St John the Baptist (from the Baptism of Christ group)

Richard Jiří Prachner

Richard Jiří Prachner - St John the Baptist (from the Baptism of Christ group)
The partially surviving carving comes from the furnishings of Prague Castle, and it was designed for viewing from below of considerable distance. This provides an explanation for the hunched appearance of John’s figure, represented as if in jumping. The extended right hand of the saint may have held a pole with a cross or an inscription scroll, his left hand held a shell used for the baptism of Christ, whose kneeling figure is missing now. The sensitively carved face and sinewy body of the saint are in contrast with the generous and emphatic modelling of his traditional fur. The distinctly expressive movement is characteristic of this powerful carving by Richard Georg Prachner, a sculptor of Bavarian descent, who brought to Prague echoes of South-German Rococo in a very distinctive form. Prachner worked in Bohemia for over fifty years as the head of a highly productive studio (fulfilling commissions for St Vitus’s Cathedral, as well).
measurements: height 135 cm
material: limewood
technique: restored original polychromy and gilt
inventory number: P 6401
gallery collection: Collection of Old Masters
licence: Creative Commons License public domain