The Timișoara Art Museum, a reference institution for cultural life, which holds local, national and universal artistic treasures, operates in one of the most beautiful buildings in Unirii Square, the Baroque Palace.
We welcome visitors with six permanent exhibitions - 1+1+1 & SIGMA in the collections of the Timisoara Art Museum, Old Banat Paintings, Banat Icons, Romanian Modern Art, Corneliu Baba, European Art - and with temporary exhibitions, excellently selected.
History of Baroque Palace
In 1716, after the victory over the Turks at Petrovaradin (today Novi-Sad), Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736), one of the brilliant military commanders of the House of Habsburg, decided to conquer the city of Timisoara and its neighboring region. for 164 years, it was part of the Ottoman Empire. The decision had been motivated by the strategic position of the fortress, proven during the military conflicts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In 1718, through the peace treaty of Passarowitz (today, a town in Serbia), the fortress of Timisoara and most of Banat came under the rule of the House of Habsburg. Emperor Charles VI signed the decree establishing the Banat Administration, Timisoara becoming the capital of one of the new imperial provinces. Until 1751 the administrative structures were military, and the governors had a dual function: a military and a civilian. The first commander-in-chief and governor of the Banat Administration was Claudius Florimond Count Mercy d’Argenteau, also known as Count Mercy (1716-1734). Between 1751 and 1778, the city had a civilian administration. The first civilian president of the Banat Administration was Don Francesco de Paula Ramon, Count Vilana Perlas, Marquis of Perlas, known as the Count of Vilana Perlas (1753-1768).
Compared to the period when the city was under Ottoman rule (1552 - 1716), the House of Habsburg imposed a more rigorously planned urban design, with a rectangular street network in which the representative markets of the city were built. Throughout the 18th century, buildings were designed and built around them. It was the time when Timisoara defined its personality through an architecture in the Baroque style of Central Europe. Among the characteristics of the buildings of the Baroque city are also the spatial hierarchy of the buildings: the ground floor occupied by administrative or commercial spaces; street-facing living area; vaulted color for access to the annexes of the inner courtyards. The buildings have a ground floor or a ground floor, a balanced silhouette, composed of symmetrical facades, structured vertically and horizontally by pilasters, ledges or cornices.
The Palace of the Old Prefecture of Timişoara, later known as the Baroque Palace, is also subject to these architectural rigors. Like other 18th-century buildings, it is part of the modernization program developed in the newly incorporated regions of the House of Habsburg. It symbolized imperial power. Over time, until after the Second World War, the Baroque Palace housed the administrative headquarters on the ground floor, and on the first and second floors, the homes of government officials.
In its almost 300 years of existence, the Baroque Palace has changed its name several times according to the dominant policies and the administrative reorganization of the city. The construction was carried out in stages, together with the Main Square, the Dome Square, today, the Union Square. This gave the configuration of the city in the 18th century. Although it was not until 1751 that the chamber administration was separated from the military administration and the civilian presidency of Banat was established. relationship with the market. During the same period, the locations of the Roman Catholic Cathedral (built in 1736 - 1772), of the Orthodox Episcopal Church (built in 1744-1748), as well as of the monument of the Holy Trinity (built in 1740) were established.
For the President's Palace, the southern side of the square was chosen, land on which, in the years 1733 - 1735, there was the building of the Mining Office and, adjacent to it, the Military Cashier. From the two buildings, joined by multi-storey building, the construction of the Baroque Palace started. At the beginning, the rooms from the Dome Square were of less importance and this is because the land on which the square was built was a swampy one, bearing the traces of the branches of the Bega canal. The main access was through the mascarón portal, located on the western side of the building and which today is preserved in the form of a window.
In 1752, the Old Chamber House, named after the function it held during the city's joint German-Serbian administration, was a ground-floor, two-story building. In the back, towards the courtyard, there were several stables and warehouses. The ground floor had belonged to the Banat Chancellery Administration and the Military Cashier's Service.
In 1754, the Old Chamber House was arranged as the residence of the first president of the civil administration, the count of Vilana Perlas, known for a time as the House / Palace of the President. His apartment was arranged in the rooms on the first floor, the ground floor being returned to the chancellery and shipping services. The side of the building located towards the Square was extended, building the portal that is preserved to this day. Its composition includes the arch in the shape of a basket handle, highlighted by a simple profile crown and a classical garland inspired by the imperial baroque. The facade of the Palace has a sumptuous baroque decoration, in which it alternates two types of braids developed at the level of pilasters, parapets and window crowns.
In 1774, the President's House was expanded with the resumption, in the mirror, of the existing body, thus acquiring a second inner courtyard, to which access was made through a vaulted corridor. At the level of the façade, the magnificent decoration coming from the initial phase of the construction is simplified by using a single vegetal motif, but applied at the level of the pilasters.
In the context in which Vienna decided in 1778 to reorganize the region, placing it under the coordination of the Administrative Council of Hungary, the old districts becoming counties, the Baroque Palace would continue to play its role under the name of County House. Here will be the headquarters of the sub-prefect, of the county officials and the arrest for civil crimes, and in the old wing, on the ground floor, the Chamber Accounting.
Between 1849-1861 in the newly established autonomous region of Serbian Vojvodina and Timişan Banat, the Baroque Palace became the seat of the administration that in that decade was directly subordinated to Vienna. With the exception of some repair and painting works in gray, works executed in 1858, no major intervention was made on the building.
At the end of the 19th century, the Baroque Palace underwent a transformation, reaching its present form. Its modification was made in accordance with the taste of the time, a tribute to time, which means that any intervention on a building had to be done by renovation and by finding a representative style for contemporary architecture. Hence the ignorance of Baroque heritage. The style of the 18th century, called the banal Zopf style ", had been considered obsolete. Therefore, a restoration was proposed through the so-called stylistic purification ". It was executed in 1885-1886 by Jakob-Jacques Klein (1855-1928), an architect and builder from Chernivtsi.
Following the interventions, the body separating the two inner courtyards was demolished. The roof from the square was attic, and the rooms were repartitioned. Baroque decoration has been removed from the facade. The plaster relief decoration has disappeared, the windows receiving rectangular frames with identical crowns. By treating the facade, an attempt was made, without being completed, for a sgraffito decoration that would cover the attic panels and the window parapets.
Intending to bring the image of the Baroque Palace closer to the specifics of the French Neo-Renaissance, in the spirit of which the architect Jakob Klein designed the mentioned intervention, the project included a rich decoration of hardware embodied by the two exterior flagpoles. They were made in the form of griffins and flank the market corners of the building.
After the Second World War, the Faculty of Agronomy within the Polytechnic of Timişoara functioned in the Baroque Palace, later becoming the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Banat.
Started in 1983, the most recent restoration works of the Baroque Palace resulted in a partial commissioning in 2006, which will be continued by teams of designers and builders whose interventions are coordinated by the Ministry of Culture.