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- Date of production 18th century
- Place of creation Western Lemkivshchyna, Poland
- Place of discovery Orthodox church in Izby, Poland
- Dimensions height: 230 cm, width: 141 cm, depth: 25 cm
- ID no. MNS/970/S
- Branch The Gothic House
- Availability “The Orthodox Church art from the 15th to the 19th century“ exhibition
- Object copyright Nowy Sącz District Museum
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums project
The retable comes from an Orthodox church in Izby, a village located near the Slovakian border, to the east of Krynica. It has a unique form modelled on the arrangement of the Subcarpathian iconostasis, though in an architectural frame typical of the altars of the Roman church. It is an example of westernisation, which involves adapting western patterns to eastern culture.more
The icon has been in the Nowy Sącz collection since 1950. It arrived at the museum as a result of the action of securing the property formerly belonging to Lemko people. This action was carried out in 1947, by the Provincial Conservator of Monuments in Kraków, on the recommendation of the Ministry of Culture and Art, in connection with the mass deportation of the Lemkos. At that time, a group of historians and conservators toured Lemko villages in the Nowy Sącz area, collecting objects found in attics and lean-tos. The artefacts left behind by the departing inhabitants – which had been exposed to destruction or theft – were deposited in the rented Museum Depot in Muszyna, after having been labelled with cards stating the name of the town.
The retable has the form of a three-story iconostasis, in which individual icons in rows are separated by columns and consoles. In the bottom row of icons, there are representations of: the Archangel Michael, Madonna and Child, Christ the Pantocrator, and St. Demetrios the Martyr. In place of the gates of the Tsar, in the middle of the row, there is a tabernacle door with the image of Jesus resurrected. Above, there is a row of prazdniki – icons depicting the most important church holidays – in the centre of which the painting of the Last Supper is located. The highest level is the apostolic line, which consists of: the depiction of the enthroned Christ the Great Priest on the axis and the figures of the twelve apostles, who are approaching him. All the saints and scenes in the retable icons were inscribed in Cyrillic, although the captions are partly worn out and illegible. The retable is braced on the sides with protrusions, carved in an auricular style and topped with a crenellated line, which features the dove of the Holy Spirit surrounded by the winged heads of angels. The whole work is completed with a Greek cross, placed on a round medallion with the image of God the father. In the field of the antependium, there is a panel with a painted scene, illustrating the parable of the wise and unreasonable virgins.
Elaborated by Edyta Ross-Pazdyk (Nowy Sącz District Museum), © all rights reserved