NEWS: 23 06 2023
Come to the Archdiocesan Museum in Olomouc to celebrate the birth of St. John the Baptist and find out what is connected to this prophet and where you can find him everywhere in the museum.
On the Feast of St John the Baptist, today the Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, 24 June, we celebrate the coming of John into the world. The date of this important ceremony was set in the early 6th century, according to the Gospel of Luke, for six months before the birth of Jesus Christ, at the summer solstice. The symbolic counterpart is the Feast of the Nativity shortly after the winter solstice.
"Since from the summer solstice the length of the day shortens, while after the winter solstice it increases, St. Augustine sees in the dates of both events a confirmation of the words of Johns Gospel, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30). On the basis of the biblical accounts of the wondrous circumstances of Johns birth and Jesus statements about this saint, the early Church already showed John the Baptist great respect and esteem. St. John the Baptist - the son of Zacharias, a priest of the Temple of Jerusalem, and Elizabeth, a relative of the Virgin Mary - proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, called people to repentance, and baptized them in the river. He also baptized Jesus Christ on the banks of the Jordan River," says Martina Potůčková, curator of the Archdiocesan Museum.
Of course, you will also meet the saint several times in the museum space. On the first floor of the permanent exhibition To Glory and Praise, you will find several depictions of this popular saint: in the Picture Gallery, the Madonna with Veil by Sebastino del Piombo (c. 1520) and the Madonna and Child between St. John the Baptist and St. James by Bonifazio Veronese (c. 1530).
"On these panels, John the Baptist is depicted as a child (somewhat older than the little Jesus), a subject that appears for the first time in Italian Renaissance art," explains Potůčková.
In the Hall of Arms, several representations of John as an adult, emaciated man dressed in a robe of animal hair, with a reed cross and a lamb form part of the exhibition. John the Baptist from Goa, a former Portuguese colony in India, the epitaph of the Olomouc provost Jan Šternský of Štern with the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist by Elias Hauptner from 1607 and last but not least St. John the Baptist depicted on a canvas with the Baptism of Christ by the Olomouc painter Jan Kryštof Handke from 1749.
"In addition, there is a chapel on the museum grounds dedicated to this prophet since 1858, on whose altar the aforementioned painting by Handke hung until the 1970s," Potůčková adds.