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2016 | 16 | 15-25

Article title

The Arrangement of the Presbytery in the Church of Poor Clares in Stary Sącz



Title variants

Aranżacja prezbiterium kościoła Klarysek w Starym Sączu

Languages of publication



Despite the reconstruction conducted at the beginning of the 1 yth century, Poor Clares’ Church in Stary Sącz preserved its mediaeval shape. However, it gained new furnishings, whose most important element were three retables in the apse of the presbytery - the main retable and two side retables with the paintings of St Clare and St Anthony, tlanked by the figures of angels. They were madę in 1699 when marble was purchased; a stonecutter, a bricklayer, a burnisher and an assistant were employed; and on 29* July 1699 an agreement was signed with the stuccoist Baldassare Fontana, who agreed to make sculptural decorations of the altars for 3000 Polish zlotys. Remuneration for the artists and payment for the materials were given by nuns through the agency of priest Sebastian Piskorski. It was also he who mediated in paying 360 Polish zlotys for two paintings for the side retables in the presbytery. The author of these paintings was not noted in the archives. One of the paintings depicting St Clare was acknowledged by Mariusz Karpowicz as a work by Karol Dankwart. Mariusz Karpowicz described the second painting as the re-painted and did not undertake to determine its authorship. This can as well be confirmed not only by the fact that both paintings were paid for, but that they were remarkably similar. These paintings are linked with the use of serious perspective outlines of faces, a method of painting with characteristic long brushstrokes visible in the drapery, and also detailed depiction of flowers. It can be inferred that the paintings by Dankwart were created in 1699, that is almost at the same time as a magnificent Baptism of Christ painted by the very artist to the order of priest Piskorski for the Cracow church of St Annę. These three works are the only known works of this artist in this techniąue, historically connected to Poland. They constitute a separate episode in his oeuvre and are characterized by the highest artistic level. We can see it even in the comparison with the most distinguished works from Moravia and Silesia of the previous decade, among which we can find a substantially dynamie Saint Michael Crushing the Heretics in the post-Jesuit church in Znojmo, a monumental and dramatic The Judgment of Caiaphas in the parish church in Kożuchów, and a large collection of paintings from the refectory of Carolinum in Nysa. Therefore, it is probable that the Polish period was particularly important for the oeuvre of this artist, as it was for the stuccoist Fontana, who left his most important work in Cracow. Hence, we can assume that in both cases priest Piskorski played the role of an indirect employer, who could in a special way motivate artists who worked for him. He was connected for many years to Poor Clares as their confessor and prebendary of the church in Grodzisko near Skała, where he realized his highly ambitious pilgrimage site, which commemorated Blessed Salomea, the founder of the first monastery of this Polish rule. Piskorski also played an important role in the transformation of the Cracow church of Poor Clares dedicated to St Andrew. Ergo, we can assume that also in Stary Sącz he was at least a consultant and a fellow of abbess Jordanówna and an initiator of bringing to Stary Sącz the workshop of Fontana and paintings by Dankwart - the artists who he employed while supervising the construction and decoration of a new university church dedicated to St Anna.







Physical description


  • Instytut Historii Sztuki UJ


Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

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