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The tombstone of king Kazimierz III the Great

Kazimierz III’s (Casimir the Great’s) tombstone was sculpted in red limestone from the Hungarian town of Esztergom, which has been traditionally called ‘marble’. It may be assumed that the type of material was consciously selected, since the colour red had been associated with power and reserved for rulers since the time of the Roman Empire. The king’s tomb was sculpted on three sides only. On the top slab, there is a gisant supporting his legs on a lion, which most often symbolised valour in medieval times and was frequently used to propagate royal virtues. Comparing the ruler to a lion is one of the most recurring topoi of medieval culture. The king was depicted as an old man with long hair and a beard styled in tight curls. Works on this subject mistakenly claim this depiction to be a realistic study of the king’s face. In fact it is an example of a physiognomic type typical of the Middle Ages, which aimed at presenting the ruler as a wise and strict old man modelled after depictions of great ancient sages, Old Testament prophets, apostles, and other venerable figures from the past. The king was portrayed in a leather tunic and a loose cloak, garments which were characteristic of court fashion in the 3rd quarter of the 14th century. Especially of note is the magnificent belt comprising elements shaped as fortified buildings. It may be assumed that it carries an eschatological message via reference to the Heavenly Jerusalem.

The tombstone of king Władysław I the Short

The circumstances in which Władysław I Łokietek’s gravestone was founded remain unknown. The artistic form of the tomb was mentioned for the first time as late as in Annals of the Famous Kingdom of Poland by Jan Długosz : his body is buried in the cathedral church by the main altar, to the left, in a tomb of white marble adorned with sculptures and a canopy, in front of St. Władysław’s altar, which he, in his lifetime, ordered to be built and furnished. St. Władysław’s altar mentioned here was actually founded by Łokietek’s son – Kazimierz the Great – most likely soon after 1333.

The tombstone of king Kazimierz IV Jagiellończyk

Kazimierz IV’s tomb is one of the most spectacular pieces of late gothic art. On the one hand, it clearly refers to a local tradition started by Władysław I Łokietek’s tombstone; on the other hand, it comprised of a number of unique iconographic solutions that exhibit erudition of local intellectual circles. The king lies on the top slab of the tomb, but his figure is presented in an utterly exceptional way. It is an extremely expressive and veristic image because the ruler was captured in agony. What is more, unlike the earlier royal tombs in Kraków, Kazimierz IV is dressed in a clergyman’s robe, which was used only for a coronation ceremony. The richly draped cope, clasped at the chest with a magnificent brooch, attracts special attention. It is a singular image with no analogical piece found so far. It is most often interpreted within the scope of patristics of the early Christian Church; the king’s physical death was juxtaposed with the birth of the soul to eternal life.

Relief “Agony in the Garden” by Veit Stoss from church of All Saints in Ptaszkowa

The relief with the scene of Christ’s Prayer in Gethsemane is dated from 1493–1495. It came to the church in Ptaszkowa (erected in 1555), presumably in the first half of the 19th century, where it was also discovered. It is considered to be the handiwork of Veit Stoss. Today, this sculptor is considered to be the most famous Nuremberg-Kraków artist. He came from Horb am Neckar, situated in the then so-called Further Austria. Born in 1438, he died in 1533, at the age of 95. He created works in the late Gothic style, mainly around religious themes. In 1477, he resigned from Nuremberg citizenship and moved to Kraków – at that time, the capital of the Kingdom of Poland.

Sculpture “Jesus Christ Sitting on the Palm Sunday Donkey”

The sculpture, coming from the parish church of St. Sigismund in Szydłowiec, constitutes an extraordinary dramatic exhibit used during processions of going to church on Palm Sunday as to a symbol of Jerusalem. Christ, in a firmly upright position, is raising his right hand in a gesture of blessing.

Sculpture “Our Lady of Sorrows” from 16th century

The figure of Mary comes from the Crucifixion Group, which includes the sculpture of St. John the Evangelist, her pendant, also in the collections of the Museum of Ziemia Biecka. Initially, it was believed that both figures were placed on the rainbow beam of the Biecz parish church. However, their small size in relation to the parish space, according to art historians, excludes this view. They probably topped of one of the altarpieces.

Fragment of a two-sided right wing of the gothic tryptych “St. Clare / St. Erhard Bishop”

The picture is the only example of Gothic panel paintings in the collection of the Museum in Nowy Sącz and one of its most valuable exhibits. This is the upper part of the right wing of a small triptych from the mid-15th century.

Chalice and paten

The chalice was made in a Roman workshop around 1360. It is set on a ten-leaved foot base with a pedestal, decorated with a geometric decoration strip. The chalice foot is covered with a smooth coat, with an applied medallion containing an engraved coat of arms surrounded by laurel leaves in the field and on the opposite side of the coat with an enamelled cameo showing a Crucifixion Group. The upper base is finished with a ring with a strip of geometric decoration analogous to the base.

Painting “St. John the Almoner” from parochial church in Racławice Olkuskie

The painting was created on a rectangular board, closed from above by an ogee arch and encompassed with small pillars. The standing figure of John the Merciful has been placed in the background, pressed in the mortar (silvering and glaze with the motif of an outgrowing acanthus plant twine).

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

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...

Gothic chalice

At the beginning of 1657, the lands of southern Poland were invaded by George II Rakoczi’s army of 40 thousand soldiers. The army was supposed to give support to the Swedish headquarters in Kraków. The vicinity of Kraków was doomed by the presence of the new invaders.

Chasuble of Wadowice

A chasuble in a dark red colour with the addition of elements in turquoise and blue with a motif of a six-leaf rose in a net arrangement and pomegranates in the middle. There are two columns (initially a cross-shaped orphrey) sewed on brocade, laced with colourful silk as well as silver and gold threads with flat and satin stitches.

Bas-relief “The Adoration of the Magi”

A sculpture which was probably the central part of a winged altarpiece at first. There is a sitting Madonna on the right, holding a naked Infant Jesus in her lap. She is facing three Magi; two of them are standing while the third one is kneeling and touching the Infant Jesus’s hand. St. Joseph is standing behind Mary.

Sculpture “Madonna from Gruszów”

The sculpture is full-length and depicts Madonna in a long, floral-decorated dress in brown-red and navy-blue colours and with a gilded coat tied over her chest. Mary, tilted to the left, with her right leg bent in her knee, is holding a gold-plated sceptre in her right hand, while her left hand is holding the child with a book in its hands.

Sculpture “Madonna of Więcławice”

A wall sculpture hollowed out from behind. It depicts Mother of God in a gentle contrapposto, bent in the shape of a reversed “S”, wearing a gilded dress of a warm red tone as well as a gilded coat on a silver lining with an olive glaze. Mary has a veil and a crown on her head. In her right hand, Madonna is holding Infant Jesus in a gilded dress.

Sculpture “St. Stanislaus” (“St. Martin of Tours”?)

The sculpture was made of polychrome and gilded lime wood. It presents the Saint in bishop’s robes, in a lively position: his body is slightly turned to the left and bent, his left leg lunged. The bishop is holding the hem of the coat in his right hand. With his left hand, he is picking up a man with a moustache from the ground, dressed in a short hooded coat and trousers, depicted in a reduced scale.

Baptismal font

A baptismal font of a goblet shaped with a dodecagon base, with a pyramidal bowl and a foot. The narrowing in the middle bears a band (a so-called node) which is covered by a net ornament with three coats of arms (one of which is now missing). The bowl of the baptismal font is covered by a bas-relief decoration, the fields of which are separated by tracery.

Gothic reliquary herm

The herm is a name for reliquaries taking anthropomorphic forms, especially busts with a place at the front called a reservaculum , where the relic was placed. The presented object depicts an unidentified saint.

Sculpture “Crucified Christ” from 14th century

The sculpture depicts the Crucified Christ. The Saviour has dark hair falling on his shoulders, a short beard and moustache. The figure’s hands were completely destroyed.

Sculpture “Our Lady of Sorrows” from 15th century

It is a gothic sculpture depicting a figure in contrapposto, hands folded for prayer, face with a straight, narrow nose, small lips, head slightly bowed, covered with a cloak falling on the shoulders, bare neck, dress with a partially preserved polychrome in red, robes falling with heavy folds.