Silesian Ars Moriendi.
Medieval Monumental Brasses [5]

Silesian Ars Moriendi

Monumental brasses of Bishops of Wrocław

The exhibition features three monumental brasses of Bishops of Wrocław originally located in Wrocław Cathedral. While made at different times and therefore in different technology, they all showcase the splendor of pontifical vestments and episcopal rings, the preciousness of textiles conveyed through the textural and decorative treatment of the brass surface. This emphasis on the vestments as the symbol of their ministry likely reflected the patrons’ belief that it would be considered and find favour in the eyes of God when they face judgment after death.

The monuments on display exemplify the progressing individualization of the deceased person’s representation: it distinguishes them from the idealizing manner of the earlier monuments from Lubiąż. The shift is already apparent in the applique from the monument of Bishop Stephen of Lubusz, the earliest in the group. The presence of facial hair is indicated which is an individual, personal touch as the faces of clergymen were usually rendered as clean shaven. The tendency towards individualization also informs the representations of Bishops Piotr II Nowak and Rudolf von Rüdesheim.

Il. 1: Monumental brass of Bishop Jan von Deher, St Mary’s Cathedral in Fürstenwalde, phot. Mateusz Tomyślak.

Il. 2: Pectoral cross worn by Bishop Bishop Jan von Deher depicted in his monumental brass in St Mary’s Cathedral in Fürstenwalde, phot. Mateusz Tomyślak.

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