The first Polish volume in the international Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi series presents medieval stained glass of St Mary’s Church in Cracow, a building that counts among the most important city churches in Central Europe. The windows, executed at the close of the reign of Casimir the Great and the beginning of the Jagiellonian rule, form the largest surviving medieval stained-glass scheme in Poland. Only one-sixth of the enormous scheme, originally counting over six hundred panels, survives. The stained-glass panels, which originally filled eleven windows in the chancel, are now gathered in the three apse windows. Research for this volume has enabled to recreate the initial arrangement of the panels; the iconographic programme of the scheme has undergone a contextual analysis, while its formal analysis has revealed stylistic diversity of the glass.
The volume is a result of scholarly collaboration between Lech Kalinowski and Helena Małkiewiczówna, who formulated the main theses on the stained glass of St Mary’s Church in the 1990s. In 2011–2013 these results were modified, further developed and put in writing by Helena Małkiewiczówna, assisted by Dobrosława Horzela. The volume opens with a general introduction by Marek Walczak, which is aimed at presenting the main subject of the book within the context of the city’s broadly understood fourteenth-century material culture.
The publication of the first Polish volume in the Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi series, presenting the stained glass of Cracow’s most important parish church, was made possible mainly thanks to the generous financial support of the City of Cracow and of the Assumption of the Virgin Parish in Cracow, as well as of the Union Académique Internationale.
"The importance of the present monograph consists, above all, in introducing into scholarly circulation a large scheme of fourteenth-century stained glass associated with Cracow, which had been inaccessible for researchers. It could be even said that researchers were fully unaware of their existence. […] It will be no exaggeration to say that the publication of the results of research on the stained glass scheme in St Mary’s Church fills in one of the most serious blank spaces in Polish art history" (from a review by Prof. Adam Labuda).