Teaching Mary

St. Nicolas' parish in Gorenice
Catalogue note author
Justyna Kuska


The early baroque northern side altar, with the relief in question in its altar finial, was erected in the third quarter of the 17th century (before 1673) probably from the foundation of Krystyna Dembian (Dembińska), Karol Shembek's widow. Karol Szembek was one of the builders-funders of the temple in Gorenice. The creation of relief should also be dated at this time. The theme of Teaching Mary by St. Anne is not a biblical or apocryphal representation. The first examples of such presentation date back to early Christian times. They are connected with the developing cult of St. Anne. In most representations of this scene, the main character is St. Anne, who points out to Mary, in an open book, a fragment of Isaiah's prophecy: "Behold, the virgin will be with child / and will give birth to a son, and she will call Him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14), referring to the future of Mary. St. Anne passing on the prophet's words to Mary teaches her that she would be the Mother of the Saviour and at the same time prepares her daughter for her future role in the history of Salvation.

How to cite?

Justyna Kuska, "Teaching Mary", [in:] "The Sacred Lesser Poland Heritage", 2023, source:  https://sdm.upjp2.edu.pl/en/works/teaching-mary-2

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