Warsaw – National Museum in Warsaw (Carrying of the Cross – 1492)

This installation looks like it is almost new, representing the carrying of the cross, the Last Supper, washing of the feet and agony in the garden. The detail of the faces is quite astounding, even a little menacing, with the wooden figures dating back to 1492.

The representation of the carrying of the cross.

These sculptures were originally located at the Chapel of the Krappe Family in St. Elizabeth’s Church in Wrocław. This is the same church, which I’ve visited, that the museum’s Polychrome Statue of Saint Barbara is from. Johannes Krappe had taken over the chapel in 1477, but it wasn’t consecrated until 1492, by which time these figures had been installed. It’s not known who created and designed the figures, but their purpose was to teach the congregation the suffering that Christ had been through. I can imagine that they were not ineffective in that task, they’re emotional figures.

I can’t find out the journey that these figures have taken over the centuries, their survival in such pristine condition is noteworthy in itself.