Jan Santini Aichel

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Jan Blažej (Giovanni Battista) Santini Aichel
Born(1677-02-03)3 February 1677
Died7 December 1723(1723-12-07) (aged 46)
NationalityCzech (of Italian descent)
PracticeGiovanni Battista Santini
BuildingsPilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk

Jan Blažej Santini Aichel (3 February 1677 – 7 December 1723) was a Czech architect of Italian descent,[1] whose major works represent the unique Baroque Gothic style - the special combination of the Baroque and Gothic styles.


He was born on the day of Saint Blaise as the oldest son to a respectable family of a Prague stonemasons Santini Aichel (his grandfather Antonio Aichel moved from Italy to Prague in the 1630s) and was baptized in the St. Vitus Cathedral as Johann Blasius Aichel. He was born with a physical disability – paralysis of a half of his body. This prevented him from a successful follow-up to his father's career. He only served his time of apprenticeship (as did his brother Franz), but he also studied painting from the imperial and royal painter Christian Schröder.

Around 1696 he started to travel and gain experience. After his journey through Austria he arrived in Rome, where he had the possibility to meet with the work of a radical architect, Francesco Borromini.[2] Borromini's influence is apparent in his predilection for star-shaped forms and complex symbolism. Many of his buildings are airy and elegant, yet he was considered a maverick genius by his contemporaries and exerted little influence on subsequent generations of Bohemian architects. It was in Italy where Santini incorporated into his name his father's name, Santini.

In 1700 Santini started to design independently and to build, which ensured his own income, he then became a member of one craft guild and founded his own construction company.

Santini married Schröder's daughter (Veronica Elisabeth) in 1707. They had four children, but all three sons died from tuberculosis at an early age; the only child left was Anna Veronika (born 1713). Santini's wife died seven years later and he remarried a South Bohemian noblewoman, Antonia Ignatia Chrapická of Mohliškovice whereby Santini was ennobled. Daughter Jana Ludmila and son Jan Ignác Rochus were born from this marriage.

Santini acquired the style of Jean Baptiste Mathey and after his death also finished several works of him. In 1705, he bought Valkounský house (no. 211) in Nerudova street for 3000 gold coins in cash and rebuilt it. Santini became a well-known person, but unfortunately, he died at a fairly young age of 46 and some of his works therefore remained unfinished.

The asteroid 37699 Santini-Aichl is named in his honour.




  1. ^ "Abecední slovník".
  2. ^ Fleming, John, et al. (1972) The Penguin Dictionary of Architecture. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

2. HORYNA, Mojmír J. B. Santini-Aichel – Život a dílo. Karolinum, Praha 1998, ISBN 80-7184-664-3.

3. KALINA, Pavel. In opere gotico unicus: The Hybrid Architecture of Jan Blazej Santini-Aichel and Patterns of Memory in Post-Reformation Bohemia.Praha: UMENI-ART 58.1 (2010): 42-+.

4. YOUNG, Michael. Santini-Aichel'S Design for the Baroque Convent at the Cistercian. New York: Columbia, 1994.

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