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Sculptures of St. Francis Xavier and Francis Borgia in Prague

First, from the Old Town, on the Charles Bridge in Prague a tourist comes across the sculpture of St. Francis Xavier (1711). Brokawf created it at the age of 23, leaving there his self-portrait, which is a young man under the raised hand of a saint with a cross.

The lower part of the sculpture depicts the inhabitants of the exotic countries where the saint preached – a Chinese, a Tatar, a Negro and a Hindu; they hold on their shoulders the pedestal with the saint. A pagan prince bows before him, ready to accept the cross.

This sculpture, like the statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola (also by F. M. Brokof) opposite, collapsed with part of the bridge into the Vltava during the 1890 flood, and was replaced in 1913 by a copy by Čeněk Osmík. The original, as well as the remains of the statue of Ignatius Loyola (which has not been restored), are kept in the Lapidarium. Both saints were especially venerated by the Jesuit order, and St. Ignatius founded it.

Prague sights

A little further away is another statue commissioned by the Jesuits, St. Francis Borgia (1710), created by Brokof.

He is the third most important figure among the Jesuits. At the sides of the saint are two angels with an image of the Madonna and holy relics. St. Francis can be recognized by his traditional attributes depicted on the pedestal: a helmet (he was a soldier), a crown (he was the Viceroy of Valencia) and a cardinal’s mitre.


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