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The circumstances in which Władysław I Łokietek’s gravestone was founded remain unknown. The artistic form of the tomb was mentioned for the first time as late as in Annals of the Famous Kingdom of Poland by Jan Długosz : his body is buried in the cathedral church by the main altar, to the left, in a tomb of white marble adorned with sculptures and a canopy, in front of St. Władysław’s altar, which he, in his lifetime, ordered to be built and furnished. St. Władysław’s altar mentioned here was actually founded by Łokietek’s son – Kazimierz the Great – most likely soon after 1333.

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The circumstances in which Władysław I Łokietek’s gravestone was founded remain unknown. The artistic form of the tomb was mentioned for the first time as late as in Annals of the Famous Kingdom of Poland by Jan Długosz : his body is buried in the cathedral church by the main altar, to the left, in a tomb of white marble adorned with sculptures and a canopy, in front of St. Władysław’s altar, which he, in his lifetime, ordered to be built and furnished. St. Władysław’s altar mentioned here was actually founded by Łokietek’s son – Kazimierz the Great – most likely soon after 1333.
Władysław I Łokietek’s gravestone consists of a cuboid tomb in which the king’s body is buried (Fr. gisant), not sunk into the top board, unnaturally straight and stiff, as if it was standing on the corbel that supports the feet. The features of the head lying on a cushion are slightly swollen, with a walrus moustache. The ruler is dressed in a loose cloak, he wears a crown on his head and holds, in his right hand, the stone handle of a sceptre with a hole at the top, which proves that the insignia was made in at least two parts joined together with a metal bolt. It was, most likely, a sceptrum-type one with a very long handle which got destroyed over the course of time. By the king’s side there is a weapon with a double-edged blade, described by specialist sources as a “type of falchion”, while by his right side there is a slightly deformed dagger similar to the balisard type. However, the condition of the weaponry shows that their contemporary shape results from reforging and the king was most likely buried with a sword by his side. The bottom part of the extended corbel under the king’s feet was adorned with an openwork head with a crown of leaves, probably of eschatological meaning – constant rebirth of life, indestructible vital force.
The tombs walls were sectioned by lancet arch arcades in which figures of clergymen (western and eastern side), laymen (southern side), and laywomen (northern side) were sculpted. They create the so-called Cortège funèbre, i.e. a group depiction of court members participating in the king’s funeral procession.

Elaborated by MarekWalczak, PhD (The Institute of Art History),editorial team of Małopolska's Virtual Museums,
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

 

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The tombstone of king Władysław I the Short

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