Statue of St. John of Matha at the Charles Bridge in Prague
Statues on a bridge
Source: Main article: Statues of John of Matha, Felix of Valois and Saint Ivan, Charles Bridge
There are 30 statues mounted to the balustrade of Charles Bridge in Prague. They form two rows, one on each side. For the purpose of this article, they are listed in the order they are passed when crossing the bridge from the Old Town to the Lesser Quarter, and are divided into two categories: those on the north side of the bridge and those on the south side. The statue of Bruncvík is also included, although it is not considered one of the principal statues.
Damage caused to the statues over many years has resulted in many of the originals being replaced by copies.
The avenue of 30 mostly baroque statues and statuaries situated on the balustrade forms a unique connection of artistic styles with the underlying Gothic bridge. Most sculptures were erected between 1683 and 1714. They depict various saints and patron saints venerated at that time. The most prominent Bohemian sculptors of the time took part in decorating the bridge, such as Matthias Braun, Jan Brokoff, and his sons Michael Joseph and Ferdinand Maxmilian.
Statues of Saints John of Matha, Felix of Valois, and Ivan
(sousoší sv. Jana z Mathy, Felixe z Valois a Ivana) The most spacious and expensive sculpture on the bridge, this was designed in 1714 by Ferdinand Brokoff and sponsored by František Josef Thun, the lord of Klášterec nad Ohří. The sculpture was intended to honour the two founders of the Trinitarians, the order that supervised buying back and redeeming of Christians in captivity under Turks. St. Ivan, the saint patron of Slavs was added to the group for unknown reasons. The base depicts a cave in which three chained Christians are praying to the Lord for salvation.
Beginning in 1965, all of the statues have been systematically replaced by replicas, and the originals have been exhibited in the lapidarium of the National Museum.
Photo By Michael Brezocnik (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons