Exhibition constitutes a component of the celebrations of the Holy Year 2004 at Compostela.
"The Transporting of the Body of Saint James the Great Before the Palace of Queen Lupa in Galicia," ca. 1480-1505Exhibition constitutes a component of the celebrations of the Holy Year 2004 at Compostela.
This exhibition of exceptional European artwork of the Medieval and modern eras is a consequence of a previous collaboration between SEACEX (the State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad) and the National Museum in Krakow on the exhibition Z GALICJI DO GALICJI... SZTUKA KRAKOWA I MALEJ POLSKI / FROM GALICIA TO GALICIA... ART OF KRAKOW AND LITTLE POLAND, which was organized in Santiago de Compostela, proving immensely popular there.
The current exhibition at the National Museum
in Krakow is thus a gesture of gratitude by the Spanish province of Galicia for the opportunity it was granted to learn about the art of the region of Poland known as Galicia. The project was ambitious to begin with, and the sheer volume of material forced the organizers to focus primarily on Medieval art and to assign a secondary role to art of the modern era.
The display consists of over one hundred pieces, including paintings, sculptures, handcrafted items and documents. These derive from dozens of illustrious museum, archival, library and church collections in Spain, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and Italy. The exhibition explores the phenomenon that is the cult of Saint James the Apostle and the pilgrimages that have been conducted since the 9th century to the sanctuary at Santiago de Compostela, where the remains of the Saint are purportedly stored. The cult is considered important as it is contemporarily thought to have contributed significantly to the integration of Europe and the shaping of European identity.
The exhibition is divided into six sections:
Part one, titled "Narodziny kultu" / "The Birth of a Cult," is devoted to the discovery around the year 830 by Bishop Teodomiro (d. 847) of a tomb in a distant northwestern corner of the Iberian Peninsula. The tomb came to be recognized as the final resting place of Saint James. This section of the display encompasses written records preceding the discovery of the gravesite and illustrates the dissemination of information about the discovery to areas on the other side of the Pyrenees.
Part two of the show, "Wzrost popularnosci kultu i rozwoj pielgrzymek do Santiago de Compostela" / "The Growth of the Cult's Popularity and the Development of Pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela," analyzes the spread of the cult of Saint James and of the movement of pilgrimages to his gravesite. It shows a phenomenon that with time, in the Christian world, gained a significance on par with that of pilgrimages to the Holy Land or Rome. The display also demonstrates how the movement was unable to avoid a crisis that grew out of the 16th century attacks of the Reformation on the foundations of the cult.
"Pielgrzymi: powracajacy podrozni" / "Pilgrims: Returning Travelers" is the third part of the exhibition and consists of pieces directly connected to pilgrims, including their clothing, water gourds and the shells they affixed to their belts. The display also depicts pilgrims' preparations for travel, their activities during their stay in Santiago de Compostela and their visits to the Sanctuary of the Apostle as illustrated in, among others, the early Renaissance painting of Spanish artist Martin Bernat. This part of the exhibition also includes examples of documents that granted rights to and protected pilgrims during their journey, as well as representations of famous pilgrims (e.g. the sculpture of Saint Bridget of Sweden, ca. 1400, or the painting of Charles V by Bernaert van der Stock, referred to as the Master of Mary Magdalene, ca. 1520-1522).
The fourth section of the exhibition, titled "Inni swieci i poboznosc podczas pielgrzymki do Santiago de Compostela" / "Other Saints and Piety during Pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela," reviews a fascinating set of religious practices and phenomena connected to pilgrimages to Santiago. Many of these practices are reflected in the "Przewodnik pielgrzyma" / "Pilgrim's Guide," that is, the fifth book of the Codex Calixtinus which is devoted among other things to "the bodies of saints laid to rest along the road to Santiago, so that pilgrims may visit them."
Part five of the exhibit is titled "Pielgrzymowanie do Santiago de Compostela i jego artystyczne przejawy" / "Pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela and Their Artistic Manifestations" and focuses on the way pilgrimages actually influenced art. It identifies art directly related to pilgrimages, referred to as "art on the road." This takes the form of iconography, i.e. a series of representations of Saint James. He appears as a pilgrim in a painting by Juan de Flandes (ca. 1465-1519), a Flemish painter brought to Spain in 1496 by Queen Isabella who worked for her until 1504 and subsequently created works for churches in Salamanca and Palencia, and in the paintings (dating from around 1630-1632) of José de Ribera, an artist fascinated with the work of Caravaggio. The Apostle James is also shown as a knight (conqueror of the Moors) in Pablo de San Leocadio's painting from around 1513-1518, which exhibits obvious influences of the Italian Renaissance. This part of the display also includes works that refer to legends and miracles associated with Saint James, as well as souvenirs of pilgrimages.Art not related directly to the cult of Saint James but occurring along the paths of pilgrimage and constituting testimony of artistic exchange is referred to as "art along the road." In the exhibition this is represented by examples of Spanish and French Romanesque sculpture among other works.
The sixth and final section of the exhibition is titled "Santiago, cel pielgrzymow: Sanktuarium i miasto" / Santiago, the Pilgrims' Goal: The Sanctuary and the City." This presents the stages of development of the "holy site," beginning from the third decade of the 9th century and extending to the 18th century. The display examines the architecture and decorations of additional churches built in the vicinity, and explores visions of the city's development during this period through plan drawings, perspective views and contemporarily produced models.