Sculptures from the facades of the Church of St Catherine in Vilnius

Around the 17th century there was a custom in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to put up paintings or statues on buildings not only to decorate them but also as a way to tell travellers about the religious traditions of various monasteries and parishes. The façade of any given church may have featured a large image depicting its titular patron, important members of the fraternity, or a miraculous painting that was being worshiped at that church.

In mid-18th century the facades of the Benedictine church of St Catherine in Vilnius used to feature wooden statues of the order’s founders St Benedict of Nursia and his sister St Scholastica, in addition to St Romuald, the founder of the Camaldolese fraternity, and St Catherine of Alexandria, the titular saint of the church. The latter two figures graced the rear pediment of the church facing Vokiečių street, while St Scholastica and St Benedict, with pastorals in their hands, stood in the niches of the front façade.

Sculpture St Scholastica
Vilnius, mid-18th century
Wood carving, remnants of polychromy; h 270 

Sculpture St Benedict of Nursia
Vilnius, mid-18th century
Wood carving, remnants of polychromy; h 270

Sculpture St Catherine of Alexandria
Vilnius, mid-18th century
Wood carving, remnants of polychromy; h 275





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