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Journal > Volumes > 37 (2006) / 2 (Summer)
Child Monuments in Renaissance Poland
Jeannie Labno
University of Sussex

In Renaissance Poland (1500–1650), there was a tradition of erecting funeral monuments to commemorate young children, a practice unique in Europe at that time, which raises interesting issues beyond the appearance of the monuments themselves. A large subset of these monuments illustrate a single iconographic type: the child as a sleeping putto with a skull, a motif that is particularly appropriate for the depiction of deceased infants. Although the putto and skull motif later became popular throughout Europe as a memento mori, only in Poland was it adapted to represent individual children. This essay will consider, first, why the tradition of child commemoration in sixteenth- century Poland was more pronounced than elsewhere. The second part will focus on the form of the monuments and why the reclining putto motif was adopted and became so popular in Poland.

Pages: 351 - 374