I think the post title and the cordoned off Nativity scene about says it all… so with today’s post you can enjoy some nice photos of St. Vitnus Cathedral in Prague (full title: The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saints Vitus, Wenceslaus and Adalbert – so there’s a Christmas connection in there somewhere) which might be one of the most breathtaking pieces of art I have ever seen in my lifetime.
As any UK readers will be painfully aware, the country seems to be in the grip of mad panic at the moment with the charming COVID variant… It has been the dreaded ‘will they/won’t they’ dance for announcements and vague emails sent to undisclosed recipients at 8 pm for possible perhaps maybe cancellations of things tomorrow at 9 am. Regardless of our individual view on things, I think we can all be united in saying, what a pain.
I’ve had plenty of disruption, sorry ‘rapid pivots’ as we’re supposed to call them now, with plans which is why my Christmas crafting has gone completely out the window this year. I am not one of these meticulously organised crafters, sitting smug on their Christmas colourwork jumpers that they finished weaving the ends in back in July… It only takes a small set-up or change of plans and all of my Christmas crafting is cancelled. Here’s to Christmas gift in January? Or maybe I’ll just be really organised for 2022?
It has been a long few months that I think have seen off whatever frazzled remains of my organisational skills still existed. I’ve been finding it nigh on impossible to find much time for any extended crafting, despite really wanting to, and I think what summed it up very well was trying to unfrog a bit of the shawl I’d started recently, managing to snap the lovely yak/silk blend yarn in the process and giving up feeling rather defeated by it all…
But as always, there are good sides to the chaos and bustle and getting to see some of the beautiful architecture in Prague has been one of them. I also went to an excellent textile exhibition that was incredibly interesting that I promise I will share with you soon too. I have something of a soft spot for Gothic cathedrals anyway but occasionally you just see something that seems to resonate with personal sense of style that you can’t help but fall in love. St Vitnus was one such place for me.
Certainly part of this was the riotously vibrant stained glass windows. The windows are incredibly modern in comparison to (some!) of the stonework – with many having been designed in the 1920s. The reason I felt so enamoured with St Vitus cathedral is probably because it was a work in progress on the kind of timescale I can get behind – construction started in 1344 but the front half was finished in 1929.
I don’t know enough about the historical and modern types of additives used to colour glass to know if modern glasses are more brilliant and bright than their historical counterparts or simply haven’t felt the fading touch of age but these were simply breathtaking. I don’t know if I just arrived at a fortuitous moment with the low winter sun coming through but many of them seemed to glow and cast the most beautiful coloured patterns on the nearby stonework.
I can’t really decide what my favourite window was. The rose window ‘Creation’ is of course fabulous inside and out, with the wonderfully intricate stonework. The High Altar is a magnificent and intense blaze of colour in contrast to the cooler, regular patterns of the window in the chapel of St. Jan Nepomuk. The windows in the Chapel of St Ludmila and Thunov were both incredibly striking and perhaps a timely reference to Psalms 126:5 – ‘they that sow in tears shall reap in joy’.
The one thing I did wonder is where all the ecclesiastical embroidery was. There were other cathedrals around with some rather fancy shoes and garb on display but it seems that most of the most striking pieces from St Vitus are under safekeeping. Not surprising I supposed if they are made from straw which I suppose isn’t the easiest thing to preserve.
If you ever have the opportunity to capture a glimpse of St Vitus, I really strongly recommend you do. It is a truly fantastic sight. I have harped on about the windows which are probably the most striking thing but the architecture and construction is also just as awe inspiring.