Statue of St. John of Nepomuk - the eighth one on the right looking from the Old Town Bridge Tower
the eighth one on the right looking from the Old Town Bridge Tower
The clay model of the statue was made by Viennese sculptor Mathias Rauchmüller (1645–1686), based on which Jan Brokof made a wooden model (it is now on the alter in the Church of St. John in Skalka, Prague). When working on the model, Jan Brokof actually converted from the Lutheran faith to the Christian faith. Since back then there was no metal casting workshop in Prague, the statue was cast by bell-maker Wolfgang Hieronymus Heroldt in Nurnberg in 1683 and paid for by Baron Matěj Bohumír of Wunschwitz, the Lord of Ronšperc and Bezvěrov (1632–1695). The statue was dedicated the same year for the assumed 300th anniversary of the death of St. John of Nepomuk (he was actually tortured to death in 1393). The saint is portrayed as a bearded canon with his attributes – five stars around his head (five stars supposedly appeared above the water when the saint was thrown into the water; the stars also symbolize the five letters of the Latin word tacet, i.e. to say nothing; besides the Virgin Mary, John of Nepomuk is the only saint from the Christian pantheon who, according to the Church rules, can be portrayed with stars around his head), a rochet (a type of garment), a cross and palm branch, the symbol of martyrdom. John of Nepomuk is standing on a trisectional pedestal comprising of three cast bronze plates with the reliefs “Queen Sophia Confessing to St. John” and “Throwing St. John off the Bridge” and with the Latin inscription Donated by Baron Mathias of Wunschwitz in 1683 in memory of St. John of Nepomuk, who was thrown off this bridge in 1383 and the emblem of the donator. The statue became an imperative iconographical model for following portrayals of the saint in the Czech Lands and abroad. People walking on the bridge like to touch the reliefs on the pedestal for good luck – The place where St. John of Nepomuk was supposedly thrown into the river is somewhere else – it is between the statue of St. John the Baptist and statuary of St. Norbert, St. Wenceslas and St. Sigismund where the archiepiscopal cross is mounted on the bridge balustrade.