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Blood in Stone and the Second Coming: On the Meaning of the Wenceslas Chapel in St. Vitus's Cathedral in Prague and the Karlstein Chapels

Petr Uličný

Published online:

10 Jun 2023



The essay attempts a new interpretation of the symbolic meaning of the chapel of St. Wenceslas in St. Vitus's Cathedral in Prague and the chapel of the Passion and Its Instruments, now St. Catherine's chapel, and the chapel of the Holy Cross, both at Karlstein Castle. They all feature a semiprecious stone dado, which was associated with the Passion of Christ due to its predominant red colour, while the upper part reflected the idea of the Heavenly Jerusalem and Christ's Second Coming. The chapels were either built to house the Passion relics or were probably planned for their storage, which in the case of the Wenceslas chapel perhaps influenced its unusual form, likely referring to Golgotha, the site of Christ's Passion.

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