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Restoration works on the main altar

A part of the main altar of the Church of the Infant Jesus of Prague has been under scaffolding for several months and the restoration works will continue during the autumn. Why is that and what is going on under the scaffolding?

The baroque main altar in the shape of a triumphal arch with a painting in the back was made in the last quarter of 18th century by J. F. Schor. The altar has been gradually restored according to an overall concept agreed based on a research made in 2006 and following consultations with experts.

“Restoration is a complex process seeking to preserve the monument itself, its essence, while looking for the path to its original presentation and the way it looked like at the time of its creation,” says Petr Kuthan, an expert on restoration who participated on development of the overall concept. The restorers are re-creating the polychromic design of the main altar which combines gold and copper. It was used on the altar at the time of its origin and in this extent is a unique representation which will after the restoration works will be finished presented to the public.

Review. The large baroque painting under the arch, depicting the help of Virgin Mary in the Battle of the White Mountain, was restored between 2006-2008 including the decorated frame. Works on minor componets of the altar – two Carmelite emblems and four vases in the upper part followed in the next years. The complete restoration of the upper part was made in 2013-2015. It included works on the sculptural decoration and wooden architecture with marmor imitation as wall as on the painting of Our Lady of Štěnovice under the altar´s crown.

This year, the team of restorers works on the statues of saints Carmelites Theresa of Ávila and John of the Cross and the prophets Elijah and Eliseus. On the left side of the altar they are removing the upper layers of paintings to uncover the original oldest layer, which will be restored in the next phase.

The expenses for restoration of the main altar have exceeded 440 thousand EUR from 2006 until now. The restoration is financed by the Monastery of Infant Jesus thanks to generosity of individual donors and with the support of the City of Prague and the Czech Ministry of Culture.

You can support the restoration work by donation on the account of the Monastery of the Infant Jesus
IBAN CZ93 2700 0000 0060 2409 0001
or directly in the church.

Thank you for your help.