Santini – Architect Of Gothic-Baroque

Jan Blažej Aichl Santini is one of my most favorite architects. He lived in 17th-18th centuries and I want to show you some of his masterpieces at pictures and tell you something about his life and work.

Church of St. John of Nepomuk from 1735, Žďár nad Sázavou, on UNESCO herritage list from 1994, maquette at Boheminium (see post about Mariánské Lázně to know more about the maquette museum)

Santini was born in 1677, as the oldest son of honourable Prague mason Santini-Aichel, he was baptized at St. Vitus cathedral. He was born partially paralyzed and disabled, which ment he would not be able to follow the family traditional mason workshop. Even though he served out masonry, but also studied painting with painter Schröder.

Morzini’s palace in Neruda street, Prague, statues of maur’s by Brokoff

Around 1696 he started to travel and gain experience, mainly in Italy in Rome, where he learned from Francesco Borromini, radical architect. From 1700 Santini was  working on his own projects in Czech lands.

Thun’s palace in Neruda street, Prague, eagle ladies by Matyáš Braun

From his early works we can observe his popularity between honourable and rich burghers, he was working for important patronage, working on important projects, he was reputable, respectable and laudable.

Monastery Church of Assumption of Our Lady at Sedlec by Kutná Hory, 1703-1708, first baroque-gothic project in our lands

Sedlec church, detail of roof vaulting and staircase

Even more details of Sedlec Church

In 1705 he bought Valkoun’s house in Neruda street, soon he joined it with the adjacent building By the Gold Chalice, using the buildings as his residence.

Valkoun’s house in Neruda street, Prague; Santini’s residence

Two years later he married daughter of his master Schröder Veronika Alžběta. They had four children, but all three sons died from tuberculosis at an early age; the only child left was Anna Veronika (* 1713).

Cistercian Monastery in Plasy, whole overview and detail of chapel roof and staircase

Spire of Monastery Church of Assumption of Our Lady, Kladruby by Stříbro, 1711-1721

After the death of Veronika he married noble lady Antonie Ignatie, so he had a close bound to noble community and clerical as well.

Daughter Jana Ludmila and son Jan Ignác Rochus were born from this marriage. Godfathers for these children were Santini’s maecenases from high aristocracy.

In December 1723 Santini died in Prague after longer illness and is burried in cemetary, which is abandonned in our days.

Santini’s work become to be more and more in the cynosure of  experts, historics of art and architecture, but also people without professional interest.

Monastery at Kladruby by Stříbro, and details of the Church interior, 1711-1721

His works attract by magnificent inner shapes perfectly corresponding with light expression and accustic game, he uses fearless and original technics.

Church of St. John of Nepomuk from 1735, Žďár nad Sázavou, original building and interier, see maquette of the whole complex on the top of this post

Between his works we can find big monastery complexes, churches, chapels, bigger or smaller palaces.

Pilgrim church of Our Lady in Mariánská Týnice, high baroque style, 1720

Santini had deep knowledge in mathematic, geometry, numerology, he was interested in religion and mystic sciences, as cabbala with accent to personal spiritual experience. And that’s what we can found at his work.

Castle Karlova Koruna (Charleses Crown) in Chlumec nad Cidlinou – Castle + chapel 1721-1723, maquette from Boheminium

The asteroid 37699 Santini-Aichl is named in his honour.

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. boomerangix
    Jan 07, 2013 @ 17:57:25

    The Church of St. John of Nepomuk is like something out of a fairy tale. Thanks so much for posting these photos!


  2. Peter S
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 15:48:41

    Beautiful, love the staircases!


  3. poppytump
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 17:37:55

    Love that miniature / model of the Church . Thankfully the Katy his disabilities were no barrier to success ! Great work .


  4. photographymemoirs
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 21:34:54

    Greetings from Australia,
    What a beautiful article and church; the architecture is simple elegant and magnificent to behold. Absolutely stunning and makes me want to visit Prague.
    God bless


  5. rimassolosailingaroundtheworldm
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 22:47:25

    Thank you so much for very nice pictures.Please visit my blog about Solo sailing around the world


  6. Lynne Ayers
    Jan 09, 2013 @ 16:24:37

    Beautiful architecture – Prague stays high on my travel list.


  7. bodhisattvaintraining
    Jan 13, 2013 @ 02:35:28

    How lovely to be able to walk amongst those miniatures! Thanks for showing us his work – I wouldn’t have known..


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