Virgin Mary with Christ Child, 18th/19th century, Kłodzko Province, Lower Silesia
A unique collection of 18th and 19th century Lower Silesian folk sculpture which consists of ca.290 items is regarded as the most precious and the largest group of this kind in the region. Most exhibits originate from Kłodzko region, Kamienna Góra Valley and from the areas surrounding Lwówek Śląski and Lubań - catholic enclaves in the territories dominated by evangelicals.
Risen Christ, 18th/19th century, Wądroże Wielkie, vicinity of Legnica, Lower Silesia
Artists used to pick up topics which indicated their catholic background. Sculptures show prevailing associations with holy images of Virgin Mary from Silesian and neighbouring pilgrimage sites. Similarly they depict images of Jesus Christ – Crucified Christ, Risen Christ, and Christ at the Pillar or Little Jesus of Prague. The figure of Christ as the Man of Sorrows – so popular throughout Poland – gives way to equally universal figure of Pietà. Sculptures depicting the Holy Trinity or the Holy Family are a rarity. The collection, like most folk art items, proves strong reference to religion and the faith in patron's protective assistance. Figures of Saints account for a major group of exhibits. These are dominated by images of popular regional Saints: St Jan Nepomucen (known as a patron protecting people against floods and drowning hence his stone figures were usually placed at bridges), St Florian (protected the faithful against fire and frequently dwelled in hollow spaces on the top of buildings), St Roch (patron of animals, secured them in case of diseases), St Sebastian and Rosalie (supposed to secure people in case of plaque).
Saint Jan Nepomucen, 18th/19th century, Lesica, vicinity of Bystrzyca Kłodzka, Lower Silesia
Art of woodcarving and the quality of gilding are remarkable Techniques of oil polychrome laid on chalk ground and gilding laid on poliment ground prove the professional character of the work. Formally, the sculptures depicting theatrical gestures and lavish decoration seem to represent the art of Baroque. Only few of the figures were made of stone. Moreover, some special features of folk sculptures could be noticed – figures were clothed with a fabric dress resembling votive garment, adorned with a metal crown or a paper halo surrounding the saint's head.
Pieta, XVIII/XIX w., Marczów, okolice Lwówka Śląskiego Dolny Śląsk
Characteristic carvings and cuts with nail and hook holes show that the majority of sculptures come from local side road chapels – apparently they were torn off their proper display sites. Being this the reason, the collection should be perceived and analysed in the context of the folk sculpture as such. Numerous examples of Lower Silesian folk sculpture are well preserved in the fields, usually in the form of stone side road figures, crosses and the columns dedicated to Virgin Mary.