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Tomasz SzybistyPedagogical University, Kraków


The stained glass designs by Józef Mehoffer and Stanisław Wyspiański for the western window of St. Mary’s Church in Kraków have been the subject of extensive research. However, the question of the authorship of individual panels has not been answered yet. On the basis of a remark made by Wyspiański in a letter to his uncle Stankiewicz it can be stated with certainty that the whole left (southern) half of the window was based on Wyspiański’s concept. Wyspiański was also the author of the designs for the panels in the tracery.

Apart from the answering the attribution questions, the articles discusses also the circumstances in which the designs and the glazings for the western windows were made in the context of the major renovation St. Mary’s Church was undergoing in the late 19th century. It also discusses the ideological and artistic questions connected with this set of designs, including the allusions to Veit Stoss sculpture and French art.

keywords: stained glass, sacred art, St. Mary’s Church, Kraków, Stanisław Wyspiański, Józef Mehoffer


The stained glass designs by Józef Mehoffer and Stanisław Wyspiański for the western window of St Mary’s Church in Kraków were on numerous occasions subjects of study, most recently by Danuta Czapczyńska-Kleszczyńska and Wojciech Bałus, who in their works have discussed in detail their origins and the artistic themes of these works.[1] However, the key question of the authorship of individual panels has remained unsolved. Answering this question is one of the main purposes of this article.

The origins of the cycle depicting Mary’s ancestors and the scenes from her life [fig. 1] were connected with the major renovation works begun in St Mary’s Church in the late 1880s.[2] The new stained glass in the chancel and nave windows were going to complete the painted interior decorations designed by Jan Matejko. The artist allegedly dreamed then “about completing it with the coloured windows”[3] and certainly intended to design them himself, especially as he had at that time already wide experience in using coloured glass in medieval interiors (the stained glass window with St Leonard for the Wawel crypt, the designs for the churches in Przemyśl and Prague; in the 1880s he also participated in the discussion about putting the stained glass back into the windows of the Wawel Royal Castle Cathedral).[4] During one of the meetings of the renovation committee it was actually said that Matejko was going to design the coloured glass in the tracery of the western window.[5] Eventually, the painter made for St Mary’s Church only a preliminary sketch of the stained glass sponsored by Ignacy Milewski for one of the windows near the main altar (sIII);[6] the designs of the remaining panels in the chancel and the nave were made by Mehoffer and Wyspiański, who successively submitted them to Matejko for his approval.

The young artists designed the concept of the following glass panels: the memorial panel for Fr. Julian Bukowski (designed by J. Mehoffer, 1890, made by Teodor Zajdzikowski workshop, 1890, window SVIII); unrealized cycles Virtues and Vices (designed by S. Wyspiański, 1890–1891, for the window nIII)[7] and The Psalm on God’s Mercy (designed by J. Mehoffer, 1890–1891, for the window sIII);[8] the panels with the coats of arms belonging to the donors of new glass (the panels were made in early 1891 in the Zajdzikowski workshop – Mehoffer designed panels for the windows nIV–nVI, while Wyspiański designed sIV–sV); at the same time the so-called The Debt of Gratitude was made, that is a set of stained glass panels commemorating persons particularly engaged in the renovation (designed by S. Wyspiański, 1891, made by T. Zajdzikowski workshop, 1891, the panel depicting the Virgin Mary at the bottom of the group was made on the basis of the design by J. Mehoffer intended for The Psalm on God’s Mercy[9]).


At the same time the concept of the glass in the western window was put forward. They date back to 1890. On November 5 Stryjeński informed the Parish Committee that Fr. Bukowski wanted to fund the window over the musical choir. It was planned then to be made of “bottle glass, and the tracery glass will be coloured according to Matejko’s drawing”.[10] These plans were changed, however, and the task of the design was given over to Wyspiański and Mehoffer. It was executed by Teodor Zajdzikowski workshop. The panels have not been well-preserved, with serious damage mostly to the contour drawings.

The western window, “formerly ungainly and unadorned, during the nave renovation was elongated and ornamented with stone tracery and a rich rose window at the top”.[11] The new stonework of the window, made by Władysław Chrośnikiewicz, was unveiled in mid-April 1891.[12] Probably only then the discussion over the glazing details started. It was agreed that 36 window panels were going to be filled with stained glass depicting the biblical ancestors of the Virgin Mary and scenes from her life, and one panel would commemorate Fr. Bukowski. Mehoffer and Wyspiański, who were staying at that time in Paris, worked on the cartoons since June 1891. The fee for the complete design was 400 florins.[13]

The correspondence of both artists contains numerous remarks about the work on the stained glass for the western window. In May 1891 Wyspiański asked Kazimierz Brudzewski to give to Tadeusz Stryjeński the patterns left in Kraków and buy paper necessary for drawing cartoons.[14] They reached Paris in early June. Stryjeński asked then the artists to send him successive projects.[15] In the letters written in summer 1891 the subject of windows panels for St Mary’s Church is raised on numerous occasions. For instance, on July 10 Wyspiański informed Karol Maszkowski: “We are drawing stained glass relentlessly – our small and cramped room is completely decorated with them – the ceiling and the walls look as if they were taken from St Wenceslaus Chapel – in Prague, they are so coloured with these drawings”.[16] One week later he wrote about finishing half of the window and his intention to send projects to Stryjeński,[17] who however still had to ask for them in late July. Because of the hurried work the artists would send to Kraków incomplete cartoons, which probably resulted in difficulties when copying the designs onto glass – hence Stryjeński’s request: “Please mark the robes with bigger one-colour fields”.[18] The last cartoons reached Kraków in early October.[19] The glass was set in the window in instalments starting from late 1891. The whole window was completed probably a few months later.[20] The set of cartoons for the scenes portraying The Life of Virgin Mary went to the National Museum in Kraków.[21] The Silesian Museum in Katowice owns a project for one of the panels signed by Mehoffer.[22]

Although the stained glass in the western window was a joint work, Wyspiański seems to have had more influence over its final appearance. We know that the artist drew a general sketch,[23] on the basis of which the cartoons for individuals panels were prepared. When it comes to the authorship of individual panels, one should mention the hitherto overlooked remark of Wyspiański in one of his letters to his aunt and uncle Stankiewicz, where he wrote explicitly that “the whole left side (half)” is his.[24] He was also the author of the design for glazing in the tracery.[25]

The western window of St Mary’s Church has a pointed arch. The regular stone mullions divide it into six lights, each of them containing six panels, which results in the total of 36 fields. Two fifths of the window’s height is taken by the elaborate tracery with the central four-leaf circular rosette.

The panels in the western window can be divided into four groups on the basis of their subjects and formal features. The first group consists of the fields b–e on the levels 3–6. They portray the scenes from Virgin Mary’s life and all of them were composed according to the same scheme: the biblical scene is in a rectangular field, framed on both sides with two columns with fanciful bases and capitals decorated with floral and zoomorphic motifs, and in the Crucifixion scene the symbols of the four Evangelists. The shafts of the columns are covered thickly with ornamental decorations, and sometimes they have ornamental ribbons tied around their mid-length. The scenes follow the biblical chronology in rows starting from the top. The cycle opens with The Annunciation to Joachim, followed by: The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple, The Marriage of Virgin Mary and Joseph, Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Adoration of the Magi, The Angel Urges Joseph to Flee to Egypt, Flight to Egypt [fig. 2], Christ Among the Doctors, The Miracle of Cana, Crucifixion, Deposition [fig. 3], The Pentecost and Dormition.

The subject of the next set of panels is renovation works conducted in St Mary’s Church in times of Matejko. Formally they are connected by two characteristic stripes with floral decorations (leaves in triangular fields) along the longer edges. The first of these panels portrays the Canon Bukowski kneeling in front of the Gothic arcade opening to an undefined interior [fig. 4]. The clergyman, wearing a cassock, is shown in profile, with his hands clasped in prayer. He can be identified also by his crest imposed on the left stripe of the border. His legs are covered with a rectangular plaque with already slightly blurred inscription: A[D] HON[OREM] B[EATAE] MAR[IAE] V[IRGINIS] EC[CLESIA] A[NNO] D[OMINI] MDCCCIXC CAN[ONICI] BUKOWSKI JULIANI SUMPT[IBUS] VITR[IBUS] ORNA[TA]. The second of the panels in this set (field 2d) depicts the top of the central façade of the church and the taller tower. In the bottom left corner of the panel is visible a plaque with the inscription (now almost unintelligible): “Made according to the ideas and the cartoons by St. Wyspiański and J. Mehoffer in Teodor Zajdzikowski workshop AD 1891 under the artistic supervision of Tadeusz Stryjeński”.[26]

The third group consists of six panels with the depictions of the prophets portrayed in the fusiform surrounds against blue background. Behind the surrounds one can see partly covered border stripes, the same as in the panels of the previous set. The prophets were portrayed full-length, wearing loose robes. They can be identified thanks to the inscriptions: Zechariah (2b), Jonah (1b), Jeremiah (1c), or the attributes accompanying them: Elijah was portrayed in his chariot of fire (2e) [fig. 5], Jonah with the fish (1b), and Daniel among lions (1d). Only the prophet in the field 1e is not identified clearly, although one could suppose that because of the building visible behind his back he could be Isaiah.

The last set consists of panels portraying Virgin Mary’s ancestors, located in the outermost fields of the window. Their composition is based on the same scheme. Each panel contains a compartment in shape of a standing rectangle widened by semi-circular fields (two on each of the longer edges and one on the horizontal edge), edged with the palmette border. The surface outside the compartment is filled with ornamental motifs – small yellow-orange rosettes in the corners, and floral motifs in blue glass on the sides. In each compartment are portrayed two ancestors of Mary. They are depicted half-length, placed on succulent green stems growing out from Jesse’s body, portrayed at the bottom of the field 1a [fig. 6]. For the most part they are mature men, shown in three-quarter profile or frontal. One of them wears an armour and holds a sword in his hand, a few are depicted wearing crowns indicating their royal status, but except for the image of David playing the harp in Jesse’s panel, they cannot be identified beyond all doubt. It is noticeable that the artist’s aim was to give a psychological characteristic of the portrayed characters through skilfully varied facial expressions and gestures. In each case the robes of the figures differ as well, being sometimes quite modest and one-coloured, in other cases with complicated fold compositions, ornamental decorations (with recurring pomegranate motif) and costly accessories.

In the main fields of the tracery, forming the four-leaf rosette, Wyspiański depicted The Coronation of Mary. The Virgin Mary was portrayed with her robes blowing in the wind and her hands clasped in the bottom leaf of the rosette; above Mary, in the central field is placed the crown of the Queen of Heaven and Earth, and in the side fields are depicted Christ and God the Father, wearing royal robes and ample capes, with hems picturesquely turned up. Above the crown, against the top of the Gothic canopy visible in the background, soars the dove of the Holy Spirit. The remaining tracery fields were filled with floral decorations, with only one colour of glass used in each of them.

In a brief note on the window which appeared in “Czas” it was mentioned that “the harsh and gaudy colours, particularly purples and reds, in the upper part, are quite offensive; it is caused not so much by the use of wrong kind of glass or wrong colours, but by the betrayal of the mosaic systems. Large one-coloured expanses next to the rosette have something crude about them and being placed next to the mosaic panes they offend like coarseness in an elegant company”. However, the work of Wyspiański, Mehoffer and Zajdzikowski was received very warmly.[27]

Despite the fact that the stained glass in the western window was the work of two artists, the panels do not differ stylistically and create a unified whole. It was probably owing to the one general sketch which was the basis for the whole work as well as the close relationship of both artists, who were then sharing an apartment in Paris. The differences are not noticeable, even in the cartoons.

The division of the window into the rows of panels was obviously an attempt to create a counterpoint to the medieval stained glass in the windows in the wall closing the choir. However, the scenes whose details cannot be perceived from the inside of the church were meant to harmonize with the new painting decoration of the walls without clashing with it “since the small coloured pieces of glass framed with lead do not suggest independent pictorial compositions, which would stifle with their glow the interior painting, but they are so skilfully put together that they create a tone whose details disappear in the general impression of colourful decoration”.[28]

The fundamental point of reference for the general concept of the stained glass in the western window and some of its elements was – according to Wojciech Bałus – St Mary’s Altar. It also contains the scenes from the Virgin’s life and the depiction of Jesse’s tree, while the top scene is The Coronation of Mary. Yet the Gothic pentaptych inspired Wyspiański not only in terms of general composition. The young artist could be said to borrow also some details as the portrayal of Mary and the open-work canopy behind the dove of the Holy Spirit in the Coronation scene are clearly reminiscent of the top of the Stoss altar. When it comes to the style of individual scenes and figures (“stockily and strongly-built bodies”), it refers largely to, in Bałus’ opinion, the north-European art of the turn of the 16th century. He also indicates as a possible source of inspiration for the columns framing the panels the portraits of Kraków bishops from the cloisters of the Franciscan monastery and the miniatures from The Codex of Baltazar Behem. He points as well to the studies on Albrecht Dürer’s graphics conducted by the young artists yet before they left for Paris.[29] It should be also noted that the motif of the columns framing the scenes depicted in the stained glass windows is almost an indispensable element of the iconography of the particular kind of modern stained glass – so-called Swiss glass [Schweizer Kabinettscheiben], produced since the end of the Middle Ages in German-speaking countries, mostly in Switzerland. This very stained glass was in the collection of Jan Matejko, with whom Wyspiański and Mehoffer consulted their projects.[30]

Although the iconography of individual panels – particularly the scenes from Mary’s life – is to a large degree an independent work of the young painters, the solutions proposed by them were not lacking the iconographic context. Setting the figures on the leaf-like shoots similar to flowers could be considered to be – apart from the direct allusions to Matejko’s wall paintings and indirect ones to the art works inspiring them[31] – also the sign of being acquainted with the late Gothic stained glass of the church in Immenhausen[32] and the cathedral in Ulm.

The young artists were also inspired by the decoration of French cathedrals. When writing to Maszkowski about the progress of the work on the cartoons Wyspiański described the room he was sharing then with Mehoffer: “in the long rows over the mantelpiece we hung the photographs of wonderful Italian and French cathedrals – the colourful sketch of the window is opposite the window”.[33] The sculptural decoration of Gothic cathedrals seen during his first travel to France in 1890 is known to have inspired Wyspiański in his work on Virtues and Vices. Apart from the depictions of The Wise and Foolish Virgins, which appeared in this project, eventually unrealized, the artist admired at that time also The Tree of Jesse in Amiens. He wrote about it to Rydel: “The tree of Jesse – he himself is asleep (his figure appears twice) – and over him grow upwards crowned figures sitting in the branches, each of them holding a musical instrument or a ribbon – (it must have been the same with Veit Stoss – one can see it because of the strange and inexplicable otherwise gestures of these small figures in the predella – go and have a good look! – how this altarpiece reached us! I would like to have seen it before the renovation) – the lawgivers and archpriests and commanders – starting from Moses”.[34] Wyspiański might have borrowed also other ideas for composition from the sculptural decoration of the French cathedrals, such as the portrayal of the cat stretching itself at Mary’s feet in the Annunciation panel – during his stay in Amiens he noticed the picture of the devil seated on the console on which the figure of Archangel Gabriel was placed in the scene of Annunciation: “Under this angel with a white lily… a devil is grinning, a wizened figure with cat’s face; he is smiling, rubbing his hands on his legs – he is literally squirming with joy: he doesn’t know yet what is going to happen and he doesn’t quite believe it – he is licking his lips in a furtive anticipation if it should really work out”.[35] We should also note that the extended cycle Mary’s Ancestors can be perceived as a kind of substitute for the iconographic programme of the royal gallery in French cathedrals. About one of them – the one in Reims – Wyspiański wrote: “the gallery of the kings of Judah – the central field in the pediment contains the baptism of Clovis, so these are historical figures – only on the sides there are these legendary kings, crowned and sceptred, with their monarchs’ mantles and long beards”.[36] In the pictures of biblical kings placed on the façades of Gothic churches Wyspiański found the portraits of the kings of France: “how could a medieval sculptor working on 22 kings keep the kings of Judah on his mind, about whom he knew little, when it came to creating characteristic figures, if he was an artist who wanted to create such figures – but he knew the history of France well and he knew full well the types of French monarchs. – Indeed, when looking at them one is under impression that the artist supplemented his imagination in this way”.[37] If the programme of the sculptural decorations in French cathedrals influenced the iconography of the Kraków stained glass, one could hardly find it surprising that the characteristic gesture of the monarch’s hands put under his belt depicted in the field 4f (designed by Mehoffer) is reminiscent of the posture of Jan Olbracht in Matejko’s cycle of portraits of Polish kings (their headgear is quite similar too). [fig. 7].

Taking into account the stylization of the figures and the range of the employed decorative motifs, the western window should be considered a historicized work but not an “archaeological” one. The method of glass composition used in it was very different from what was recommended by the purists of Viollet-le-Duc school, who set the tone in Kraków yet a few years earlier. It involved “entering” the late medieval iconosphere and the mode of thinking of old artists, while retaining a relatively full artistic freedom. In a review of the exhibition during which the cartoons for the western window were presented, Konstanty Górski even criticised directly the doctrines of the author of Dictionnaire raisonné de l’architecture française, calling them „[dead imitation] which usually notices only negative sides and considers its main feature to be the lack of draughtsmanship”.[38] Thus, we can see here a change similar to the ones taking places at that time in the understanding of historicism in architecture. Not to look for remote examples, one could quote here the example of the works by Teodor Talowski, whose projects – as Wojciech Bałus proves – did not allude to a particular historical style directly, but rather suggested some kind of connection with it – „in the flood of neostylistic buildings of the mature historicism, ‘tautologically’ and ‘naturalistically’ interpreting the past, there appears an ‘analogous’, ‘variational’ interpretation, basing on history and yet full of subjectivity and latitude”.[39]

This move away is visible also in emphasizing more strongly than before the purely artistic value of the stained glass. „These splendid coloured rose windows” – wrote Wyspiański to Lucjan Rydel from Chartres – “seem from afar to be sometimes bouquets brimming with colours and brightness, then Eastern fabric with delicate patterns, and then whole windows, that is big sheets are dominated with any one colour – kept in one tone they can represent and imitate the elements – e.g. some dark-green gives you the sense of sea depths… there you see dark blue, remote one, similar to a fair summer night – sparkled with yellow lights of the stars forming Zodiac signs. […] I was sitting for a long time under this huge rose window in the central façade, looking at its magnificent colours – how the sun was looking at itself in it, then I was looking around the church and down its long depth to the remote apse whose oblong, narrow windows, their light and pale tones – grew indistinct with undefined colours and shimmered with light”.[40] An artistic trace of such a reception of the stained glass, although from a slightly later period than the quote above is an impressionistic study of the interior of the Parisian Saint-Etienne church made by Wyspiański in 1893.[41] The painting depicts a fragment of the ambulatory. Its main colour accent are two large stained-glass windows. The artist, however, is not interested in their subject which is unrecognisable in the picture, but only the colour harmonies of the glass, both within individual panels and the whole glazing, and the light effects caused by them, that is the first, most general stage of the perception of the stained glass. Mehoffer was also evolving in the similar direction at that time; after his visit to Saint Denis he said: “The interior impressed me greatly – I didn’t know then that the stained glass was new – I didn’t consider it – they are v. beautiful, and through them a flood of coloured light flows from right to left – and it gilds – colours the opposite wall – it throws spots of colour onto the rib vaults next to it, clearly defined, bright, themselves radiant – and then grisaille at the bottom. It is a wonderful thing – ever changing – it’s an effective tool of light, the same one burns with fire to the right and is only greyish-green-blue light on the other side, as if it were made of seawater”.[42] Significantly enough, Mehoffer states explicitly that his perception of the stained glass is focused mostly on its aesthetic values, not the stylistic correctness, to which he simply pays no attention. In France Mehoffer also comes to believe that the essence of stained glass is colour distribution and not drawing, which is sometimes, as he notices, even in perfect stained glass “hurried and rough”.[43] He is also amazed by the possibility of toning glass colours which he noticed in the glazing of the Saint-Ouen church in Rouen. He wrote then: “The windows here are more carefully executed than in St Mary’s Church, with gilding (which does not exist there) and what follows, the details are more delicate – which is necessary – since the windows are much lower, the colours are light – in large parts they have toned shading – not black lines like there”.[44] His attention was attracted, which is worth noting, not only by medieval stained glass, but also 16th-century one, containing multiple figures, much more narrative and composed without regard for the clear divisions among the individual lights and panels, and in this way closer to the latest trends in French stained glass.[45] A sign of this fascination are his watercolour notes made in the Saint-Godard church in Rouen.[46]

Also Tadeusz Stryjeński, supervising (together with Matejko) the work of the young artists, was far from the orthodxy in Viollet-le-Duc mode. In his correspondence there is no mention of old art patterns, or the need for their faithful, or even slavish imitation, but instead he writes about the issue of colour composition. It explains probably why he did not consider seriously the idea of even correcting the designs for the western window sent from Paris, as he made it clear in one of his letters.[47] In another letter he noticed: “The window for St Mary’s looks better every day, but the rosette is too dark for the glazing, and there is too generally too much blue glass, you didn’t follow closely enough the sketch where there was far more yellow” – and he added in the context of Virtues and Vices and The Psalm on God’s Mercy intended for the chancel (the idea had not been abandoned then yet) – “in a word, the windows next to the altar are out of the question until you see with your own eyes the choir window so that you realize what is missing”.[48]

Wyspiański’s and Mehoffer’s shift in the perception of stained glass, caused by the old glazing and contact with contemporary art currents during their stay in Paris, was not clearly visible in their work until the projects for the Lviv cathedral. In them one can clearly notice a move away from the historicizing, static compositional scheme subject to the window divisions as well as – partly dictated by the subject of these works – shift towards narrative painting (more visible in Mehoffer’s project) and more intense symbolic message and expressive use of colour. Wyspiański, aware of this change, when thinking upon the concept for the Lviv stained glass, noted down in 1892: “after a long break I am taking out Stryjeński’s window from the corner and starting to paint. – how long ago it was. – how remote I am from the way of thinking I put in there”.[49] The Virgin Mary cycle in the western window of St Mary’s Church undoubtedly still belongs to that “long ago”, and in the context of artistic biographies of both Wyspiański and Mehoffer, it could be considered to be a way of summing up their first, clearly historicizing phase of stained glass design.


Translated by Monika Mazurek

[1] D. Czapczyńska, Teodor Zajdzikowski, in: “Witraż”, 2001, no. 2, pp. 30–32; D. Czapczyńska-Kleszczyńska, Teodor Zajdzikowski (1840–1907). Pionier krakowskich witrażowników, in: “Rocznik Krakowski” 69, 2003, pp. 151–170; eadem, Nie tylko Wyspiański i Mehoffer, a lecture in the Kraków Historical Society, 29 March 2008, MS owned by the author; eadem, Witraże Stanisława Wyspiańskiego i ich wykonawcy, a lecture in the National Museum in Kraków, 18 March 2009, MS owned by the author; eadem, Rola kobiet w odrodzeniu polskiego witrażownictwa, a lecture organized by the Kraków chapter of the Art Historians Society, 22 April 2009, MS owned by the author; eadem, O witrażach z końca XIX wieku w dwóch gotyckich kościołach w Krakowie, in: Witraże w obiektach zabytkowych. Między konserwacją a sztuką współczesną, ed. J. Budyn-Kamykowska, Kraków–Malbork 2009, pp. 144–155 (a paper delivered in 2005); W. Bałus, Sztuka sakralna Krakowa w wieku XIX, part 2, Matejko i Wyspiański, Kraków 2007 (=Ars Vetus et Nova, 26), pp. 59–70 (chapter “Pierwsze witraże Wyspiańskiego i Mehoffera”). The listed publications contain further readings on this subject, see also: D. Czapczyńska-Kleszczyńska, Zapomniani twórcy. Stan badań nad polskim witrażownictwem (druga połowa wieku XIX – rok 1945), in: „Sacrum et Decorum. Materiały i studia z historii sztuki sakralnej” 1, 2008, pp. 94–123.

[2] These works have been discussed on numerous occasions, most recently by Wojciech Bałus: Bałus 2007 (ft. 2), pp. 13–70, see for further readings on this subject.

[3] Quoted after: Bałus 2007 (ft. 2), p. 59.

[4] B. Ciciora, Jan Matejko a średniowiecze. Zainteresowania – inspiracje – realizacje, Kraków 2009, Ph.D. dissertation written under the supervision of Prof. Wojciech Bałus at the Institute of the History of Art at the Jagiellonian University, pp. 164–179; see also: eadem, Problemy warsztatowe twórców pierwszych krakowskich witraży na przykładzie prac Jana Matejki, in: „Zabytkoznawstwo i konserwatorstwo” 36 (=Acta Universitatis Nicolai Copernici, 386), 2008, pp. 27–41.

[5] The Archive of St Mary’s Church in Kraków (further referred to as: AKM), Book 720, The protocol from the meeting of 5 Nov 1890.

[6] A. Ryszkiewicz, Galeria obrazów Ignacego Korwin Milewskiego, in: idem, Zbieracze i obrazy, Warszawa 1972, pp. 98–99. Windows and individual panels are tagged in this part of the article in accordance with the international system used by Corpus Vitrearum. Shortly speaking, „I” refers to the central window in the chancel’s apse, while the Roman numerals refer to the consecutive pairs of windows towards the façade and therefore located usually in the consecutive bays of the church. The letters „n” and „s” mark the northern and the southern window of one pair and apply only to the windows in the perimeter walls; the capital letters „N” and „S” are used to mark the windows within the walls of the central nave (in case of basilica floor plans).

[7] The project is in the holdings of the National Museum in Kraków (further referred to as MNK), inv. no. III-r.a. 14295.

[8] MNK, inv. no. 81132.

[9] This panel may have been made as a replacement of the rejected design by Wyspiański. It should be noted that the Jagiellonian University Museum (inv. no. 2657) owns a project of the stained glass panel of St George fighting the dragon, commonly attributed to Wyspiański. The similarity of some elements to the solutions used in the panels of The Debt of Gratitude suggests it could be that unrealized project by Wyspiański. Wojciech Bałus, however, does not agree with this attribution, pointing to the low artistic qualities of the project (in the review of the doctoral dissertation on which this article is based). However, perhaps it was precisely why the design was rejected in 1891. I would like to express my thanks to Mrs Danuta Czapczyńska-Kleszczyńska for pointing out this project to me.

[10] AKM, Book 720, The protocol from the meeting of 5 Nov. 1890.

[11] Kronika, in: “Czas”, 1892, no. 80 (7 April), p. 2. The first project of the windows stonework with the decorative tracery reminiscent of flamboyant Gothic was designed by Jan Matejko, but, for unknown reasons, it was a much simpler version by an anonymous author that was finally executed – cf.: Ciciora 2009 (ft. 5), pp. 180–181.

[12] Kronika, in: “Czas”, 1891, no. 86 (16 April), p. 3.

[13] A letter from Tadeusz Stryjeński to Józef Mehoffer and Stanisław Wyspiański, written in Kraków on 29 May 1891, quoted after: L. Lameński, Korespondencja Tadeusza Stryjeńskiego z Józefem Mehofferem w latach 1891–1900, in: „Roczniki Humanistyczne” 27, 1979, p. 82.

[14] A letter from Stanisław Wyspiański to Kazimierz Brudzewski, written in Salzburg on 14 May 1891, quoted after: S. Wyspiański, Listy zebrane, vol. 4, Listy Stanisława Wyspiańskiego różne – do wielu adresatów, ed. M. Rydlowa, Kraków 1998, pp. 96–97.

[15] A letter from Tadeusz Stryjeński to Józef Mehoffer and Stanisław Wyspiański, written in Kraków on 3 June 1891, quoted after: Lameński 1979 (ft. 14), p. 82.

[16] A letter from Stanisław Wyspiański to Karol Maszkowski, written in Paris on 10 July 1891, quoted after: S. Wyspiański, Listy zebrane, vol. 3, Listy do Karola Maszkowskiego, ed. M. Rydlowa, Kraków 1997, p. 63.

[17] A letter from Stanisław Wyspiański to Karol Maszkowski, written in Paris on 17 July 1891, quoted after: Wyspiański 1997 (ft. 17), p. 68.

[18] A letter from Tadeusz Stryjeński to Józef Mehoffer and Stanisław Wyspiański, written in Kraków on 29 Sep 1891, quoted after: Lameński 1979 (ft. 14), p. 85. The cartoons sent to Kraków had to be filled out, as the following question in a letter from Wyspiański to his aunt and uncle Stankiewicz: “is the figure of Jeremiah already coloured?” – in a letter from Paris, dated 31 Aug 1891, quoted after: Wyspiański 1998 (ft. 15), p. 39.

[19] A letter from Tadeusz Stryjeński to Józef Mehoffer and Stanisław Wyspiańskie, written in Kraków on 4 Oct 1891, quoted after: Lameński 1979 (ft. 14), p. 86.

[20] Kronika, in: “Czas”, 1892, no. 80 (7 April), p. 2.

[21] The National Museum in Kraków, inv. no.: III-r.a. 4756: The Annunciation to Joachim, (erroneously identified in the museum index card as The Dream of Joseph), III-r.a. 4758: The Meeting at the Golden Gate, III-r.a. 4757: The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple, III-r.a. 4759: The Marriage of Virgin Mary and Joseph, III-r.a. 4760: Annunciation, III-r.a. 4762: Visitation, III-r.a. 4761: Nativity, III-r.a.-4763: Adoration of the Magi, III-r.a. 4764: The Angel Urges Joseph to Flee to Egypt, III-r.a. 4766: Flight to Egypt, III-r.a. 4765: Christ Among the Doctors, III-r.a. 4767: The Miracle of Cana, III-r.a. 4768: Crucifixion, MNK III-r.a. 4770: Deposition, III-r.a. 4769: The Pentecost, III-r.a. 4771: Dormition. The cartoons were presented by Tadeusz Stryjeński to the Museum yet before 1902 – see: Józef Mehoffer. Opus magnum, exhibition catalogue, The National Museum in Kraków, Kraków 2000, p. 96.

[22] The Silesian Museum in Katowice, Józef Mehoffer, The stained glass project for St Mary’s Church in Kraków, inv. no. MŚK/SzM/431, dimensions: 67,5 x 43,5 cm. The cartoon is a project of one of the panels portraying Virgin Mary’s ancestors. It was bought in 1929 in Franciszek Studziński antique shop.

[23] This sketch, presented in 1891 at the exhibition in the Cloth Hall, belonged later to Tadeusz Stryjeński. Its present whereabouts are unknown, although it certainly survived World War II, and Tadeusz Adamowicz mentioned its being found in 1967, without supplying any additional information, see: T. Adamowicz, Stanisława Wyspiańskiego „Cnoty i występki”, in: “Rocznik Historii Sztuki” 7, 1969, p. 244, ft. 11.

[24] A letter from Stanisław Wyspiański to his uncle and aunt Stankiewicz, written in Paris on 27 Nov 1891, quoted after: Wyspiański 1998 (ft. 15), pp. 53–54.

[25] In a letter to his mother, written in Paris on 12 December 1891, Mehoffer noted: “We received at the same time a postcard from Stryjeński, in which he wrote that the rosette of the great windows designed by S.W. is already set and looks superb” (The National Library in Warsaw, manuscript 7373, vol. 1, pp. 56–57; I would like to express my gratitude to Prof. Marek Zgórniak for providing me with excerpts from Mehoffer’s correspondence).

[26] T. Kruszyński, Witraż J. Mehoffera i S. Wyspiańskiego w fasadzie zachodniej kościoła Mariackiego w Krakowie, in: Sprawozdania z czynności i posiedzeń Polskiej Akademii Umiejętności za rok 1948, Kraków 1949, p. 475.

[27] Kronika, in: “Czas”, 1892, no. 80 (7 April), p. 2.

[28] Ibidem.

[29] Bałus 1997 (ft. 2), pp. 69–70.

[30] They are still in the holdings of Jan Matejko House.

[31] The potential iconographic sources for this idea in Matejko’s polychrome wall paintings were compiled by Wojciech Bałus. They include: The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (about 1411), Chronica Polonorum by Maciej Miechowita (1519) and the work of Viollet-le-Duc: the decoration of St Louis Chapel in the Parisian Notre-Dame, as well as the stained glass The Vineyard of the Apostles in the church Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois – Bałus 1997 (ft. 2), p. 37.

[32] One of the panels from Immenhausen was reproduced in the pattern book Ornamentale Glasmalereien, Berlin 1885, which was used in the Zajdzikowski workshop when designing the filling for the tracery of the Kraków church, cf.: Szybisty 2010 (ft. 1), p. 160.

[33] A letter from Stanisław Wyspiański to Karol Maszkowski, written in Paris on 10 July 1891, quoted after: Wyspiański 1997 (ft. 17), p. 63.

[34] A letter from Stanisław Wyspiański to Lucjan Rydel, written in Amiens on 18 June 1890, quoted after: S. Wyspiański, Listy zebrane, vol. 2, Listy do Lucjana Rydla, part 1, Listy i notatnik z podróży, eds. L. Płoszewski, M. Rydlowa, Kraków 1979, p. 102–103. The predella of the Stoss altar was partly reconstructed during the renovation in the 1860s, of which Wyspiański was aware.

[35] A letter from Stanisław Wyspiański to Lucjan Rydel, written in Amiens on 27 June 1890, quoted after: Wyspiański 1979 (ft. 35), p. 114.

[36] A letter from Stanisław Wyspiański to Lucjan Rydel, written in Reims on 3 July 1890, quoted after: Wyspiański 1979 (ft. 35), p. 134.

[37] A letter from Stanisław Wyspiański to Lucjan Rydel, written in Amiens on 18 June 1890, quoted after: Wyspiański 1979 (ft. 35), p. 99.

[38] K.G. [Konstanty Górski], Z wystawy obrazów, in: “Czas”, 1891, no. 281 (8 Dec), p. 3.

[39] W. Bałus, Historyzm, analogiczność, malowniczość. Rozważania o centralnych kategoriach twórczości Teodora Talowskiego, in: „Folia Historiae Artium” 24, 1988, p. 129.

[40] A letter from Stanisław Wyspiański to Lucjan Rydel, written in Reims on 7 July 1890, quoted after: Wyspiański 1979 (ft. 35), pp. 150–151.

[41] MNK, inv. no. III-r.a. 3618.

[42] J. Mehoffer, Dziennik, ed. J. Puciata-Pawłowska, Kraków 1975, p. 60 (entry of 27 Sep 1891).

[43] Ibidem, p. 139 (entry of 13 and 14 Aug 1892).

[44] Ibidem, p. 134 (entry of 9 Aug 1892).

[45] Jean Taralon divided the development of historicized stained glass in France into three phases. The last one, at the end of the century, featured evolved painterliness and narrativeness of the depicted scenes, often containing multiple figures, whose composition could be quite independent of the architectural divisions of the window opening, cf.: J. Taralon, De la Révolution à 1920, in: Le vitrail français, Paris 1958, pp. 273–283.

[46] They are included in the sketchbook no. 11, now owned by Ryszard Mehoffer; four of them were reproduced in: M. Smolińska-Byczuk, „Rękodzielnik witraży” – edukacja witrażownicza Józefa Mehoffera, in: “Witraż”, 2002, no. 2–3, pp. 47, 48, 50, 51.

[47] Impatiently waiting for the cartoons for the western window, Stryjeński wrote: “Really I don’t understand gentlemen you must be thinking you’re going to send us masterpieces. It would be appropriate to send us a few for showing and wait with further work for the letter. It could be that I would send everything back for correction – I’m writing in jest” – a letter from Tadeusz Stryjeński to Józef Mehoffer and Stanisław Wyspiański, written in Kraków on 24 July 1891, quoted after: Lameński 1979 (ft. 14), p. 92.

[48] A letter from Tadeusz Stryjeński to Józef Mehoffer and Stanisław Wyspiański, written in Kraków on 30 March 1892, quoted after: Lameński 1979 (ft. 14), p. 92.

[49] A letter from Stanisław Wyspiański to Józef Mehoffer, written in Paris on 23 Sep 1892, quoted after: S. Wyspiański, Listy zebrane, vol. 1, Listy do Józefa Mehoffera, Henryka Opieńskiego i Tadeusza Stryjenskiego, part 1, Listy, ed. M. Rydlowa, Kraków 1994, p. 59; about the shift in Wyspiański’s perception of stained glass at that time, cf.: Bałus 2007 (ft. 2), pp. 160–162.

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