Krakow's Gothic Masterpiece by Veit Stoss
Krakow is blessed with masterworks by the greatest sculptor
of the Gothic art, Veit Stoss (or
Wit Stwosz, circa 1440 to 1533). He lived and worked here
for 19 years, and he sacrificed twelve of them (1477 to
1489) to carve in wood his best work ever: three-story-high
altarpiece in the basilica of the Virgin Mary's at
Krakow’s central Grand Square.
The 42-foot-high and 36-foot-wide Veit Stoss' magnum opus is
the largest Gothic sculpture in the world. It consists of
200 fine limewood sculptures treated with color and gold
foil. The central part, with huge lifelike statues of the
saints, depicts dramatically the Virgin Mary's Quietus among
the Apostles. Looking upwards one sees the Ascension of Our
Lady and Lord. And at the top there is the Madonna’s
Heavenly Coronation by the Trinity. The wings are covered
with relief scenes from the life of the Holy Family. At the
base of the altarpiece one finds the family tree of the
visit the basilica on a workday just before noon to see
the opening of the Great Altar (St. Mary's
Altar or 'Oltarz Mariacki' in Polish).
Veit Stoss’s grand altarpiece in St. Mary
church is undergoing a thorough conservation which
requires the temporary removal of its segments. Elements
transferred to the restoration workshop are replaced with life-size photos showing the missing parts.
Window of awe
|Basilica of the
The immense Gothic church, Krakow's principal temple
since the 13th century, shelters many world-class works of art.
Royal giant headdress tops the city of Krakow since
Hourly musical show in the sky dates from the Middle
Krakow numerous churches are architectural gems, art
hoards, and spiritual hubs