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Little sceptre of the Kraków's mayors

The sceptre was a symbol of the mayors of Kraków. The form of a sceptre symbolizes power, and this refers to royal sceptres or those of university rectors. It was made of silver, and some of the elements were gilded. The lower part of the handle has a hexagonal cross section, the upper part is round, separated by convex rings. The bead of the head is topped with a disc and finished with an openwork frieze of lilies.

“Triptych of Saint Mary Magdalene” from Moszczenica Niżna near Stary Sącz

The painting, Triptych of Saint Mary Magdalene, from Moszczenica Niżna near Stary Sącz is preserved in a rare state of completeness. The essence of the retable can be investigated based on this example. At the end of the 15th century, the retable constituted an expanded structure composed of an immovable main panel, the movable wings attached to it; a predella, which served as a basis for the wings, the main panel, and a finial.

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.

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.

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 “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.

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.

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 “Christ Resurrected”

The work comes from a church in Mogilany, which no longer exists. It was a wooden church, built before 1440, which had survived until the beginning of the 17th century (when it probably burned down). The only object left from it is the presented sculpture of the Risen Christ, found in an attic in 1965. After conservation, it was transferred to the Regional Museum in Myślenice in 1968, as a gift from the Parish Office in Mogilany.

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.

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.

Salada type helmet

The closed profile of the helmet and the shiny, smooth surface of steel, contrasts with the heads of spirally twisted rivets, that — despite their severe functionality — provide it with an extraordinary elegance. Until the middle of the 20th century, this helmet was considered a 19th-century copy. Covered with a thick layer of black paint (designed to protect against corrosion) it closely guarded its secrets. After being subjected to maintenance procedures, not only did this reveal its raw beauty, but also shed light on its mysterious past. It represents a late Gothic form of the helmet, evolved from the medieval cervelliere, widespread at the end of the 15th and early 16th century. It appeared in numerous variations and variants, serving both knights and soldiers from other classes.

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).

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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.