Central European (Prague?) sculptor
Christ on the Mount of Olives, the 1430s
sandstone; height - Christ: 126 cm, St. John: 85 cm, St. Peter: 87 cm, St. James: 72 cm, Olomouc, Church of St. Maurice, loaned for permanent exhibition in the Olomouc Archdiocesan Museum
The sculpture of Christ on the Mount of Olives, one of the most significant sculptures of European Late Gothic, was originally intended for either a wall around the Olomouc Church of St. Maurice or its cemetery chapel. In the 1430s it was sculpted by an unknown Central European or Prague sculptor. During its restoration in 1998 it was found that the sculpture, made of Mladějov sandstone, was originally polychromatic, in harmonic chords of red, blue, green and white, and in the continuing tradition of the Beautiful Style from the end of the 14th Century. This finding contributed to the surprisingly early dating of this work. The possible commissioner may have been the parish priest of St. Maurice and from 1430 he was also the Bishop of Olomouc, Kuneš ze Zvole. The touching face of the praying Christ with his eyes turned heavenwards and the emphasized bare knees, kneeling on rocks, reflects the influence of the new Dutch Realism. The imposing massiveness of the other figures in the group clothed in draperies is also a sign of this influence. The Olomouc group of statues is possibly the oldest European example of such a monumental rendering of the scene of Christ on the Mount of Olives.