The late-Gothic monstrance from the Lublin main parochial church of Archangel Michael
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In the 16th c., the main parochial church of Archangel Michael in Lublin had a monstrance of the retable type, with a rich architectural decoration supplemented with figural motifs, mainly those of angels. Four figurines of angels in the round flanked the box with the luna: two holding the Arma Passionis, two with sconces. Another pair of angels supported an openwork tower. In the lower level of the tower several images of Archangel Michael were mounted, in the upper level a figurine of Christ; the whole composition was crowned with a crucifix. The first mention of the monstrance dates from the year 1564 and is connected with the pastoral visit of bishop Filip Padniewski. Its appearance can be reconstructed from a description in the report from the pastoral visit of bishop Bernard Maciejowski in 1603. The monstrance survived in the church until 1794, when the canons donated it to the state treasury together with other pieces of goldware. An image of Archangel Michael appears on monstrances only exceptionally. The monstrance from the Lublin parochial church constituted such an exception; Archangel Michael, as the patron of both the church and the town, and the protector of the entire Christian folk, was there granted an important place above the box for the host. The iconographic programme of the piece stressed not only hagiographic, but also Christological and ecclesiological elements. Due to the profusion of figural representations, mainly those of angels, the monstrance belonged to works which would be exceptional not only in Poland. It must have been made in some renowned workshop; it was probably commissioned in Cracow, where goldsmiths attained a very high artistic level. The period of its creation may be ascertained as falling between the last quarter of the 15th c. and mid-16th c. The ante quem date is the year 1564, in which it was recorded among church furnishings.
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