Sedlec near Kutna Hora
Monastery Church of the Assumption and of St. John the Baptist
1703 - 1708, reconstruction and renovation medieval shrine; investor Jindrich Snopek, Abbot of Cistercian Monastery in Sedlc
Kutna Hora, as the second most important city of the kingdom, witnessed Santini’s ingenuity and masterful talent. It’s a former Cistercian Monastery in Sedlec and lies on the outskirts of the city. Part of the complex is a truly monumental and originally Gothic Church of the Assumption. It was in ruins for more than two centuries after being devastated by the Hussite troops. An energetic and capable Abbot Jindrich Snopek decided upon its generous reconstruction. In 1703, he asked Jan Santini to supervise construction. After his experience in Zbraslav, the 25-year-old artist was entrusted with rebuilding the largest church in the Czech lands. According to the available correspondence between the Cistercian Prelates, it was literally Santini’s ability to build in the Gothic style that convinced the two-generation-older Abbot that he made the best choice. Santini dramatically took advantage of an extremely big window when he built a subtle entrance in front of it and completed the space with statues in the superstructure. It is interesting to note that the master’s younger brother, a great stonemason named Frantisek Jakub Santini, participated in this construction as well. Construction was completed and the church re-consecrated in 1708. With respect to the quite unusual height and depth ratios of the church space, Santini created a compositionally strong rhythm of walls and arches. The Baroque style is manifested by the solutions of spiral staircases and elements in the altar area. Personal encounters with the designs and architecture of medieval cathedrals Santini experienced in his childhood in Prague, and later in Sedlec and Kladruby, gave him permanent inspiration for further work and for his very distinctive blending of Gothic and Baroque.