The polyptych of Lusina from the collection of the National Museum in Cracow revisited
Polyptyk z Lusiny ze zbiorów Muzeum Narodowego w Krakowie, nowe spostrzeżenia
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Up to the mid-19th century this Late Gothis retable known as the polyptych of Lusina was located in the chapel within the manor-house in Lusina near Cracow. Already before the World War II it was deposited in the National Museum in Cracow. During the war the central shrine of the retable disappeared along with the covering relief as well as one of the wing reliefs and the remaining polyptych fragments are stored in the National Museum in Cracow. The polyptych of Lusina was a pentaptych with two pairs of movable wings. The shrine and the inner sides of the inner wings were filled with polychromed and gilt reliefs, the remaing parts of the retable are decorated with painted panels. The analysis of archival photographs demonstrates that the polyptych had a superstructure, consisting, among others, of pinnacles which, having been disassembled, were secondarily placed within the shrine. Due to the absence of any sources, the reconstruction of the view of the unpreserved predella is impossible. The upper part of the shrine was most likely covered by carved ornamental decoration, similarly as was the case with the wing reliefs. Presumably the sculpted decoration of the retable and its architectural structure, integrally connected with the pictures, were created in two separate workshops, though with the same endowment. The polyptych of Lusina is the only, even though partly, preserved pentaptych of Lesser Poland of two pairs of movable wings and the entirely carved decoration of the feast-day view (Festtagseite) which can be reconstructed. Five reliefs which decorate the feast-day view of the polyptych - The Annunciation, The Adoration of the Shepherds, The Holy Family, The Dormition of Our Lady and The Legend of St. Theophilus of Adana were made in the same sculpture workshop. The middle relief, The Holy Family, however, was sculpted by a different hand than the remaining ones, which is attested by clear differences in the forms of the drapery.The lost relief representing the history of St. Theophilus of Adana is an iconographic rarity in the Late Gothic art of Central Europe. The reliefs of the polyptych of Lusina were produced by one of the numerous sculpture workshops of Cracow, which were stylistically dependent on the art of Veit Stoss around the year 1505-1510 and in might be assumed that the sculptures of the polyptych of Lusina were carved in the second half of the first decade of the 16th century.
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