“The Last Judgement”
The Archangel Michael weighing good and evil, the saved ascending to heaven on crystal stairs, devils throwing sinners into the fires of hell. The bothersome vision of judgement day by the brush of the great Dutch artist was obtained accidentally, captured as the spoils of war by Gdańsk’s famous privateer Paweł Benecke. Hans Memling’s triptych “The Last Judgement” is the most valuable exhibit of the National Museum in Gdańsk and his only work in Polish collections. The painting, considered to be Memling’s crowning point (his authorship was not determined until the mid nineteenth century!), is of an impressive size (height 242 cm, width 360 cm), with technical perfection and artistic beauty, and its dramatic fate intrigues both with its message and its rich symbolism, understandable only to insiders. You can admire a copy of the work at St. Mary’s Basilica, where the original was first donated to the church.
The National Museum
You can meditate on the message of the famous triptych in one of the Dutch paintings gallery rooms of the Museum’s Department of Old Art, located in the historic building of the former Franciscan monastery. The stunning architecture of the late Gothic interior is a beautiful setting for many valuable collections: Gdańsk, Dutch and Flemish paintings, old ceramics, sculptures, famous Gdańsk furniture and works of Gdańsk goldsmiths. The collection of the Department of Modern Art containing about 400 works of outstanding Polish artists from the nineteenth and twentieth century, presenting the most important trends in Polish art is located at the Abbot’s Palace is Oliwa. Near the Abbot’s Granary is the Department of Ethnography. At the Mannerist Green Gate, the most impressive of the City’s gates on the Royal Route, is a representative art gallery with temporary exhibitions of ancient and contemporary art, both Polish and foreign