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The late-Gothic monstrance – silver and gilded – goes in harmony with the style of the church in Niepołomice, whose Gothic character was enriched with Renaissance Branicki’s chapel. The Renaissance motifs – floral and geometric ornaments, figures of saints, putti or coat of arms – look good on the medieval architectural design, decorated with delicate pinnacles and finials. The Branicki family was concerned about the church accessories of the parish church in Niepołomice, that is why church utensils, canonicals and liturgical vessels funded by them.

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The Branicki family was concerned about the church accessories of the parish church in Niepołomice, that is why church utensils, canonicals and liturgical vessels funded by them. Every foundation of Jan and Anna Branicki is proven by the Gryf and Jastrzębiec coats of arms visible on the preserved objects. The late-Gothic monstrance – silver and gilded – goes in harmony with the style of the church in Niepołomice, whose Gothic character was enriched with Renaissance Branicki’s chapel. The inscription on the foot of the monstrance indicates the founder: “Joannes a Rvsca Braniczki venator Craccoviens Capitanevs Nepolomicensis anno dom 1599 fieri fecit oretvr pro eo.”
The Renaissance motifs – floral and geometric ornaments, figures of saints, putti or coat of arms – look good on the medieval architectural design, decorated with delicate pinnacles and finials. The type of turret monstrance was popular in Polish craftsmanship in the 16th and 17th centuries, since the monstrance founded by Sigismund I the Old to the treasury in Częstochowa (1542).

In its centuries-old history, the monstrance also had a criminal adventure. After a marriage ceremony on Saturday 1 March 1919, the church in Niepołomice was routinely closed. On Sunday morning, Zygmunt Migdał, a parish priest, noticed that the monstrance from the sacristy was gone. The thief disappeared without a trace. Three months after this event, a soldier from a nearby military unit came to a Jewish watchmaker in Niepołomice with a small fragment of a valuable metal for sale. The trained eye of the watchmaker recognised the stolen monstrance. Under the pretext of a consultation with his worker, he entered the back of the shop and went to a nearby police station. The soldier found out that he was in a trap, but the police from Niepołomice managed to efficiently capture him, thanks to which they found the perpetrator of the theft. The soldier himself showed them who had sold him the valuables. The captive thieves were forced to show the place where the loot was hidden. In a dried up well near a castle, they hid a bag with the broken and destroyed monstrance. After a while the house of the perpetrators – who had committed this sacrilege – burned down (according to the town dwellers, without human interference).

Elaborated by the Museum of Niepołomice – the Niepołomice Royal Castle, © all rights reserved

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Monstrance of the Branicki foundation

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