The Crown of Saint Wenceslas is a crown forming part of the Bohemian Crown Jewels. The eleventh king of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV from the House of Luxembourg, had it made in 1347 for his coronation, dedicating it to the first patron saint of the country St Wenceslas and bequeathed it as a state crown for the coronation of Bohemian kings. It was used for the last time for the coronation of Ferdinand V in 1836.
The crown has an unusual design, with vertical fleurs-de-lis standing at the front, back and sides and two arches that meet underneath the golden cross with sapphire cameo (containing a thorn from Christ's crown of thorns). It is made from 22-carat gold and decorated with 19 sapphires (among them some of the biggest iin the world), 30 emeralds, 44 spinels, 20 pearls, 1 ruby, 1 rubellite and 1 aquamarine. It weighs 2475g.
Unlike many other European royal treasures, the St Wenceslas Crown is not displayed publicly (only a replica is shown). Along with the other Bohemian crown jewels, it is kept in a secret chamber within St Vitus Cathedral. The entrance to the jewels is locked by seven locks whose keys are held by important dignitaries of the Church, State and the City of Prague and all of them must convene in order to facilitate the opening of the door. The jewels are only taken from the chamber and displayed for periods of several days on notable occasions approximately once every five years.
I made this picture for the October monthly challenge Crown on Projekt ilustrace. It was quite an interesting theme, offering a great number of interpretations, because the word Crown ("koruna") in Czech, similarly to English, has a great number of possible meanings, including even our currency (CZK - the Czech Crowns - koruny české). And even when one sticks with the original meaning of royal headgear, there are so many beautiful examples that could be painted, both real ones and fictional (i was slightly tempted to try to depict the Crown of Gondor). But given my recent more intense involvement with the Czech monarchist party, incidentally also called the Czech Crown (Koruna Česká), I decided to draw our real crown of the Czech kings, the Crown of Saint Wenceslas, which is in my opinion one of the most beautiful and extraordinary crowns in the world.
I hope you like it. And as always, I'll appreciate your comments.