The Trinity Column in Olomouc
The Trinity Column is the largest group of Baroque statues arranged in one complex in the Czech Republic at all. It differs by its artistic value, rich figurative decorations and its height of 35 metres from other comparable monuments in a very significant way. For this reason it was put on the UNESCO List of World Heritage in 2000. The idea of building a plague column in the Upper Square (Horní náměstí) in Olomouc as a sign of thanksgiving for the ending of the plague outbreak in the town and celebration of faith and the catholic church is ascribed to Wenzel Render, the master stonemason. He started the work in 1716 and built the first floor with the cylindrical chapel. The work was continued by other artists and masters until 1754.
Neither Render, nor his successors, Franz Thoneck, Jan Václav Rokytský and Augustin Scholtz, lived long enough to witness the consecration of the masterpiece. It was finished by Rokytský ́s son, Jan Ignác. The magnificent sculptural decoration was begun by Philip Sattler. After his death the work was overtaken by Andreas Zahner, the remaining sculptures were finished by his disciple, Franz Scherhauf. Simon Forstner, a goldsmith from Olomouc, is the author of the monumental group of the Holy Trinity together with Archangel Gabriel on the top of the column. Forstner also created a smaller group of St. Mary ́s Assumption on the front wall of the polygon. Both groups of statues, made from copper, are gold-plated. Statues of 18 larger-than-life saints are placed on three floors above each other on the corners of the polygon. On the upper floor are saints related to Jesus Christ ́s earthly life. The middle floor is lined by statues of Moravian and Bohemian saints, to name but Constantine and Methodius, St. Adalbert, and St. John of Nepomuk. On the lowest level there are statues of St. Wenceslas, St. Florian, St. John of Kapistrana, St. Aloysius of Gonzaga and the statues of 12 torch-bearers. The decoration is completed by the reliefs of the 12 Apostles. When finished, the column was ceremonially consecrated by the Bishop of Olomouc and Cardinal Troyer. Empress Maria Theresa accompanied by her husband, Francis I. of Lotringen, was present at the ceremony. According to the period sources the total expenses on the Trinity Column reached the incredible amount of 150 000 guilders. The citizens of Olomouc have always been immensely proud of this masterpiece, especially of the fact that it was made exclusively by artisans and artists from their own town.