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The exhibit comes from an Orthodox church in Szczawnik, a village situated to the north of Muszyna. In the centre of the depiction there is a cross placed on a rock with a skull of Adam, the symbolic Golgotha.

 

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This icon has been in the Nowy Sącz collection since 1950. It arrived at the museum as a result of the securing of 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. A group of historians and conservators toured Lemko villages in the Nowy Sącz area at that time, 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.
In the Crucifixion icon, attention is drawn to the silhouette of the crucified Christ, with clear disproportions in relation to the smaller figures under the cross: the Mother of God, St. John the Evangelist, Centurion Longinus, and two holy women. The feet of the Saviour, according to the Old Christian and later the Eastern iconographic tradition, are nailed separately with two nails. The women were shown on the right side of the cross, the men on the left. There is an inscription on the upper bar, reading: “INCI” (Jesus Nazarene the Tsar of Judea); above the beam to which Christ's hands are nailed, the Cyrillic inscription reads: “the Crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ”; the monogram “IC XC” has been inscribed against the background of the bar; on the lower bar, the word “NIKA” (victor) has been inscribed in Greek. Furthermore, the Sun and the Moon – which signify h the Old and New Testaments – have been inscribed in the upper corners in Cyrillic. The cross is set on the symbolically depicted Golgotha, with the skull of Adam, against the background of the crenelated wall. The introduction of cruciform stylisation, referring to the representation of the Tree of Life and a relatively large number of inscriptions in Old Slavonic and Greek, make this icon an interesting work.
The icons depicting the crucifixion were created with a view to adorning the top of the iconostasis partition. Usually, the separate, silhouette icon of the crucifixion, adorning the top of the iconostasis, was also accompanied by silhouette icons of figures standing under the cross. Sometimes, however, the image of the crucified Christ was placed there along with the people standing under the cross. Among these people, always appear the Mother of God and St. John the Evangelist always appear, as often do the figures of the centurion Longinus, Mary Magdalene, and Mary of Cleophas. Sometimes, the mocking crowd is also presented in this scene.

Elaborated by Maria Marcinowska (Nowy Sącz District Museum), © all rights reserved

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Icon “Crucifiction”

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