which is in Latin, „Tempus Nascendi, Tempus Moriendi - It is time to grow, It is time to die”, reminds us that the time of the powerful Pálffy Family has passed and it is time, for the new owner of the Château to take over the sceptre from the resurrected Château.
The bronze statue, placed on the hearth plate, depicting the elegant body of the ancient god Mercury, is proof that the collaboration of the owner and the historians was a success. Judging by the preserved photographs, which the visitors are also able to flip through, it is one of the art pieces that truly could be found in Pálffys apartments, in the past. It is however not the only one. As the visitor walks through the luxurious chambers, he stops in the Study of Ján Pálffy himself, decorated, not only by the portrait of its most famous user, but also a valuable 19th century desk, originally from France, decorated with a veneer made from ebony and an ivory marquetry. We can easily imagine the figure of the famous count, standing there in his traditional aristocratic hungarian coat, with a hat decorated with a colourful feather with a focused expression on his face, carefully signing with tidy writing, the receipts for another art piece, which are to enrich his collection.
Ladies Lounge - Collection of Cabinets
The largest part of the collections in the historical apartments is occupied by cabinets, which were for centuries a part of the residencies of aristocrats and the rich townspeople, that was unthinkable to live without. These cabinets were used to hide secrets, jewellery and other valuables. Even though their outside shape depended on the progression of styles and in the course of history, it always kept changing, a characteristic part of these cabinets is their central, sometimes even, seemingly architectonic form with many drawers and shelves, often completed by a front double-door.
This unique and for Slovakia quite a rare collection of cabinets is part of the historical exposition of the restored PÁLFFY APARTMENTS, depicting various time periods and styles. Mahogany, maple and ebony can all be found in the Châteaus collection. The masters carpenters were using these in luxurious combinations with the precious ivory, semi-precious stones, or even with marquetry, made from turtle shells.
One of the oldest cabinets currently being exposed is an almost three hundred and fifty years old, this uniquely preserved cabinet is originally from the Flemish Antwerp, miraculously they have been able to preserve the charming brocade embroidery, with an animal motive, completed by the magic of the shiny pieces of glass and golden silk threads.
One of the most valuable pieces is without a doubt the baroque cabinet in the reception hall, made between the years 1745 - 1750, from the workshop of Carl Maximilian Mattern, the Master Carpenter of Wutzburg. It is a perfect example of how a piece of furniture, meant for everyday use, can become a true piece of art. The valuable wooden veneers carefully placed into complex intrusions, create fascinating flower-like and mythological scenarios on the surface of the cabinet. The famous “historicism” era of the 19th century, which drew inspiration mainly from the later ages, e.g. Gothics, Renaissance or Baroque, interestingly substitutes the neo renaissance cabinet, in which the dark ebony veneer marries the soft elegance of the ivory, in a truce with the turtle's armour and the half-precious stones, playing with all the colours.
The owner's taste, sense for the past ages, but also the thorough work of the experts, is noticeable in the Count's bedroom, which is nearly unrecognisable compared to the original room from the break of the 19th and 20th century. The room is dominated by the breathtaking baroque bed from the later stages of the 17th century, decorated with a detailed and complex carving embellishment, in which the typical motifs from baroque like: winged angel heads, mussels and rich floral patterns are predominant.
The painting placed in the bedroom is closely tied to the history of Pezinok. Ján Kupecký, one of the most notable baroque portraitists, who operated at the break of the 17th and the 18th century, in the area of the Habsburg monarchy is until today a renowned personality, filling the hearts of the people of Pezinok with pride and happiness. Even though his art can be found in every big European gallery of old art, in Slovakia, we only have three paintings with his signature. A portrait of a young man with a feather decorating his hat, holding a sabre, which hangs on the opposite wall in the bedroom, is being credited to his anonymous pupil, judging mostly by the painters thorough work, including playing with the dark colours, chiaroscuro and almost mystical lighting of the young man's face and hands.
Ján Kupecký, however, broke out from the creation of baroque art pieces established by the likes of Rembrandt and Carravaggio. Mastering the tenebrismo technique (sharp alternation of light and shade) of which representatives were before mentioned artists, is notable in one of the biggest art pieces of the Château Pezinok.
The dining room is a remarkable part of the PÁLFFY APARTMENTS, here you can find the oldest and one of the most valuable paintings inside the Château. An oil painting from the first half of the 18th century, depicting St. Francis of Assisi, well known for its typical baroque emphasis, therefore depicting a tense religious rapture, ecstasy, which were typical for this time period. However in Ján Kupecký’s artwork this element is rare. A mysterious source of light falls onto the saint’s head and softens the monochromatic brown, earthly tones, from which mostly the hands and the face of St. Francis emerge. An experienced eye of the visitor can notice how much attention the author puts on eyes, which come alive with the unearthly light, amongst the emotional expression of the Saint.
Servant Room/ Former Count Boudoir
The historical Pálffy Apartments are concluded by an inconspicuous room, which in the past used to serve as the count’s boudoir, or a servant room. The valuable chests made from oak wood are the most dominant in this room. The younger Tyrolean chest from the break of the 17th and the 18th century, is noticeable for its provencale decoration, with a literal folk tint. The jewel of the collection is an almost 500 years old renaissance chest made from walnut wood, originally from France. Monumental architectural shape of the chest is precisely decorated with gothic ornaments, including stained glass windows, gothic roses, or silk, curved window arches.