Santini Aichel

Santini Aichel (baptized 23 October 1652, Prague - 27 September 1702, Prague), who is quoted also as Eichel, Aychel, Aeuchl, was a Czech stonemason of the Italian origin and the father of Jan Blazej Santini-Aichel.

He was born to Antonín Aichel and Kristyna Ostova in Prague. His godfathers were a famous Italian architect Carlo Lurago, Santini de Bossi, Giovanni Battista Ceresol and Mathias Valkoun, assessor of the burgrave in the Prague Castle.

He grew up in the Old Town where he was educated as stonemason, a prestigious job associated with an important social status. During the apprenticeship he probably met his life friend Adam Kulich, later stonemason master. He started to work in Hradcany where he later moved with his family; he lived in one of the small houses behind the Jelení moat. He married Alzbeta Thimova (born 20 January 1701) on 27 October 1675, and they had the son Jan Blazej, daughter Alzbeta (baptized 25 September 1678) and son Frantisek Jakub. In 1680, he became the burgher of the Lesser Town of Prague and in 1686 he bought the house U tří hvězd (At Three Stars) on Pohorelec. He died rather young in 1702.

He was a skilled stonemason and worked on the projects of the French architect Jean-Baptiste Mathey in the workshop of Carlo Lurago, such as the church of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star of St. Francis in the Old Town (1679-1688), convent of the Strahov Abbey or the Archbishop's Seminary and church of St Adalbert in the Old Town in 1680s. Since 1690 he worked on the monumental Czernin palace by Francesco Caratti. Apart from sculpting the decorations in the palace and its gardens, he was working on the main portal (but it is not clear if it was finished). According to the plan of Giovanni Battista Maderna, he created the epitaph of the count Humprecht Jan Czernin of Chudenice in the chapel of St Sigismund in St Vitus Cathedral – he personally discussed the details with Mathey. For the church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Kosmonosy, he created the baptismal font, which has unfortunately not been preserved. His other works were ordered by the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star, Carmelites of the Lesser Town, and he also worked on the palace of the count Leopold Trauttsmannsdorf on Hradcany and the Schlick’s palace. In the year of his death, he was working with his son Francis on the Jesuit College in the New Town.

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