National Museum’s Department of Early Art
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National Museum’s Department of Early Art information
Lonely Planet review
Located just outside the Main Town, in an otherwise fairly uninteresting quarter called the Old Suburb, the National Museum’s Department of Early Art is housed in the vaulted interiors of a former Franciscan monastery. Among the best art museums in the country, it covers the broad spectrum of Polish and international art and crafts, boasting extensive collections of paintings, woodcarvings, gold and silverware, embroidery, fabrics, porcelain, faience, wrought iron and furniture. It has the original figure of St George from the spire of the defunct Court of the Fraternity of St George; an assortment of huge, elaborately carved Danzig-style wardrobes (typical of the city, from where they were sent all over the country); and several beautiful ceramic tiled stoves.
The 1st floor is given over to paintings, with a section devoted to Dutch and Flemish work. The jewel of the collection is Hans Memling’s (1435–94) triptych of The Last Judgment, one of the earlier works of the artist, dating from 1472 to 1473. You’ll also find works by the younger Brueghel and Van Dyck, and the beautifully macabre Hell by Jacob Swanenburgh, who was the master of the young Rembrandt.