knižní novinky detailkrakow (krakov): reprezentativní kniha o sklomalbách v kostele panny marie v krakově z edice corpus vitrearum medii aevi (die mittelalterlichen glasmalereien in der stadtpfarrkirche mariä himmelfahrt in krakau)

Krakow (Krakov): Reprezentativní kniha o sklomalbách v kostele Panny Marie v Krakově z edice Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi (Die mittelalterlichen Glasmalereien in der Stadtpfarrkirche Mariä Himmelfahrt in Krakau)

V rámci mezinárodní série vědeckých katalogů o středověkých vitrajích vychází v současné době podrobný svazek věnovaný sklomalbám v kostele Panny Marie v Krakově. Tento chrám, kromě slavného oltáře řezbáře Veita Stosse a mnoha dalších významných uměleckých děl, nabízí v chóru taká výjimečný soubor 115 panelů s vitrajemi ze 14 století. Kvalitní dílo, významné pro umění střední Evropy, se konečně dočkalo reprezentativního zpracování. Knihu vydalo v němčině krakovské nakladatelství Universitas.

Peter Kováč



This recently published hefty volume deals with a group of 115 stained glass panels in St Mary’s Church in Cracow, the largest scheme of medieval stained glass surviving in Poland. It is the first Polish volume in the Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi series. With 551 pages and 650 illustrations (mostly in black and white), it resembles in scale some of the German Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi volumes, dedicated also to glazing schemes of a single church, like the ones on Halberstadt Cathedral, Ulm Minster (along with some smaller collections in the city) or Cologne Cathedral. The number of stained glass panels in the Cracow parish church is far smaller, but their comprehensive and detailed analysis inevitably resulted in the substantial size of the book. As told in the preface, the history of the volume under discussion is quite complicated. It is a result of a long-time research, carried out mainly in the 1990s by Lech Kalinowski and Helena Małkiewiczówna, extended and edited in recent years by Dobrosława Horzela. The publication under review is the first of three Polish volumes planned to appear within the series.

In its present shape, St Mary’s Church in Cracow dates mostly from the second half of the fourteenth century and used to be the largest and most important parish church in medieval Cracow, serving the rich burgesses and housing such outstanding artworks as Veit Stoss’ high altarpiece and the so-called Slacker Crucifix by the same master. The building itself is one of the biggest late medieval parish churches in Central Europe. Its long and tall choir – a remarkable example of the reception of the late, mannerist phase of the Rayonnant style – is decorated on the outside walls by a unique scheme of architectural sculpture.

The main part of the volume is preceded by an extensive (approx. 60 pages) introduction (Kunstgeschichtliche Einleitung) by Marek Walczak, a Cracovian art historian, specialist in Gothic art of Cracow and Lesser Poland. A discussion of local art in the reign of Casimir III the Great, that is, in the period when the stained glass was made, serves as a valuable background for the subsequent parts of the book. Walczak has already published a book and many articles regarding e.g. architectural sculpture in the churches founded by this famous Polish king or the royal tombs in the Wawel Cathedral in Cracow, and last but not least, he paid much attention to the architecture and sculpture of St Mary’s church. In this chapter he shows a broad panorama of 14th-century art in Cracow and its region. This part will be undoubtedly useful for readers who are not familiar with art of Cracow, but may also serve as a point of reference for future studies dealing with the subject it deals with. The abundantly illustrated essay is complemented by a concise historical background and includes a discussion of the problem of the king’s representation (e.g. in heraldry and royal insignia) as well.

The main part of the book consists of two sections. The first one is a comprehensive discussion of the history, style, iconography and chronology of the stained-glass scheme and an attempt at its reconstruction, while the second part is a detailed catalogue which presents all surviving stained-glass panels and documents the non-extant ones. The final part lists all primary sources concerning stained glass under discussion; the book is complemented by Bibliography (41 pages) and Index.

As shown in the concise state of research, stained-glass panels in St Mary’s Church have been the object of constant interest since the early nineteenth century. The famous sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen was the first to notice them during his trip to Cracow and then the glazing was mentioned by the first Polish antiquarians such as Ambroży Grabowski and Edward Rastawiecki. The first monograph of the stained-glass scheme was written by Henryk Brzuski in 1926. A much more advanced research programme was started in 1980s, by the two first authors of the present book. Until that time, many aspects of the glass, such as dating, iconography and style, had been already discussed, but an exhaustive study of this important medieval stained-glass scheme was still to be written.

The book presents the current distribution of the panels, a detailed history of the church and the glass. Their current state was recorded by Ludwik Łepkowski in his album of watercolours (1864), documenting in minute details all the panels and their position in the windows. Some of these panels did not survive to this day or were altered during restoration. Łepkowski’s watercolours have been juxtaposed with current photos of the panels in the catalogue part of the book. The above analysis clearly shows that the panels changed location many times. Nowadays they are placed in the three apse windows but originally filled all eleven windows of the choir.

It is remarkable that the authors were able to reconstruct the original programme of all windows and arrangement of scenes as well as to identify the subject matter of the missing panels. The key element of the iconographic programme, originally distributed between two easternmost windows, was the so-called Biblia Pauperum scheme. This cycle was inspired by one of the illuminated codices which were very popular at that time, showing the relations between the New and Old Testament. The Cracow cycle, although only partially preserved, constitutes one of the most important examples of this subject matter in stained glass. The authors distinguished two workshops which produced nearly all the glass in 1360. Their leaders – anonymous artists – were nicknamed ‘Master of the Cracow Biblia Pauperum’ (Der Meister der Krakauer Biblia Pauperum) and ‘Master of the Old and New Testament Cycle’ (Der Meister des Alt- und Neutestamentlichen Zyklus), after their main works.

The first of these Masters seems to be closely related to Vienna, an observation which is especially significant because sculptural decoration of St Mary’s choir had been attributed to the workshops of the choir of Stephansdom in Vienna. Thus it seems that in the late phase of the construction of the choir it was decided to entrust artists from Vienna with execution of both the sculptural decoration and and stained-glass windows of this part of the church, which seems to confirm the crucial role of the Austrian capital in the development of late medieval art of Cracow.

The arrangement of the catalogue reflects the disposition of panels within the widows. It follows the model set by the Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi series and includes a concise study of the iconography, description of the state of preservation (contrasted with the state of 1864, as shown in Łepkowski’s watercolours), colour composition, and is illustrated with schematic drawings indicating the original glass, stopgaps and new pieces of glass added during restoration, thus showing the panels’ complicated history. Many panels have been juxtaposed with comparative material which forms a stylistic and iconographic context for them. Only part of this material is stained glass; particularly interesting are associations with early medieval art, especially illuminated manuscripts, which attest both to the erudition of the authors and the breadth of the medieval glaziers outlook.

It should be emphasized that the analysis of is extraordinarily detailed, complex and erudite. The book is enriched with ca. 1300 footnotes which are filled with additional evidence; a reader can be even a little overwhelmed by this material. As mentioned before, most of the photos are black and white and only 26 panels out of 115 have their colour presentation. It is a pity that the colour illustrations are few, but it must have been impossible to take new photographs of all the panels without taking them out of the windows. I would like to emphasize that the quantity of the comparative illustrations is outstanding and most of the photos are of very good quality. They show not only the roots of the style, but also present the complex iconographic connections of the Cracowian panels.

The book is undoubtedly the most important publication on medieval stained-glass in Poland to date. The scheme of St Mary’s church stained-glass panels is one of the most monumental and most important artworks of medieval Cracow, which until recently had not been sufficiently analysed and appreciated in the research. One may expect that this book, published in German, will enable also foreign art historians to take it into consideration in their research.

Piotr Pajor


Lech Kalinowski, Helena Małkiewiczówna, Dobrosława Horzela,: Die mittelalterlichen Glasmalereien in der Stadtpfarrkirche Mariä Himmelfahrt in Krakau. Mit einer kunstgeschichtlichen Einleitung von Marek Walczak (=Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi Polen; I,1), Kraków: Universitas 2018, ISBN: TAiWPN Universitas 97883-242-3446-2, 551 Seiten




Polské knihy lze koupit a objednat zde:

Klub Polskiej Książki i Prasy

Księgarnia - Knihkupectví

731 01 Český Těšín, Čapková 7

tel.: +420 558 740 226


Copyright (c) 2008 | Tisk | Kontakty | XHTML 1.0 Strict | TOPlistStatistiky toplist | Zpět nahoru