Data publikacji : 2019-10-01

Treści ideowe polskich nowożytnych konfesjonałów jako wyraz potrydenckiego nauczania Kościoła

Arkadiusz Gontarek

Dział: Artykuły



The issue of the presence of confessionals in the interior of the post-Trent church has not yet been addressed by Polish researchers. Brief references in encyclopaedic or dictionary works focus primarily on the evolution of the form of furniture. Therefore, this text will be an attempt to extract the wealth of ideological content, which has so far been omitted or treated marginally, and which is carried by old Polish confessionals. The proposed study includes confessionals located within the borders of today’s Poland and dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, on which there are paintings or woodcarving images of penitents and confession patrons (sometimes enriched with text), as well as emblematic representations – a total of about 140 modern confessionals in not quite 60 towns and cities. The decoration of “penitential furniture”, as permanent elements of the church’s furnishings, harmonised closely with its whole interior design. On the one hand, it was supposed to complement it, and on the other, it was supposed to be a transmitter of autonomous content. They were
addressed not only to penitents (e.g. through the presence of images of converted expiators), but also to confessors (images of martyrs of the mystery of confession). Considering the form of the confessional and its iconographic setting in a broader context, it is necessary to indicate the points which expressed the Catholic Church’s response to the errors of the Reformation. This includes the need for individual sacramental confession, based on the apostolic succession, the ruthless presence of a clergyman forgiving sins with the “power of the keys” and the negation of predestination emphasising the truth that man himself consciously chooses good or evil. The ideational richness of the confessional was also greatly influenced by the fact that the three sacraments were concentrated in the confessional: it was the place where one of them was celebrated and the necessary point on the way to receive the Eucharist, at the same time as the necessary presence of an ordained priest. The aim of this article is, therefore, to look at the modern confessional who, in its formal and content layer, visually realises – on an equal footing with other elements of the church’s equipment – the counter-reformation doctrine of the postTrent Church.

Słowa kluczowe

polska sztuka nowożytna, ikonografia, konfesjonał, spowiedź, sobór trydencki polish modern art, iconography, confessional, confession, Council of Trent


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