(b. 1330, Schwabisch-Gmünd, d. 1399, Prague)

Head of Charles IV

St Vitus Cathedral, Prague

The picture shows the head of Emperor Charles IV, on triforium of the apse of the Prague Cathedral.

Some of the decorative features of Prague Cathedral may well have originated with the Emperor. Charles IV undoubtedly saw the Cathedral as a personal monument. In a manner reminiscent of St Louis, he re-interred many of his Bohemian ancestors, creating a family mausoleum in the eastern chapels; and he went to great length to stock the church with plate, jewels and relics. He himself figured several times in the decoration, notably in a series of busts carved in the triforium of the choir. This gallery of personalities include Charles' brothers, his heir Wenceslaw, three archbishops of Prague and two successive master-masons of the fabric. Thus the royal family and those immediately concerned with the building sorround the Emperor and his wife, who took the place of honour on the central axis of the building.