Church of Our Lady of Divine Providence

(Nerudova Street)

1703 to 1707, building implementation with partial changes compared to the older project; investor Jan Mario Hlozek, provost of Theatine College in Little Quarter

Within the spiritual activity during the 16th century, not only the Jesuit order was founded, but also number of similar, although much less widespread church orders originated. One of them was the religious order of the Theatines who obtained their only order house within the Czech lands in Little Quarter under the Prague Castle in the year 1672. They had struggled for building an appropriate church since the beginning, and had successively bought houses nearby the busy Ostruhova (today Nerudova) Street for its construction. Already in 1679, the monk and ingenious mathematician as well as remarkable architect working in Torino, Guarino Guarini designed project for the Theatine Church in Prague. But when construction of the church really commenced in 1691, a different project, probably created by J. B. Mathey, was applied. Its layout is based on a cross shape, much like in case of the St Francis of Assisi Church, just not the double patriarch one this time, but a Greek isosceles one.

Construction of the church was interrupted after several years for some unknown reason though. Work recovery was planned for 1703, but probably took place after the year 1711. The completed church was consecrated in 1717.

J. B. Santini probably modified the older project already in 1703. While this conversion almost did not touch façade and exterior walls of the building, except the shape and framing of windows as well as the main portal's appearance, interventions in the interior were extensive. Santini even intensified centrality of the building, inserting bevelled corner sections into transept arms. This solution of the Theatine church, as well as design of vaults, remind of another Santini's project – an extraordinarily beautiful rural church in Zvole, in the manor of Zdar Cistercian Monastery.

Other applied architectural elements are also characteristic though, such as plastic framing of vault fields, expressively closed with a sharp spike in number of places. Vault fascias are also created in such an expressive way above polygonal-ended arms. Architectural framing of four openings directed from the transept towards chapels and oratories is also very innovative. The upper part of the main cornice profile as though “dropping down” below windows almost gives an impression of an architectural joke. A couple of absolutely original formations, coming out to the space in a carinate-shape and filling up the impressive opposed arcs in presbytery side walls, is finally very expressive, too.

The last Santini's work is represented by the characteristic self-supporting worm staircase, in this case furthermore closed with a subtle lantern, connecting the church through the sacristy with the Theatine Order House located much higher in the Hradcany hillside.

The architecturally exceptional space of Theatine Church is completed by a valuable Baroque sculpture and in part also painting decoration.

Fotogalerie kostela u Kajetánů
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