Statuary of St. John of Matha, St. Felix of Valois and St. Ivan - the fourteenth one on the left looking from the Old Town Bridge Tower
the fourteenth one on the left looking from the Old Town Bridge Tower
The sandstone statuary, also called the Statuary of the Trinatarians or the Turk, was created by Ferdinand Maxmilián Brokof in 1714 and donated by Jan František Josef, Count Thun (1686–1720); it is the largest, most expensive and probably most popular statuary on Charles Bridge. It was created to honor the two founders of the Trinitarian Order that specialized in buying and setting free Christian slaves captured by the Muslims. It is still not clear why the Slavic patron Beatified Ivan is there with the two French saints. The pedestal of the statuary is made in the shape of a huge rock with a cave. Three imprisoned Christians are guarded by a dog and a Turk with quirts (originally with a spear), a figure from many Prague legends. Above the window to the cave, there is a trisectional cartouche with an angel setting both prisoners free, the emblem of the donator and his wife and the Latin inscription Jan František Jos. Count Thun; 1714. On the rock, there is St. John of Matha with broken chains and money to buy slaves with. St. Felix of Valois, below, is taking the handcuffs off a prisoner. On the right side, there is hermit Ivan with the typical Slavic physiognomy. Below there is a stag (to remind us that all three saints used to be hermits). On the right part of the pedestal, there is the Latin inscription When the country was rid of the plague, and peace was signed with the French: 1714. On the right side of the pedestal, there is the German inscription The statues on the bridge were renovated in 1854, when Dr. Wanka was a mayor. – The symbology of the statuary always created worries for monument conservationists in extreme moments of Czech history: during principal political changes in 1945, 1968 and even in 1989, the bars of the cell, the symbol of non-freedom, were ripped out.