Poland Medieval Arts – Monetation

The Great Poland – who had seen the regional influences from neighboring Silesia on the one hand and from Brandenburg and Western Pomerania on the other (e.g. in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Poznań, ca. 1350) grow on its territory. -1406) – it did not have the same artistic weight, although it gave rise to some regional typological families, including a group of ‘hall’ churches, built in small towns and villages in the second half of the century. 15th (Bnin, Dolsk). Kuyavian and Masovian remained in close artistic relations with the lands of the Order of the Teutonic Knights, as shown by the cathedral of Włocławek and, in Warsaw, the church (od. Cathedral) of St. John. Architectural sculpture remained almost exclusively confined to the decoration of the keystones, shelves and in some cases also ribs (Gniezno). In the Little Poland the keystones could be adorned with the heraldic emblems of the provinces of the kingdom, following an iconographic program that emphasized the theme of the territorial unity of the Crown Kingdoms of Poland., crucifixes or groups of figures and practiced in some large cities, followed the main lines of stylistic development of the other central European countries. Monumental painting, painting on wood and Polish miniature were linked to those of neighboring regions in programs, iconography and language; on the other hand, the journeys of painters between Krakow and the cities of northern Hungary, coinciding with the od. Slovakia. Nonetheless, the artistic landscape of central Europe was already very diversified at the time of the last Gothic and some important centers, such as Krakow, were distinguished by the peculiar stylistic evolution, identifiable in the production of the scriptorium of the cathedral and in that of the workshops that made painted altarpieces, works that denounce an evident continuity of forms. Louis I the Great, a very active client in Hungary, is known for the innumerable donations (especially of paramenta, reliquaries and other goldsmith works) to various European churches, including the cathedral of Krakow. For Poland 2018, please check ethnicityology.com.


The minting of coins, which began in Poland towards the end of the century. 10 °, about thirty years after the conversion to Christianity, was almost the exclusive prerogative of the sovereigns. Coins minted by bishops, abbots, lords and cities appeared only from the end of the century. 12th and are quite rare; until the beginning of the century. 14 ° only silver was used and money was the only monetary unit.The precursor of Polish coinage is considered to be Duke Mieszko I, but it seems more likely that the minting activity was started by his son Boleslaus I the Courageous (992-1025), of which one hundred and fifty coins are known, belonging to sixteen different types, strongly differentiated from each other due to the Saxon, Bavarian, Anglo-Saxon, Bohemian and Byzantine influence, as well as possibly Italian (Kiersnowski, 1980). The latter would explain the unusual form princes instead of princeps in the inscription PRINCES POLONIE; the form, used for ex. on coins of Benevento, it may have been introduced by the archbishop of Gniezno, Gaudenzio, brother of s. Adalberto, of the Bohemian Slavnik family – it is known in fact that before going to Poland the brothers stayed for a certain period in Italy -; but Benedict of Benevento, abbot of the monastery of Międzyrzecz, near Poznań, may also have played the same role of intermediary. Among the other coins of Boleslao I it is possible to mention those with the inscription BOLIZLAVS DVX-INCLITVS or BOLIZLAVS-GNEZDVN CIVITAS (with reference to Gniezno, then capital). Polish minting activity was interrupted for a period of approx. half a century and was revived, following different principles, only by the great-grandson Boleslao II the Generoso (1058-1079). A greater quantity of coins began to be minted in the Krakow mint, but divided into fewer types, reflecting the acquired economic importance, at least compared to the previous phase, in which the local currency simply circulated in addition to the prevailing foreign coins. mostly German, but also Italian. From the artistic point of view the most interesting coins are those of the century. 12 °, on which appear – apart from the image of the reigning sovereign and that of the patron of the state, s. Adalbert – scenes depicting eg. two or three dukes seated at the table or the struggle of good against evil, symbolized by the knight fighting a dragon or a lion or even another knight, or by an eagle pouncing on a hare. The most significant decentralization of the coinage occurred in the century. 13 °, coinciding with the moment in which the Poland was divided into various duchies. In numerous mints, bracts were minted in large quantities at the time, replaced three times a year, on which the most varied images appeared (e.g. the lion, the eagle, the siren, the centaur, the angel), often not accompanied by inscriptions. The bracts were eliminated with the monetary reform introduced by Casimir III the Great throughout the state, once again united. A monetary system was established which included denarii, quartenses (ie demi grossi) and grossi; the oldest gold coins, said fiorini – of which the preserved specimens are quite rare -, bore the effigy of s. Stanislao, the second patron of the Poland, and were coined around 1330 by King Ladislao I the Short (1306-1333). The written sources of the secc. 14th and 15th centuries attest that Italian coiners such as Monaldus from Lucca and Leonardus Bartoli in Krakow and Anastasio Venturi from Florence in Legnica also worked in Poland, but these presences had no resonance, with the exception of the case of Legnica.

Poland Medieval Arts - Monetation