Beautiful Madonna of Gdańsk

The polychrome figure with a child, is among the most outstanding works of Gothic sculptural art in Gdansk and the leading works of the international style known as “soft” or “beautiful”. It also has a number of features that distinguish it from this group, such as its grandiose size, C-shaped composition, more strongly emphasized naturalistic elements, and different color scheme. This full-plastic, two-meter high sculpture was made in soft limestone. The Madonna sculpture is characterized by slender proportions, contraposto posing, subtlety and elegance.

It shows the figure of Mary with a half-naked Jesus on her right shoulder and an apple in her left hand. The Madonna’s figure is slender, with a youthful, gentle face of quiet joy. She directs her half-lidded eyes toward the apple and Jesus’ hands. She has a white headscarf on her head, with a crown on it, from under which slightly wavy golden curls of hair emerge. She is dressed in a softly flowing mantle of blue, with gold trim and gold ornaments. The cloak is arranged in a rich arrangement of waves. Underneath it protrudes a red and gold brocade gown, with a small straight neckline. It is girded with a red belt with a gold buckle. With her right hand, she holds up the golden-haired infant, who is smiling slightly and joyfully extending his hands toward a red apple held by his mother. Little Jesus is characterized by thick curls of hair, the delicacy of a plump face and small eyes.

Around 1520, the sculpture was set in a wooden cabinet with bas-reliefs, which is believed to have burned down in 1945. It originally stood in the south aisle of the chancel. Presumably in 1877 it was moved to the chapel of St. Reinhold (tower, north side). Currently it is located in the northern nave, in the chapel of St. Anne.

The retable of the Gdansk Madonna is made of wood and was created in 1515/20. It originates from the Gdansk workshop, associated with the circle of Master Paul. The background of the statue is a radiant gloria and a rose wreath with medallions with passion scenes woven in. The narrative sequence begins on the left, at the bottom of the tondo with the Last Supper, followed by the Prayer in Gethsemane, the Scourging, the Crown of Thorns, the Stripping of the Garments, the Crucifixion and the Mourning. Under the canopy of the cabinet is a medallion depicting the Holy Trinity in the form of three men seated on one throne, joined by a common nimbus and holding hands. Only two tondos: with the Last Supper and the Flagellation are original. The others did not survive the turmoil of the II. World War II. On either side of the rose wreath we see at the bottom two groups of kneeling figures, which represent the adoring Church as the people of God: on the right clergy of all hierarchies, on the left laity of all social classes. In the corners at the top are images of:St. Adalbert on the left, and St. Francis on the right. On the doors of the altar cabinet are painted figures of saints.

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