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This sculpture in the round depicts the figure of St. Stanislaus in pontifical robes, but without the attributes. The figure was originally placed on top of the western façade of Wawel Cathedral, but it was removed during conservation works in 1898, and it was replaced with a copy made by Zygmunt Langman.

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The figure was originally placed on top of the western façade of Wawel Cathedral, but it was removed during conservation works in 1898, and it was replaced with a copy made by Zygmunt Langman. It has since been kept and exhibited at the National Museum. As a deposit, it was handed over to the Wawel Royal Castle in 1950 and it has been in the possession of the Wawel Royal Castle National Art Collection since 1985.
This sculpture in the round depicts the figure of St. Stanislaus in pontifical robes, but without the attributes. Cubic and static in form, as well as being badly fragmented, it was carved out of a single cylindrical stone block. The large head, which is out of proportion with the body, is covered with a mitre fastened to a cylindrical and excessively thick neck. Despite the fact that the figure has no arms (there are preserved openings where the arms used to be fastened, as well as the remains of the metal assembly tangs), it is assumed that the figure carried a crosier in one hand. The compact mass of the statue is enlivened by the robe arrangement. The chasuble falls softly into symmetrical arcs (according to the pattern used in sculpture during the 2nd half of the 14th century). The alb of simplified rhythmic modelling in the form of vertical folds bares the figure's feet. The head, of triangular shape, has no anatomical features. Probably, the sculpture was re-carved, but the sculptor did not finish the work and some of the elements ended at the preparatory stage. Where the eyes are normally located, there are horizontal strips with sculpting lines marking the axis of future eyeballs. Its chipped (or hacked off) nose and protruding chin line may suggest the scope of the original form. The high mitre is placed on evenly cut hair marked with vertical grooves, starting at the temples and circling to the back of the head. The ears are uncovered and one of them is partially damaged. The mitre's structure is emphasised by the decorative strips circulus and titulus, as well as fanones lengthening at the back and widening toward their ends.
Researchers do not agree on the age of the sculpture. The sculpture was identified by August Essenwein. An opinion of its early origins was accepted for a long time (the post-canonisation depiction was made for the Roman cathedral in the 13th century, and it was only later placed on the façade of the Gothic church). Reservations about this early dating were voiced by Jerzy Gadomski, among others, who perceived the sculpture as a work created in the 14th century. Most scholars accept the professional weakness of the artist.
The sculpture placed on the cathedral façade was part of a well-thought-out architectural and sculpture programme concerning symbols of the state and its sovereign, which is reflected in the king's monogram, the crown, and the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Poland, as well as the person of the saint. 

Elaborated by Beata Kwiatkowska-Kopka, PhD (Wawel Royal Castle), editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, © all rights reserved

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A Statue of Saint Stanislaus

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