Local students to create copy of lost XVI century altarpiece

A model of a sixteenth century altarpiece is to be created in Pruszcz Gdansk thanks to the efforts of pupils from a local secondary or high school.

Students from the Pruszcz Gdanski Catholic Private High School, working together with a professional photographer, will create a series of images of the famous Antwerp altarpiece from the Exaltation of the High Cross church in the town. The altarpiece has stood in the National Museum depository in Warsaw for many years.

The photos will be used to create a life-size reproduction of this unique antique which will then be placed on display at the Pruszcz Gdansk Cultural and Sport Centre. 

“The idea of creating a life-size reproduction was born two ago, when three ladies, Zofia Franciszkiewicz, Małgorzata Czarnecka Szafrańska and Dobrawa Morzyńska, renewed efforts to restore the piece to the city” recalled Pruszcz Gdansk mayor Janusz Wrobel. “The fight to restore the altarpiece is still ongoing and getting agreement to take the photographs was also a difficult process”.

“The Management Board of the National Museum in Warsaw would not agree to pictures, arguing that it needed months of restoration, that it could not be exposed (to light) and because of the danger of it being damaged” said one of the ladies involved, Małgorzata Czarnecka Szafrańska. “Now we have permission and so we’re quickly going to go in case something changes. Nobody has ever made a thorough photographic record of the piece. This will be the first”.

The Pruszcz altarpiece, which was moved to the National Museum at the end of the war, is one of the most impressive pieces of Dutch art in Poland. Dating to 1515, the work is credited to the workshop of Colijn de Coter, a master working in Brussels at the turn of the XV and XVI centuries. After 1578 the piece came to the church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Pruszcz Gdansk.

Bartosz Gondek, spokesperson for the mayor of Pruszcz Gdansk.