Sarcophagus of Jagiełło

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Canopy (lower part)

The canopy of Jagiełło’s sarcophagus is supported on eight supports, of which the four corner ones are hexagonal in cross-section, while the four central ones are round. The supports are detached but their bases differing in form are connected with the deeply profiled base of the monument. It is not known what the upper part looked like, as the present canopy was created in the years 1519-1524 and is the work of a group of Italian stonemasons, who worked under Bartolomeo Berecci on the decoration of the chapel of King Zygmunt (Sigismund) I (1517-1533). In the Middle Ages canopies served to commemorate funerals of the post prominent personages and appeared exclusively in papal, bishop and royal churches. The architectural canopy over the tombs, symbolysing heaven, were used for the first time in Sicily in the 12th century. Later they were very popular in France, where they were installed in the most important royal necropolises.

We are all well aware that to enter this Cathedral can not be without emotion. More I say, you can not enter it without the internal tremor, without fear because it contains in it - as in almost no Cathedral of the world - the enormous size, which speaks to us in all our history, our entire past.

cardinal Karol Wojtyla
8 March 1964