Herman Han’s prominent work of art is in the church. He was a very popular artist who in 1622 painted “The Coronation of the Holy Virgin Mary” for a church in the seaside town of Puck. Similar altarpieces were later made for cathedrals in Pelpin and Oliwa which attests for the artist’s high position. The altar from Puck made its way to Wielki Buczek thanks to the local founders.
What could the locals from Wielki Buczek feel when they looked at the painting 400 years ago? Probably respect and admiration for the work. The painting, full of symbolism, had to tell a story: the crowned Mary became the symbol of Catholic faith in the time of religious tumult and reformation.
The painting is in the form of so called Mystical Goblet. In its “bowl” the final scene is taking place: the kneeling Mother of God is being crowned by God the Father and Christ.
In the upper corners choirs of angels and patron saints are depicted.
At the bottom we can see images of representatives of the secular and church authorities and the nobles of the time. Steadfast to the Catholic faith, the figures were presented as role-models to everyone who admired the painting.
In the copestone of the altar there is the painting “Annunciation”, probably also by Han.
The altar was built in the first quarter of the 17th century in the Mannerist style, probably by workers of a workshop from the Royal Prussia region (maybe from Pelplin?). Mannerism originates from the Renaissance and constitutes its changed, reshaped (mannered, bizarre) artistic form. The woodcarvers of the day conducted experiments with timber in the search of new forms. What was important was the effect of surprise, illusion and fanciful originality of ideas.
The altar has a complex composition: it possesses many floral motifs in the shape of elaborate tendril ornament or leaves curled in a sophisticated way. The form and colours are a surprise – yellow shades were matched here with violet, and green with pink.
The architectural part of the altar is densely decorated with angels’ heads.
The church was built in 1729-1734 due to founding of bishop Adam Stanisław Grabowski who was a Polish diplomat in the Papal States. Bishop Grabowski was a good landlord and a patron of arts, he published a code of laws which governed the daily life of the citizens of the Warmia region in the areas of agriculture, trade and crafts among others. He financed erection of many churches, founded altars, restored a mansion, financially supported initiatives of Stanisław Konarski and Collegium Nobilium. He engaged himself in the history of art, amassed a large library and a collection of statues, paintings and porcelain. He represented an early Catholic enlightenment. An evidence for his enlightenment was placing in the side altar’s crowning a figure of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
The founder of the Jesuit order lived at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries in Spain. He came from a noble family and served at the royal court. He fought as a knight and was injured during battle. He sought comfort in the Gospels, he fought the spiritual war and was tormented by a temptation of suicide. He exercised meditations and mystical experiences which alter became a foundation of his “Spiritual Exercises”. He experienced seeing the “totality of faith” and desired to emulate Jesus throughout his life. This is why the order which he established, Loyola called the Society of Jesus and its members – the Jesuits.
Wielki Buczek 19, 77-420 Lipka tel.: 67 266 56 26
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working days: 5.00 pm (winter), 6.00 pm (summer)