Slavíčkova 151/15

The first duke of Bohemia to be officially crowned as King was Vratislav II, in 1085. A strong proponent of the Slavonic rite – which had been banned by the papacy for the previous two centuries – the king had himself crowned again in 1091 by Božetěch, abbot of Sázava, this time according to the outlawed vernacular liturgy. The outraged Bishop of Prague (who also happened to be jealous of the abbot’s legendary skill as a painter and woodcarver) imposed on Božetěch the penance of walking from Prague to Rome carrying a full-sized wooden cross of his own making.

As a supporter of the Slavic language, as well as a notable artist, the eleventh-century Božetěch would have appealed as a subject to both Stanislav Sucharda, the sculptor whose house this was, and Mikolaš Aleš, on whose cartoon this fresco by Arnošt Hofbauer is based.