A new look at the St Wenceslas sculpture in St Vitus Cathedral, Prague, Czech Republic

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Justa, Petr; Bayerova, Tatjana; Bayer, Karol;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 57, Number S1, p.165-172 (2012)


The polychromed figure of St Wenceslas in the St Wenceslas chapel, St Vitus Cathedral, Prague, Czech Republic, is undoubtedly the most significant Bohemian stone sculpture. This iconic Gothic representation of the principal Czech patron saint was commissioned by Emperor Charles IV and executed by Peter Parler in 1372‐1373. Issues regarding authorship, original placement, original appearance, and the materials used have been much debated, mostly among art historians, but the sculpture has not previously been the subject of any detailed technical examination. Prior to preventive conservation, comprehensive documentation and technical examination produced new information on the original polychromy (now concealed), shedding light on a possible original location, resolving doubts about the stone type, and supporting the hypothesis that the sculptor's stone mark on the plinth of the sculpture was carved by Parler himself.