ŚW. JAN NEPOMUCEN Z PRZYFARNEGO CMENTARZA W RADOMIU. FORMA I STAN ZACHOWANIA
ST. JOHN OF NEPOMUK IN THE PARISH CHURCH CEMETERY IN RADOM. FORM AND STATE OF PRESERVATION
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The depiction of St. John of Nepomuk, the national patron saint of Bohemia and one of the most popular saints of the Baroque era in Central Europe, can be encountered in many parts of Europe. Alongside Marian likenesses and those of Christ, this is the most frequent sacral figure, situated on a socle or in a shrine. The universal nature of the cult of St. John of Nepomuk, i. e. John Welflin, the general vicarius in the archdiocese of Prague, is connected with his martyr’s death in 1393 in the waters of the Veltava. The cult of the future holy martyr was disseminated in about 1419, during the Hussite wars, and became intensive during the Counter-Reformation. John of Nepomuk was canonised in 1729. The canonical iconographic type of his likeness is the statue by Jan Brokof, erected in 1683 on the Charles Bridge in Prague. The image of St. John of Nepomuk, installed in the church cemetery of the parish church of St. John the Baptist in Radom after 1760, was founded by Adam Stanisław Grabowski, bishop of Warmia and chairman of the Radom Tribunal. The statue was executed by Pierre Coudray, a sculptor of French origin associated with the court of King Augustus III Wettin in Dresden. The figure, made of sandstone, faces Rwańska Street and was placed on a tripartite pedestal profiled in the shape of a cubicoid with a rectangular cross-section. The height of the object from the ground to the top totals about 470 centimetres. The artist granted the portrayed figure individualised features, and presumably the saint’s countenance displays the facial features of the bishop-founder. The figure in question is a modification of the canonical image of the saint. From the artistic point of view, it is one of the most valuable freestanding statutes outside a church interior in the region of Radom. The artistic and aesthetic qualities of the monument are not, however, fully displayed. Its present-day localisation in a small space, below an almost hundred years-old chestnut tree and surrounded by tall buildings, is unfavourable. The state of the preservation of the statute is highly unsatisfactory. The figure is covered with lichen and the stone interior is penetrated by moisture which under the impact of low temperatures leads to frost bursting. Further devastation is incurred by vandals. This is the reason why it is necessary to prepare a professional conservation programme which will restore the original appearance of this highly valuable object.
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