Innumerable statues and paintings of the saint are mostly various modifications of the type formed by Jan Brokoff based on Rauchmiller’s model for Prague Stone Bridge in 1683. It can easily be recognised at first sight – a priest in a surplice with a biretta and five stars around his head, holding a crucifix in his arms and possibly also a palm that is a symbol of victory. Five stars reminds of the legend according to which fishermen found his body in the river Vltava. The stars also symbolise five wounds of Jesus Christ and five letters of word TACUI (I kept silence) that along with a finger before his mouth reminds of keeping a secret of the confessional. Except for the Virgin Mary, St. John of Nepomuk is the only saint whose sainthood is indicated with the stars. We can also find other attributes such as a tongue (preserved in his skull undamaged, however a new research proves that this is a cerebral tissue), the Palladium of Star?Boleslav (according to a baroque legend the saint went on a pilgrimage to Star?Boleslav), a bridge, an anchor or a pauper to whom the saint gives alms.
Mgr. Luděk Krčmář