Friday, May 20, 2011: Looking Up

Have you seen this ceiling before?

It’s Friday, the weekend is almost here, and it’s time to kick back and look up and enjoy the beautiful view overhead.

Specifically, this ceiling. Do you recognize it? The floor and stage area below it are the gathering point for frequent concerts.

This gorgeous Baroque church was originally built in the Late Gothic style in 1615-20. At one time (the late 1770s) the only hospital in Prague was part of its complex.

Owned by the Order of the Czech Brothers of Mercy, the institution’s main calling was to take care of the ill, as well as to be a center of ‘modern’ medicine — Prague’s first anatomy lecture hall was also in operation in the facility, but not under this particular ceiling.

The church underwent a little surgery itself when it got a facelift in the mid-18th century, when the Baroque decorators got to work on it.

Not surprisingly, the members of the Czech Brothers of Mercy specialized as physicians, pharmacists … and musicians. Perhaps not such an odd combination, when you think of it: when all else fails, a little music might help.

And what music! Mozart as well as Haydn played the church organ here, built in 1724.

The Order of Brothers of Mercy permit the music to continue, and they still have a connection with medicine, too — the nearby Na Františku hospital is part of its grounds.

Do you recognize it?

It’s the Church of St Simon and St Jude (Kostel Sv. Šimona a Judy, in Czech). — oo

Photo Credits: Mary Matz

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