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Gothic Pietà

Author, school, workshop
unknown, gdansk workshop
ca. 1400
Material and technique
wood, polychrome, gilding
height 87 cm
Saint Hyacinth's Chapel
The sculpture depicts the Madonna sitting on a throne, supporting the dead body of Christ on her knees. The viewer is struck by the very realistic depiction of pain and suffering on Maria's face. Her eyebrows are drawn together, her forehead furrowed, and her lips clenched in suppressed pain. Abundant tears flow from her bloodshot pupils onto her cheeks. The Dominican Pieta bears great resemblance to this type of sculpture from Olomouc in the Czech Republic dating from ca. 1390. Pieta represents the beautiful style developing in the years ca. 1380-1400 in the countries of Central Europe. It comprises a group of monuments preserved in Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Poland, which include Pietà and Beautiful Madonnas made according to a specific canon. These sculptures were mostly made in stone and the closest such example can be found in St. Mary's Basilica in Gdańsk. In this sense, the wooden Pieta from the Church of St. Nicolas is an exceptional example and a very well preserved beautiful woodcarving work in Pomerania.