Thursday, November 7, 2013

St Nicholas Church

The Church of St Nicholas, known as the most famous Baroque church in Prague along the Lesser Town Square. There was three generations of  Baroque architects which worked on the church were Kryštof Dientzenhofer, Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer and Anselmo Lurago. The Chapel of St Barbara was first built to that mass could be celebrated.The church has a central dome above the transept with also a massive nave with side chapels and an undulating vault. There is Triforium with is supported by the pillars in the span of the arcade.

 St Nicholas became the main parish church of the Lesser Town in 1775.Completed in 1710, the facade of the church is composed of waves of concave and convex forms to emphasize the trio of large gables over the elevated chancel and its characteristic copper and gilded statue of St Nicholas; sculptor Jan Bedřich Kohl.
In the interior architect Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer demonstrated very well the Baroque style to emphasize the overall aesthetic effects. The interior is crowned by a play of light.The church ranks second only to St Vitus Cathedral in terms of the finest sacred architecture in Prague.
The artificial marble on the columns, pilasters and cornices was made by stucco master Johann Hennevogel von Ebenberg. Josef Hager’s painting Angels’ Homage to the Holy Trinity which are below the organ loft. The grand ceiling painting Apotheosis of St Nicholas is the work of Viennese painter Johann Lukas Kracker from 1761, as are the paintings in the Chapel of St John of Nepomuk and the altar painting of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary (1760) on the side altar in the end chapel beneath the dome.

The Jesuit Thomas Schwarz built the small and main organs as well as many others in Bohemia. Built in 1745-47, the main organ has over 4,000 pipes up to six metres in length. W. A. Mozart played this organ during his stay in Prague as a guest of the Dušeks.

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