Podcast
Ep7: Ceiling
March 01, 2020
The Green Dome is governing the baroque quarter roofs for over 250 years. A few visitors get inside, and still fewer pause before rushing under the great dome cap. But if you manage to stop under the nave's top, you will notice that something strange is going on here. Listen to the story of an extraordinary ceiling.

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1. Green Dome
If you have been to Prague you know that the Green Dome is one of the icons of Prague. It is much higher than the houses with red roofs that stand all around, so it looks like this Green Dome is the Master of this quarter. Btw, in this quarter the Oscar movie "Amadeus" was shot, because "it is the only place in the world where you can turn camera 360 degrees and still stay in the 17. century."
2. Entrance
But from the outside the edifice is so splendid, even breathtaking, that the expectations - however hyped - often get satisfied. But still I dare you to get the ticket and pass the entrance.
3. Santa
Looking up at the ceiling of the nave, you will notice there a huge fresco. It is not that obvious to make up what is depicted - it is the apotheosis of st Nicholas – or Santa Claus. So what you see is Nicholas taken to heavens by angels. The fresco spans over 1.000 square meters, which makes it the largest single fresco in Europe.
4. Stormy ceiling
But something else you will note – this is not a "standard" baroque ceiling. What's its shape? Well, it is difficult to say. It looks like it was not build but moulded by the hands of a giant. It looks more like a stormy sea than a ceiling. 

The fresco starts with a fake painted railings, and it is impossible to tell the curves made by the painter and the curves made by the canvas. It is a 3D painting on a 3D canvas - sometimes they work together and sometimes against each other.
5. Pockets and humps
The fresco painter completely yielded to the ceiling's shape. He placed visual gulfs inside the pockets and dominants like towers on the humps. Now you see why the fresco took ten years to paint.
6. Incognito
Officially, you are not supposed to find any gothic inside a church from 1711. The builders new the upsides of the condemned stone style, but only few dared to smuggle the gothic features into baroque. Christoph Dientzenhofer was one of the few, and you can feel a skeleton structure with pillars and rib vault under the smooth baroque skin.
7. Stormy sea
St Nicholas - or Santa Claus - is not just a patron of Christmas but also patron of the marketplace - so you'll find his churches in nearly every medieval town, nearby the main square where markets took place. What you get on the paintings is also a business, like this merchant ship. Note the wave on the background – it fits quite well to the sea scene!
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