tomb dates from the period of grown up renaissance. It was made during years: 1572-1576
and is situated in presbytery in parish church in Drobin.
It''s treated by Stanislaw
Kryski, who was brother of Wojciech. Wojciech Kryski was a good friend of famous Polish
humanists, for example of Jan Kochanowski the writer. Kryski was very well educated in
many foreign universities. Because of studying in Bologna and in Padua he had a good
chance to get to know the Italian art. Between many splendid Polish humanists he was an
outstanding personality, and he is a hero of the story about ideal courtier written by
Lukasz Górnicki under title "Polish courtier". Wojciech was a diplomat and
politician, and the best proof of it is that in 1555 on the English Court he got the title
The impression of harmony in
Kryski's tomb is based on proportions, logically way of binding sculptures of people with
architecture and by proper choice of ornaments and decorations on all the surface of the
tomb, which is hammered into shape in the grey sandstone. It's composed from two parts:
sarcophagus in front of the tomb with sculpture of lying Wojciech Kryski on the down part
and in the back, upper there is the second part surrounded by double pilasters and with
entablature with triangle top. In the middle there are two semicircular niches with
sculptures of sitting people inside, looking like alive for the very first time in the
Polish tombstone. Between lying and two sitting persons there are visible connection of
feelings. Sitting persons, parents of dead Wojciech hangs their heads down looking at
their son, and putting theirs hands close to the hart they show their love and sorrow.
Putting lying figure of son in the down part makes impression, that this tombstone is a
kind of Polish Sacra Conversazione. The son is depicted as a young man, the courtier
resting on his left hand. The most interesting is the figure of mother. It was the very
first plastic sculpture of sitting woman in Polish renaissance art. It's full of hidden
expression and sorrow which is visible not only in face, but in gesture and it's so
suggestive, that spectator can feel that the figure will alive, stand up and descent to
her son lying under her feet.
What puts life to the tombstone
of Kryscy is that figures and ornaments are hammered into shape in the way making light
and shadow playing on its surface. Very important is, that there are not to many
decorative motives, but they are rich like floral motives, twigged plants and plates with
fruits on pilasters. Every vacant place on the tomb is used very wisely in agree with
conception and image of this foundation. The deep decorative accent is the commemorative
plaque on the plinth, which is surrounded by rolled ornament buckled on the top by head of
genius of death with wings and by material interlacing rollwerks. On lateral walls of the
plinth, two on each side, there are two oval cartouches with text about death written by
Moses, David, Homer and Seneka. The tombstone of Kryscy family is a great example of
Florentine school influences that were exerted on the Polish art. The analysis of each
motive: architectural, decorative and figural shoves pioneer role of this tombstone from
Drobin. The idea of architectural tomb is taken from Italian renaissance, but in changed
form, because of figures of sitting people in niches. The most popular scheme in Italian
tombs is the rectangle with niche with lying figure on the sarcophagus inside and with
arcades as a decorative motive. Sitting figures in the tombstone from Drobin are in Polish
tomb for the very first time. It's incredible that such occurrence happened exactly in
little town in north Poland, not in heart of Polish renaissance - Kraków, or Zamosc where
Italian influences on art had been something usual. How great personality was Wojciech
Kryski, because of bringing Italian news to north full of north influences and no others!
Surely influences flow from art
of Michelangelo. The founder of tomb from Drobin could bring influences from
Michelangelo's sculptures, or maybe Wojciech did. It's possible, that the artist who made
this tomb could have a book of Italian patterns or sketch-book with outlines of tombs and
sculptures drawn by Michelangelo. Maybe Wojciech had brought the sketch-book from Italy.
Following the example of this Italian artist is visible in Drobin, for example in putting
legs of figures on different levels. The idea of sitting sculptures in niches is taken
from work of Michelangelo from The New Sacristy in San Lorenzo. The new solution in
woman's figure is that in the upper part her dress is tight, but the folds of down part of
the dress don't hide her legs and they remind very much men's legs! Why is that so? It
shoves that Polish artist followed the example of legs of Moses from the tombstone of Pope
Julius the Second. If the Polish artist would take the inspiration from outlines of women
by Michelangelo the figure would take too much space in niche. Because of taking pattern
from figure of Moses the sculpture of woman in Drobin is suitable to the niche and her
dress doesn't take too much space. Her gesture takes inspiration from figure of Sybilla
from upper part of tombstone of Julius the Second by Michelangelo.
The idea of man's figure, Pawel,
the father of Wojciech shown as a knight with barb is probably taken from figure of Cosimo
Medici from The Medici Chapel in Florence based on project by Michelangelo. Binding new
elements like sitting figures taken from Italy with old Italian, converted in the Polish
way made the tombstone from Drobin a kind of paraphrase of upper part of tombstone
sacrificed to Julius the Second. This kind of composition where two figures sit and one
lyes, is the new solution in Italian art too. And this is the pattern used by the author
of the tombstone of Kryscy family in Drobin.
Looking at ornaments on Polish
tomb we can research, that "our" sculptor used some other inspirations.
Decorations are very similar to such motives in creation of Santi Gucci, the main artist
of Florentine mannerism. Surely he was the author of idea of using vase with three flowers
or floral ornament with three poppy-heads as an ornament and he had been using those
motives very often, when he was working in Poland. But this idea of decorations had to
come to Drobin from Italy, because in Polish masterpieces of Santi Gucci they appear later
than the tomb in Drobin was made.
Who was the author of tombstone
sacrificed to Kryscy family? He had to be a great artist because of using so revolutionary
solutions taken straight from Florence and gratted in Drobin. It's necessary to emphasize,
that it's incredible occurrence that in north Poland full of north inspirations in little
town something so great appeared! This shoves how outstanding personalities had the
sculptor and Wojciech Kryski who brought "Italian news" to Drobin where he lived
and died. This shoves, that he deserved to have such brilliant tomb reminding even today
him as a great Polish humanist.
It's not easy to find out, who
could be the author of tomb from Drobin. This masterpiece was made in '70 years of XVI
age. In those years the best Polish sculptors were Michalowicz, Canavesi and Santi Gucci,
but he came to Poland a little bit later. Jan Maria Padovano had his last period of
creative work then. The problem is that there are not many works of those artists, which
we can compare with this one, which is the subject of our searching. With no doubt we can
look for author between artists working in Kraków and in region around this town, because
there had been living artists from Italy, or educated there who knew very well Italian
renaissance art. It's possible that there were two authors. One made the architectural
conception and other made sculptures and ornaments. But for sure only one of them is an
author of the idea.
The tombstone from Drobin is
very rare example of following the conception of big Italian master in so straight way.
It's also not usual to use so great pattern and to convert it in so creative way.
Especially that this all happened in little town far away from range of big Italian art
influences. That's why the tombstone from Drobin is so outstanding .