Monastery Church of the Assumption of the Virgine Mary, St. Wolfgang and St. Benedict
1711 - 1726, repair and reconstruction; investor Maurus Finzguth, Abbot of Benedictine Monastery in Kladruby
While Santini’s implementation of the monastery in Plasy was designed in the spirit of his perception of radical Baroque, he had to face an entirely different task for the Benedictine monastery in Kladruby u Stribra. The nearby monumental late Romanesque basilica was completed in 1233. After the Hussites set it on fire, it stood for decades without any roofs or arches. During the Renaissance, the church was reconsecrated. Too much of a load on the perimeter walls caused further dilapidation, which the Abbot Fintzguth aimed to solve by its overall reconstruction. In 1710, he called for two main Prague architects to design a project. Christopher Dientzenhofer and Jan Blazej Santini. In February 1711, he decided to implement Santini’s more costly and extensive design. The reconstruction took place in several stages. First, three naves were rebuilt, followed by the transept. The monumental dome was built afterwards and was designed as a crown hanging above the long profile of the main nave. While the building’s exterior was being shaped, attention was paid to the western façade. There is a monumental statue of the Virgin in the entrance gable of the church that refers to the Romanesque and Gothic traditions of the area. The lantern in the dome is topped with the Marian crown, which illuminates the interior of the church crossing. Santini used the old structure during reconstruction. He removed only the damaged parts of the wall and rebuilt it. The extremely bright and ten-sided altar area includes an altar constructed according to Santini‘s original project, which dramatically completes the whole building. Reconstruction of a remarkable Romanesque basilica in the Baroque Gothic style confirms, along with the construction in Sedlec, that Santini was capable of totally unique performances in the first half of his life. Thanks to the preservation of both construction and interior components in Kladruby, including the original altar, one can find the perfect unity of architecture and its religious content.