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In the middle part of the triptych, the so-called “family of Maria” has been introduced, a multi-person image, based on the legend of the triple marriage of St. Anna (the Baby Jesus is standing on her knees) and the Blessed Virgin Mary are sitting on the bench in the centre of the painting. Behind the bench and St. Anna...

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In the middle part of the triptych, the so-called “family of Maria” has been introduced, a multi-person image, based on the legend of the triple marriage of St. Anna (the Baby Jesus is standing on her knees) and the Blessed Virgin Mary are sitting on the bench in the centre of the painting. Behind the bench and St. Anna, her three husbands (Joachim, Cleopas, Salomas) are standing, and St. Joseph stands behind Maria. Below, in the foreground, the younger daughters of Anna — Maria Salome and Maria Kleofasowa – are sitting together with their children. On the right side, the priest is kneeling in a black biretta and a finely pleated surplice on a red cassock. The portrayal is located on a gold-plated background, imprinted in mortar, with a motif of vine flagella. On the obverse side of the wings, we can see the scenes of: the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Adoration of the Magi; on the reverse side, pairs of saints standing against the landscape: St. Florian and St. Adalbert, St. Stanislaus, and the bishop without an attribute (perhaps St. Nicholas), and St. Bartholomew with St. Paul. On the obverse of the triptych, the narrative ran horizontally. The stage of the Annunciation on the left wing corresponded to the Visitation on the right, while, in the lower part, the Adoration of the Magi on the right probably corresponded to Christmas on the left wing.
The founder of this triptych is an unidentified figure in the outfit of a canon, which appears in the middle image of the altarpiece. This altar had been moved from another temple and probably found itself in the Church of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Racławice Olkuskie in modern times, more precisely in the 18th century, when the number of altars in the church doubled. It is possible that, already in the 18th century, the 4th quarter of the altar had been lost.
In this triptych, we can discern the late-Gothic traditions of Lesser Polish panel painting (the manner of breaking the robes, types of characters) together with the slow transfer of German Renaissance fashion, resulting from the knowledge of Albrecht Dürer’s graphics, as well as inspiration from Renaissance miniature painting (Stanisław Samostrzelnik).

Elaborated by Cardinal Karol Wojtyła Archdiocesan Museum in Kraków, editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, © all rights reserved

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Triptych “Family of Mary” from parochial church in Racławice Olkuskie

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