Medieval Art, Architecture and Archaeology in Cracow and Lesser Poland (BOK)
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The papers in this volume, which were presented in 2011, at the first conference the British Archaeological Association held in Poland, explore the medieval art, architecture and archaeology of the city of Cracow and the surrounding region of Lesser Poland, as well as venturing into southern Silesia and the Baltic coast of the country. The contributors study a wide range of subjects, from the Italian influences on Polish Romanesque architecture and the originality of Cracow's Romanesque churches to the impact of astronomical treatises on ecclesiastical sculpture and patronage. The cultural influence of the Cistercians is considered in four papers that highlight the contribution of the abbeys in Lesser Poland to the study of Cistercian monasticism and architecture, and the life of the Order. The fascinating topics of patronage, ceremony and power politics are studied in papers that explore foundations connected to Casimir the Great, the most celebrated of the Polish kings, and Zbigniew Olesnicki, one of the most prolific episcopal patrons of the era. The volume highlights the role of Cracow and Lesser Poland as a vibrant artistic centre fostering links with Italy, Bohemia, Germany and France, but also touches on the cultural significance of two other important Hanseatic cities of medieval Poland - Wroclaw and Gdansk. The contributors embrace a wide selection of media and approaches, from church architecture and monastic archaeology to sculpture, micro-architecture, manuscripts, and even medieval clocks. The papers raise issues not only of style, iconography, ceremony and patronage, but also of politics, economy, law, philosophy and theology, as well as horology, trade and shipbuilding. This collection, which brings together the work of British, Polish, French, German and Italian scholars on this artistically important yet little-studied region of medieval Europe, will be of lasting value to scholarship.