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The Fortin family of Baroque architects


The first of them in Bohemia was Michal

( * about 1654, + 1754 Lhenice), born in Italy, who settled in Kornhaus (Msec). He was member of wider Fortin family of builders and bricklayers, who lived in Bohemia since the middle of the 17th century. They came from the town Muggio and belonged to the so called "Como's masters", skilled builders in the Baroque style coming to the Central Europe from the area between the lakes Como and Lugano. It is possible that Michal Fortin did not come to Kornhaus by chance because already in 1613 there was some architect Fortini building a new Renaissance castle here.


In the church registers from Kornhaus (archived in State Central Archives in Prague under the signatures MSEC 1 (1676-1707) M13-4/1 and MSEC 2 (1708-1750) M13-4/2)

there is possible to find Michal Fortin and his wife Dorota Kotrlechtin from Podhradí of Hluboká (married 27 January 1677) very often, on the occasion of birth their own children (Anna * 19 Sep 1677, Rozalie * 18 Dec 1678, Frantisek * 1 Oct 1680, Ondrej Prokop  * 23 Jul 1683, Marie Alzbeta  * 2 Jul 1685, + Jan  Václav * 8 Dec 1687, Antonín Frantisek  * 9 Oct 1689, Joannes  * 8 Oct 1691, Hans * 19 Apr 1693), or as the godparents of others.  In these chuch records there is also registered (29 Aug 1683, 17 Oct 1692) Bartolomej Fortin, Michal's brother, another brother died early after his arrival to Kornhaus, he was burried there on 26 Nov 1677. Their father was Carlo Fortini di Muggio.


Michal Fortin has a house in Srbec, in Kornhaus there he worked as a foreman bricklayer, in 1678 he worked in Trebon, in 1696 he made up a project of vicarage house in Kornhause, however it was refused by the authorities and was accepted after Maggi's modification.



In the State Regional Archive in Trebon there is stored this Genealogy record by the Schwarzenberg's chronicler P.K. Svetecký:





Fortin or Fortini


Michal Fortin bricklayer long time ago came to

Kornhaus and settled there. He died in about 1754 in Lhenice and had

four sons, Joannes the Priest, who lastly in Lhenice

in Nettolitz domination was and there also died not long time ago

beeng a clergyman for many years, the second son Ondrej had a house in Kornhaus




it is called there by his name At Andreas, the third son Franz

was a foreman bricklayer in Ceský Krumlov and the forth Michal

stayed at his father's house in Kornhaus. There were also two daughters if I know well, one married

Balasek in Kornhaus, and the lame Mandusska did not marry anyone.

Their father Michal was native Italian and died close at the age of

100 years it will show the church register in Lhenice where he was burried. Franz had

several children and is still alive in Ceský Krumlov, one is a foreman bricklayer

in Ceský Krumlov, second is a curate in Tabor, where are the others I do not know

Andreas has with his first wife one son Johannes who studied

in Prague to be a clerk at Princely office then

he was a clerk at Head office in Trebon and from there he got

to Vienna at Princely counting-house and now he is there for some years

an Accountant, how many children Michal has I do not know, except Ignatius

who lives in the Kornhaus house and he married my sister

Kacenka I think she is called, I do not know whether or not they have some children, Accountant has

several children, his wife Johanka is a daughter of miller Czochmon

of Hluboká, she is very nice person. Andreas, father of Accountant,

after the death of his first wife married again and few children stayed in Kornhaus

after him. Their kinsfolk in Italy write their name Fortini and as I have heard

they may be blue-blooded.

On the 16 Dec 1746 my brother in law Ignatius sent me a letter and said thanks for

10 guldens from my succession I had given to my sister as a wedding present.



Son Michal is probably the known builder from town Horice Herman Michal Fortin ( * about 1681  + 12 Oct 1750, I. Korán, Dientzenhoferovy dopisy do Horic, Umení XXXVII, 1989, p. 540 - 41).

His son Ignatius was a bricklayer in Kornhaus, with his wife Katerina (sister of P.K. Svetecký) they had several children, among them Katerina (* 6 July 1748) and Petronila (* 19 June 1764).

Ignatius Fortin died 6 March 1772 at the age of 48 years.


Another son Ondrej was a Princely architect in Kornhaus. By Dr. Prokop Toman "he had his wedding day on 15 Sep 1737 in Prague at St. Valentine.".

In the St. Valentine church registers there is stored this text: ">1737 15. Sept. ... concessa facultate expressa Rdissimi officii et de cosensu Dnii Celsissimi principis de Schwartzenberg (titul.) per ven. Dnum Godefridum Heber curatum in Kornhaus ibidem copulati sunt: Andreas Fortin, aedilis, cum sponsa viduata Gezberin, parochiana mea, ambo subditi praef. dominii ...<

His son from the first marriage with Rosina, Joannes Caspar (Accountant), was born in May 1707 in Kornhaus.

The second wife of Ondrej Fortin was Katerina and on 6 January 1748 their daughter Dorota was born.


Probably the most significant member of this family of builders was Frantisek Jakub,

who was trained in Vienna by Francesco Martinelli and later worked as princely architect in the castle of Ceský Krumlov.

He married Terezie Dopita (* 1692 + 28. dubna 1738) on 20 Sep 1711 in Kornhaus. Terezie's tomb stone,

originally placed on later destroyed cemetery of St. Martin in Ceský Krumlov, is set in the floor of the St. Vitus church in Ceský Krumlov, under the stairs to the prelatical oratory.

In Kornhaus there was born their son Frantisek on 26 September 1712.


Professional carrier of Frantisek Fortin started in Prague, he worked as foreman bricklayer at Johann Baptista Alliprandi. In the book of Milada Vilímková Builders of Palaces and Cathedrals [Praha, publ. VySehrad 1986, p. 112] there is written about him following: "In June 1711 Tomás Haffenecker and Jan Jirí Aichbauer attacked - is said they were drunk - the foreman bricklayer Frantisek Fortini and his journeymen Urban Grünwald and Martin Hass, who worked for Earl Coloredo (undoubtedly at building of Market palace later called Schönborn palace) and in the street "they beated them to their heads". They called Johann Baptista Alliprandi, who pleaded for his men, a bungler. For this outrage he prosecuted them and they were sentenced to pay 20 guldens."


The first proved work of Frantisek Fortin is the row of 20 pilgrimage chapels from Prague to Franciscan monastery Sancta Sylva (Hájek) built in the course of years 1720-1724.

In 1720 he also repaired the St. Peter and Paul church in Unhost, destroyed by a thunderbolt.



The original proposal of a chapel.

Copied from: A. Podlaha, Posvátná místa, part VII., Vikariát Slanský, Prague 1913, p. 253.



After the death of Schwarzenberg's architect in Ceský Krumlov G.D. Spatio in 1723 was Frantisek Fortin hired on the position.


Ivo Korán in his article Mirovice church of St. Climent in Baroque period (Umení XV, 1967, p. 410 - 21) mentioned incomplete list   of Fortin's work: "not longer than since May 1724 he worked on the project of the church in Mirovice, then he rebuilt the church of St. Bartolomeus in Ratiborice In 1725 made proposal of new building of the church in Ondrejov in Ceský Krumlov district,  later finished by the project of A. E. Martinelli. In same year he was seven times in Orlík ... In years 1725 - 26 were rebuilt two chapels in Dolní Vltavice by his project, in July 1726 he sent two proposals of building-up the steeple in Chýnov and at the same time he worked in Netolice. In Ceský Krumlov he adaptated the monastery in 1727, enlarged the mint in the years 1729-30, in 1732 built swank vicarage building in Mirovice, in July 1734 he made the project of enlargement of presbytery of the church in Vezná, in 1736 he rebuilt the monastery in ve Zlatá Koruna. Around the year 1748 he built the church in Sumavská Hostice, in the years of 1748 - 49 he enlarged the north part of upper half of Ceský Krumlov castle and in 1752 - 54 built the church in St. Majdalena by the project of E. A. Martinelli; in addition he worked both on the steeples in Old Prachatice and in Volary.

It can be said (...), that Fortin worked on all building constructions of the huge Schwarzenberg domination since 1724 till the middle of 18th century. The significant point of his own artistic contribution is a special temperance with the aid of it he applied the baroque articulation to the calm facades of his buildings. Architectonic articulation more likely decorated the bulding than divided; it is comprehended by Fortin decoratively and it does not intervene the composition. By these elements we can differentiate his work from so dramatically moving buildings of Prague and East Bohemia masters and easily distinguish it in South Bohemia."



The following picture from the State Regional Archive in Ceský Krumlov is an example of Fortin's professional technique (unfortunately I do not know of which building it was the proposal and whether it was realised.).




From around 1750, first together with his father later separately, worked as Ceský Krumlov architect also Frantisek's son Josef Frantisek, who signed himself Fortini.

By his proposals there was in 1750 rebuilt the castle in Kvítkuv dvur, in 1751 he made up the project of new spa building in Dobrá Voda, in 1754 he built new church steeple in Chroboly and made a proposal of rebuilding of villa Bellarie in Ceský Krumlov, however it was not realised. In 1756 he made up the project of new construction of the south wing of the castle Cervený Dvur and until the year 1760 he unified it's exterior facades. In 1758 he worked as the princely architect in the Minorite Monastery in Ceský Krumlov.



Both in the archive and in the literature there is also noted Jan Fortini, probably another son of architect Frantisek Fortin. He worked on the church steeples in Old Prachatice and Volary in 1756.


Next to this arborescent family of builders there was in Bohemia also Francesco Maria Fortini, son of Antonio di Muggio (1692-97 in New Town of Prague), Giovanni Fortini from Muggio (about 1690 Prague), Antonín Fortin, foreman bricklayer of Schwarzenberg's architect from Hluboká Giacomo Antonio de Maggi (1670 Ceský Krumlov, 1678 Zeliv Monastery) and Johann Fortin, foreman bricklayer in Horazdovice (1687).


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