Clients of Buildings

Jan Santini Aichel was not a master of the Prague's mason's guild and that is why – although he had been a burgher of Mala Strana (Little Town) since 1705 – he was not allowed to enterprise in the construction sector in Prague. That is why number of his Prague's building is very small. He worked only for general contractors who were not liable to guild regulations, i.e. noblemen and church institutions there. For the same type of clients, he also implemented most of his projects out of Prague.

Rich monasteries, originally of mediaeval orders of the Benedictines, Cistercians and Premonstratensians, went through a blossom period around the year 1700. A remarkable generation of excellent abbots of the Czech baroque at its peak was at the heat of these large church institutions in that time. These abbots came mostly from lower or middle classes of the society and they were men of exceptional intelligence, wide education, practical and economic thinking, highly accomplished artistic feeling, deep and genuine devotion and manlike, active love to the entrusted monasteries. They endeavoured to improve construction as well as artistic decoration not only of the monasteries, but also of the whole manors. Most of them were born at the turn of the 2nd and the 3rd third of the 17th century, in the time around 1700, in the fourth decennium of their age they acceded to the abbotship where they acted for up to four decades. They formed specific artistic order within the Czech baroque, represented mainly by Santini's architecture, as regards the contents as well as formally artistic point of view.

Abbots of Cistercian monasteries were among the first Santini's general contractors, such as Wolfgang Lochner from Zbraslav and Jindrich Snopek from Sedlec who had belonged to the previous generation yet. They soon recognized the artistic exceptionality of their master and recommended his work to further monasteries of their order: to the Abbot Eugen Tyttl in Plasy and Vaclav Vejmluva to Zdar nad Sazavou. Santini had worked for monasteries in Plasy and Zdar since about 1706 steadily until his death in 1723. He was apparently bound by personal friendship with the abbots Tyttl and Vejmluva, too. He created number of projects for the monasteries in Plasy and Zdar, some of them were implemented by his successors – the architect of Plasy Matej Ondrej Kondel, or František Witinhofer working at Zdar – many years after the master's death. It is documented in writing that the successor of Snopek in Sedlc, the Abbot Bonifac Blahna, recommended Santini to his friend from students' time, the abbot of monastery in Zeliv Jeronym Hlína, for reconstruction project of the monastery church destroyed by fire.

Vaclav Vejmluva probably mediated significant orders from other Moravian monasteries to Santini: reconstruction of Bishop's Palace of Premonstratensian Monastery in Zabrdovice and Sanctuary in Krtiny near Brno, as well as a large project of reconstruction and new construction of Benedictine Bishop's Palace in Rajhrad. Finally, in 1710 Abbot of Benedictine Abbey in Kladruby near Stribro Maurus Fintzguth put up a design competition for reconstruction of monastery church and called on two most renowned Prague's architect of that time to participate: Krystof Dientzenhofer and Jan Santini Aichel. As we know from his letter addressed to Abbot in Svaty Jan pod Skalou, Emilian Koterovsky, he chose Santini's design despite the fact it was more expensive.

Work for large church institutions (let's remind at least the Theatine college in Prague, Benedictine Convent of St George in Prague, Bishop's Palace in Hradec Kralove in addition) occupies the most part of Santini's creation. Santini had less so constant clients among non-clerical, noble investors. Especially Norbert Leopold, count Kolowrat-Liebsteinsky and both his sons were among them, for whom he built in Prague, Rychnov nad Kneznou, Dolni Rocov or Destne, or for example Hieronymus count Colloredo-Wallsee. Undoubtedly the most beautiful castle building by Jan Santini Aichel was Karlova Koruna castle in Chlumec nad Cidlinou. Santini built it for Franz Ferdinand count Kinský during his last years of his life.