It is believed that this church sculpture, probably dating from the seventeenth century, represents the saintly Ludowika from Kęty, who lived from 1563 to 1623. Ludowika was born into a family of poor townsmen, and she spent the first period of her life in Kęty. At the age of 30, she joined a group of pilgrims heading for Rome. She remained in the Eternal City, where she joined the community of the Third Order of St. Francis.
This piece of furniture is an example of the small cabinets that were popular in the 2nd half of the 17th and the 1st half of the 18th century. Its typical elements include a small wooden body with a folding door, small drawers, a hiding place, and a metal open-work decoration on the sides made of engraved iron sheet with a set of stylised plant motifs, figures of people, angels, and animals.
The figure of “St. John of Nepomuk” was made from a single piece of wood (it is not hollowed out). It was found in the River Raba.
This consists of a wooden cassette, iron-shod with brass, with a two-winged hinged lid, a brass shield at the front, with “WIELICZKA” and a crown at the top. It contains a document granting honorary citizenship of the city of Wieliczka to Doctor Kazimierz Junosza-Gałecki.
St. Kinga was presented in art in two ways – as a young person in a rich princess’s costume or as an older nun in the Poor Clare habit. Jan Matejko made a deliberate statement of both conventions and portrayed St. Kinga at the age of around 60, in the princess’s robe and with attributes referring to her life at the Poor Clares Monastery (prayer book, crosier, view of the Monastery in Stary Sącz). The model for the character was Countess Katarzyna Adamowa Potocka, known from another portrait painted by Matejko – this time in a contemporary outfit.
The sculpture was carved in green salt and represents Saint Barbara. The figure stands on a cubic pedestal.
White salt hair grows on a light grey marl loam. Salt hair is a very original form of those taken by halite. Fibres – in fact, halite crystals in special conditions – grow in one direction. Sometimes, the density of fibres may favour their crystal clumping. The hair then transforms into a fibrous salt, preserving a specific needle structure.
The Renaissance sculpture depicts a woman standing. Her right hand, which has not survived to this day, pressed a book to her chest; with the left one she holds a coattail.
Saint Barbara, as the patron of good death, was worshipped above all by those who were most vulnerable to sudden and unexpected death: miners, steel workers, sailors, fishermen, soldiers, stone-cutters, and prisoners. Today, Saint Barbara is primarily considered to be the most important patron of miners. However, in Wieliczka, the miners used to pray primarily to St. Kinga, St. Anthony, and St. Clement.
Feretron (a procession float) derives from the Greek pheretron, meaning “litter” (in Latin feretrum — litter, bier, stretcher). It is an object akin to a stretcher, often with additional rods, formerly used in ancient Greece to carry the statues of deities. Feretron is a term applied to a special type of paintings or sculptures depicting the images of saints, set on special platform, which were once used in processions during ecclesiastical ceremonies and also as a portable altar during pilgrimages.
Sculptures made in salt are typical of mines in Wieliczka and Bochnia. In our portal they are represented by images of St. Kinga and St. Barbara. Salt is a difficult material. It is softer and more flexible than stone; however, on the other hand, salt blocks may have invisible cracks...
Seductive Salome, as a symbol of a femme fatale, became a character of numerous paintings, sculptures, literary and musical works. She excited the imagination of artists, especially in the decadent period of fin de siècle, when possessive and lethal femininity constituted one of the most important motifs in art.
The preserved Polish inventories dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries inform of a rather high number of silver and gold spoons being the property of the royal court, the Polish aristocracy, the nobility and the bourgeoisie.
The sculpture originates from a wayside shrine and represents St. Onuphrius the hermit. The massively built saint is kneeling with his hands folded at the chest in prayer. He is naked, with his body covered only with his long hair and a beard with a surface underlined with carved undulating lines. He has a broad face, hair with a parting across the middle of the head, a straight long nose, opened eyes and lips surrounded by facial hair.
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.
An altar sculpture showing an unknown saint, probably saint Anna, was made by an unknown artist in the 18th century. It supposedly comes from the wooden All Saints’ Church in Kęty which was dismantled on the command of Austrian authorities. The main reason for this decision was the poor technical condition of the building. Moreover, after the great fire which broke out in 1797, there were attempts to eliminate the wooden buildings from the centre in order to reduce the danger.
The sculpture comes from the Renaissance retable of the no longer existing altar from Wawel Cathedral dedicated to Saint Anthony the Abbot. The altar was dismantled in 1746. The further fate of the sculpture had remained unknown until 1900, when it became the property of Stanisław Larysz-Niedzielski of Śledziejowice.
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.
Salome, the daughter of Herodias and stepdaughter of King Herod Antipas, danced so beautifully that the ruler let her ask for anything she wanted. Her wish, suggested by cruel Herodias, was John the Baptist’s head. Biblical Salome is one of frequent motifs in the iconography of European art. The archetype of a dangerous seductress fascinated artists of all epochs.
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).