December 13, 2012

Maxmillian Appeltauer, Malovaný sklep/Decorated cellar


Foto's van Painted cellar (Malovany sklep), Satov
this picture of the Painted cellar (Malovany sklep) 
made available byTripAdvisor

Underground excavated voids may have various functions, such as providing safe shelter or storing food. This underground cellar in the Czech community of Satov, near the border with Austria, probably has been dugged out from the perspective of sociability, since through the years it has been a wine bar.

The site has some reputation, mainly on touristic websites, because of it's decorated interior.

Life and works

Maxmillian Appeltauer (1904-1972), born in Austria and resident of Satov, as a young man in 1934 began decorating  the interior of this underground cellar on his free sundays, a project he has been doing for over thirty years.

On the sandstone walls he has created a multitude of frescoes in a naive style, depicting landscapes, historical events, various characters from history and fairy tales.

 


these two pictures from Malovany Sklep website

The cellar, some 12 meters (39.3 ft) below urface, has a main corridor of some 25 meters (82 ft) long, complemented with some five smaller corridors.

Electricity was only provided in 1965, so Appeltauer has been painting all these years in darkness, getting light through candles he applied on his hat.

When in the army during WWII he was wounded and lost control over one arm, however, after the war Appeltauer, although disabled, has continued his decorative project. 

Czech website Druid Mysteries has the story that some of the frescoes in the course of time have been repainted, in accordance with socio-political developments, like the two gardeners in next picture originally were soldiers 


and, what originally was a painting depicting the Führer, was transformed into a scene of a family welcoming the blessings of socialism.


Singlehandedly decorated caves and dug-out voids are rather rare in Europe. Chesné's Garden Grotto (France) is not dugged out and actually is more a structure, Dumoulin's Grotte (Switzerland) has no decorations, and then there are some collectively frescoe decorated and otherwise embellished caves, like the Jesuit Caves (Netherlands), the cave at Denezé sur Doué (France) and the Wieliczka Saltmines (Poland). But a cave with decorations made by one person, as the one in Satov, as far as I know, is unique.

Actual situation
The site nowadays is mainly a tourist attraction, that can be vsisited in summer. The couple that welcomes visitors and entertains the guided tours, also will take care that the frescoes stay in good condition.

Documentation, more pictures
* So far I couldn't trace a review of the site from an art-historical point of view

Maxmillian Appeltauer
Malovany Sklep
Satov, Czech Republic

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