Warsaw – National Museum in Warsaw (Legend of Saint Hedwig of Silesia – Triptych Wings from Wroclaw)

These triptych wings are in outstanding condition, given that they were originally painted on wooden panels in the 1430s or 1440s. They were constructed to be placed on an altar at the Church of St. Bernardine of Siena in Wrocław, a church which still survives although has been much modified and is now a museum. The monks were ordered to leave the monastery by the town council in 1522, as this was a city that was influenced by the writings of Martin Luther.

The construction of a church.

The caring for the ill.

What entirely puzzles me is how and why these triptych wings survived. Their survival during the Second World War isn’t surprising as they were likely housed in Silesia, part of German then, but they had already made it through over 400 years since they were removed from the church. I assume that they were kept by a Catholic family, but there’s little obvious provenance other than the wings were probably later on housed at the Silesian Museum of Fine Arts, which closed in 1945.