Saturday, 15 July 2017

Hidden Prague #7 - Star Wars meets Art Nouveau in Perfect Harmony

A few weeks ago I published my Fly on the Wall and other Oddities post. It appears to have been very popular (thank you!), so I've decided to follow up with another set of weird and wonderful statues and sculptures which are all in easy reach of the centre of town but might not immediately jump out at you unless you make a determined effort to see them!

Firstly - the Star Wars Connection. Well, actually there isn't really one. But there are two statues in town (that I know of) that bear an uncanny resemblance to characters from the franchise. The first is the Darth Vader look alike, which is located in Mariánské náměstí, and best reached by walking along Platnéřská as an alternative route into the Old Town Square.

The statue of the Iron Knight was sculpted by Ladislav Šaloun in the early 20th century and depicts a character named Jáchym Berka who was the subject of a rather tragic love story, and now haunts the streets of Prague until he can obtain his freedom - an opportunity only afforded to him once every one hundred years. For the full story check out this page.

Jáchym Berka - the ghostly Iron Knight
The second Star Wars character is that of the Emperor himself. This is the "Cloak of Conscience" or "Il Commendatore" by Anna Chromy. The "Cloak" has many versions, but this one is located outside the Estates Theatre (Železná), best known as the place where Mozart first performed his opera, "Don Giovanni", from which Chromy first took partial inspiration for the piece. When asked about her inspiration for the work, Anna Chromy quoted Albert Einstein: "The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science..."

Il Commendatore / Cloak of Conscience

There are plenty of examples of Art Nouveau in Prague. I'm no art connoisseur but this did catch my eye (as do so many things in this city!). I can't find much about the specific piece, but it is by the Austrian sculptor Richard Luksch (1872-1936) and it sits above a potraviny on the corner of Kaprova and Žatecká near Staroměstská metro station.

There are actually two reliefs, one on each side of the doorway, but despite them being in plain view they are about ten feet off the ground, and you can walk past them dozens of times without noticing them!

Richard Luksch Art Nouveau relief
Lastly in this post, I decided to make room for this chap. This is "Socha Harmonie" or "Statue of Harmony". You can find him on the east embankment behind the Kampa Museum. This statue of Sri Chinmoy was created by British sculptor, Kaivalya Torpy and was dedicated in a ceremony during October 2009. The plaque under the statue reads "If you can create harmony in your life this harmony will enter into vast world".


I wonder if he would have been amused by the joker who donated his hat and sunglasses the first time I visited the place? 

No comments:

Post a Comment