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Wawel Royal Castle
State Art Collection

31-001 Kraków, Wawel 5

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(+48 12) 422-51-55, 422-61-21
email: zamek@wawel.org.pl

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e-mail: pr@wawel.org.pl

Temporary exhibitions (archives)

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Acquisitions 2013

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Temporary xehibition July 15 – August 31, 2014

This year’s exhibition of acquisitions presents works that entered the collections of the Wawel Royal Castle in 2013.

The museum acquired 36 objects from private sellers, on the domestic and international antiques market, and through gifts and deposits.

The most significant works are portraits of Polish kings: a 1586 portrait of Stephen Báthory from the workshop of Marcin Kober (1) and an iconographically rare presentation of Ladislaus IV, painted in the mid-17th century after a portrait by Pieter Danckers de Rij (2).
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A completely different but no less interesting work is the portrait of Jadwiga Sapieha née Zamoyska painted by Leopold Horowit z in 1882.
The Ceramics Department acquired a 1742 Meissen dish with the arms of the Bishop of Warmia, Adam Stanisław Götzendorf-Grabowski. It is one of only 30 known pieces of the service worldwide.  
The largest group of new acquisitions are examples of goldsmith work, including an extremely rare late-Gothic cup most likely of Polish make.
The Textile Department acquired a silk kontusz sash dating from the 19th century. The sash was a central element of the Old Polish noblemen’s
national costume.


Of particular note is a miniature Order of the White Eagle dating from the reign of Stanislaus August Ponia tow ski (r. 1764–1795). It is one of only nine in Polish collections.
The Metalwork Depar tment obtained several vessels including two lovely wine coolers, one dating from the third quarter of the 17th century (3) and the other from 1720–1740, and a wash basin dated to the late 17th or early 18th century.
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A unique acquisition is a revolving fl intlock sporting gun made at the magnate court of the Rzewuski family in Podhorce in the mid18th century.
A design for a ceiling painting for one of the rooms in the Wawel Castle created by Włodzimierz Tetmajer before 1923 was a gift from the heirs of the artist.
In 2013, thanks to a grant from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the Castle acquired the Sapieha Library, the very large and precious book collection amassed by the Sapieha family at Krasiczyn Castle.
A special exhibition earlier this year presented a selection from the more than 14,000 volumes in the library.




 

The Sapieha Library at the Wawel Royal Castle"

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March 18 – May 31, 2014
This exhibition is the first large-scale presentation of selected volumes from the Sapieha library. The collection was acquired from Michael Sapieha in 2013, thanks to a grant from the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
The library of the princely Sapieha family is one of the greatest Polish book collections of its kind. It is comprised of nearly 14,000 volumes in Polish, Latin, French, and German on such diverse subjects theology, history, geography, and the natural sciences. The collection includes books of great historical and cultural value, such as old printed books in Polish and other languages and beautiful editions published in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Sapieha library is one of the few magnate book collections to have survived to the present despite the country's turbulent history.
During World War II the Sapieha library was concealed in the Bishop’s Palace in Cracow.
In the 1950s, it was confiscated by the communist security services (UB) and transferred to the Wawel Castle as a deposit in 1953. Since 1973, the library has been preserved in the Castle of Pieskowa Skała, a branch museum of the Wawel Royal Castle.
On view in the exhibition are splendid books, book plates, and bindings, complemented by Sapieha family portraits and views of Krasiczyn Castle, which became the family seat in the 19th century.

T H E  S A P I E H A S
For four centuries the Sapiehas were one of the most influential families in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The exceptional prestige enjoyed by members of the family, ensured by their elevated social and economic status, enabled them to play a central role in the politics of the Commonwealth. The House of Sapieha issued over fifty high-ranking state and church officials, including thirty senators, five hetmans, six chancellors and subchancellors, and three bishops. The Sapiehas also made their mark as preeminent art patrons and collectors, generous founders of churches and monasteries, and builders of resplendent castles and palaces. Like their political influence, their estates and foundations
extended over immense areas of both the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
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Acquisitions 2012

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Temporary exhibition 5 XI 2013–2 II 2014
The exhibition presents works of art acquired by theWawel Royal Castle in 2012. During the past year the museum’s collections of painting and decorative arts grewby nearly one hundred objects acquired through purchases, gifts, and deposits. Especially noteworthy are purchases of precious seventeenth- and eighteenth- century silver and porcelain.

The museum acquired a Baroque silver cup, the finest example of secular Polish goldsmith’s work to appear on the western European market in recent years. The monumental 50 cm high cup was made in 1680 by Joachim Scholtz (active 1674–1695) in Leszno. The cup’s rich and intricate decorationmarks it as an  object of luxury, possiblymade for the Leszczyński family. Two display tankards, splendid examples of Gdańsk Baroque silver, and a unique coin beaker appliedwith approximately fifty Sigismund I three-grosz pieces are outstanding additions to  the Crown Treasury exhibition.

The Wawel porcelain collection obtained fine early pieces from the Meissen manufactory—a Hausmaler eagle teapot and a teabowl and saucer from the service of Maria Leszczyńska, queen of France. The museum purchased a cup and saucer from the same service 2009.

The Death of Priam, a 1756 picture by Tadeusz Kuntze (1727–1793), one of the leading Polish painters of the eighteenth century, was the outstanding paintings acquisition of the year. It was purchased with the support of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland. Also on view are oils and drawings significant to the iconography of the Wawel and the Castle of Pieskowa Skała. Foremost among these is the Interior of the Báthory Chapel in the Wawel Cathedral by Marcin Zaleski (1796–1877), a gifted painter of church interiors and
vedute. The collections were enriched by a set of sketches for wall paintings and stained glass for the restoration of The Chapel of the Holy Trinity in theWawel Cathedral and a conceptual project for the restoration and arrangement of selected rooms in the Wawel Castle. Both sets of sketches are byWłodzimierz Tetmajer (1861–1923).

A number of varied and beautifully crafted copper objects were acquired for the Metalwork Department. These include tableware and other objects of everyday use made in Germany, Italy, and Poland in the seventeenth through eighteenth centuries. A cast-bronze miniature of the sarcophagus of Casimir IV Jagiellon in the Chapel of the Holy Cross of theWawel Cathedralwas added to the collection ofminiatures of royal tombs.

A pair of eighteenth-century French flintlock pistols is associated with Wawrzyniec Potocki (arms – Szeliga), a member of the Confederation of Bar (1768–1772). Other notable acquisitions include jewelry, an alabaster cartouchewith the Półkozic arms, seals fromthe eighteenth through nineteenth centuries, and an exceptional piece of historical memorabilia—a snuff box (tabatière) made by Tadeusz Kościuszko.
 

An Ottoman Tent from the Wawel Collection

4 June - 12 September 2013


The 17th-century Turkish tent on display here is one of the most valuable historical mementoes in the Wawel collection. It was captured on 12 September 1683, when the army of King John III Sobieski defeated the Turkish army under the command of the Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa at Vienna.
The roof and walls are decorated with characteristic motifs of arcades. Within them are medallions, which are filled with interwining floral patterns. Among the flowers, stylised carnations and tulips – the Orient’s favourite flower – can be distinguished. Above the oval medallions are cartouches of gold satin with blessings written in Arabic.
The tent was originally supported on two poles and to keep them in place sockets reinforced with leather, and a system of pegs and ropes for pulling and stretching the fabric were used. The outer surface is covered in sturdy canvas, impregnated with copper compounds, which gives it its cool, pale green colour.
The full-scale restoration of the tent took place in the years 1991-1999. During the work, all the elements of the appliqué decoration were removed, the fabrics were cleaned in water baths and sewn on again.
Apart from being the largest in Poland, the collection of tents at the Wawel Royal Castle is also one of the most important collections of its kind in Europe.



Krystyna Czapska’s Gift to the Wawel Royal Castle

December 18, 2012 – March 24, 2013
Gifts from individual donors have played an important role in building the collections of the Wawel Royal Castle.
The exhibition presents a selection of 210 objects from the large collection bequeathed to the Wawel Castle in 2001 and 2003 by Krystyna Czapska. The showing well illustrates the scope and character of collections amassed over many generations by Krakow art collectors. Works on view include paintings and drawings by such celebrated turn-of-the-century Polish artists as Alfons Karpiński (1875–1961), Kazimierz Pochwalski (1855–1940), Teodor Axentowicz (1859–1938), and Józef Mehoffer (1869–1946); seventeenth-century Netherlandish and Italian paintings; and a late medieval polychromed wood sculpture. Furniture and decorative arts objects that were an integral part of the nineteenth-century interior will also be presented.
Over half the exhibition is devoted to a large and varied collection of porcelain from some of the best European manufactories—Meissen, Vienna, and Berlin—and a number of fine East Asian pieces. One of the highlights is a fanciful, lemon-themed eighteenth-century porcelain service from the Royal Manufactory at Meissen. Also of note is a collection of nineteenth-century colored glass reflecting new and experimental glass-making techniques.



NAPOLÉÓN-LA GRANDE ARMÉE-LES POLONAIS

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This year marks the 200th anniversary of the “second Polish war”—Napoleon’s march on Russia, which initially brought success, but ended in the decimation of the Grande Armée, and with it the end of Polish hope for the resurrection of the Commonwealth. The exhibition is a tribute to the Poles who fought at Napoleon’s side.
open from October 18 till November 18, 2012
Next to Prince Józef Poniatowski, to whom “God entrusted the honor of the Poles” and General Henryk Dąbrowski, immortalized in the national anthem, the exhibition will present a few of the many thousands of unsung Polish heroes of the Napoleonic epic. The objects on view in the exhibition—heirlooms kept by their families and descendants for 200 years despite of all of the vicissitudes of Poland’s history—have never before been publicly exhibited. The portraits, historic prints, orders, often with the original documents of conferment, and personal effects bring us face to face with the people and their stories in an intimate, almost familial way. Next to these very personal items, the exhibition includes objects linked with the person of the Emperor, which were once present in nearly every Polish home, and in some cases still are. The exhibition also includes a selection of objects documenting aspects of daily life in the Duchy of Warsaw. As an ensemble, the objects on view document the continuity of the Napoleonic tradition. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue (Polish, with introduction in French).

KOŠICE GOLD TREASURE

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Temporary exhibition

open till April 22, 2012

In 1935, one of Slovakia’s greatest treasures was discovered in a house in Košice located at what is today 68 Hlavná Street. Although the importance and uniqueness of the find was immediately apparent, the full historical and artistic signifi cance of the cache of gold coins came to light only after they were examined at the National Museum in Prague.
The Košice gold treasure is exceptional not just in the context of Slovak collections but on a European scale. Found among the coins in the Košice treasure were three gold medals and a 214-cm-long Renaissance gold chain. An equestrian medal of Ferdinand I dating from 1541 is an exceptionally rare and precious object.
Moreover, its gold variant is a world-class rarity. The Košice treasure was hidden in a peculiarlyshaped copper casket resembling a loaf of bread. The mintages of the coins make it possible to approximate the date the treasure was hidden. Since the newest coins are Hungarian ducats with Leopold I dating from 1679, we may assume that it was concealed
that year or not long after. Furthermore, since the treasure was discovered in the building of the former Spiš Chamber, it is highly probable that its owner was closely connected with that institution.
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Wawel Legends: Children’s Book Illustration

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Extended through February 29, 2012

Over the centuries many legends have been told about the Wawel Castle. Generations of Polish children have grown up reading about the dreaded Wawel Dragon and the wise talking head from the ceiling of the Envoys’ Hall. There was also the king who dabbled in alchemy and Stańczyk, the clever court jester, whose devious tricks amused the king—often at the expense of his courtiers.

The exhibition Wawel Legends: Children’s Book Illustration presents new interpretations of these much-loved stories in the works of professional illustrators, both renowned—such as Janusz Stanny, Bohdan Butenko, and Pawel Pawlak—and those just starting out. Over 60 works were selected from more than 300 competition entries. The exhibition caters to the youngest viewers. The works are hung at child’s eye-level. There’s a huge dragon puzzle for little hands to assemble, giant thrones, that are, alas, too squashy to sit on, and soft oversized blocks with mysterious symbols that can be arranged into a picture.

The Princes Sapieha: Art Patrons and Collectors

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EXHIBITION 4 OCT. – 31 DEC. 2011
The exhibition, a presentation of the Sapieha art collection, celebrates one of the greatest families of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Objects held by the Wawel Royal Castle are accompanied by works from, among others, the Royal Castle in Warsaw; the National Museum and the Princes Czartoryski Foundation, both in Cracow; the National Museum in Warsaw; the National Museum in Poznan; and the museums of Vilnius and Telšiai, Lithuania.
The House of Sapieha was extremely well connected, related by blood to the Potocki, Radziwiłł, Czartoryski, and Jabłonowski princely families. Members of both the Różana (Czereja) and Kodeń (Krasiczyn) lines of the family held the highest offices in the land. As statesmen, they shaped the political and military policy of the Commonwealth. As collectors and patrons of the arts, they played a vital role in Polish culture.
What remained of the once unimaginably great collections was stored in the Bishop’s Palace in Cracow for safe-keeping during World War II. After the war, the holdings were confiscated by the communist security services (UB). In 1954, part of the collection was placed on deposit at the Wawel Royal Castle. Several decades later, these works were returned to the Sapieha heirs, and piece by piece came back to the museum as gifts or deposits. Today, the Princes Sapieha collection at the Wawel Royal Castle comprises some 300 objects. The library from Krasiczyn palace on deposit at Wawel includes, among others, over 1,000 priceless early printed books. As the repository for a large portion of the extant Sapieha collections, the Wawel Castle is ideally suited to presenting an exhibition on the family’s art collecting and patronage practice.
The Old Polish aspect of the princely family is represented by a unique gallery of 72 ancestral portraits from the Church of St. Anne in Kodeń, legendary militaria from the Relief of Vienna, and a collection of kontusz sashes from Krasiczyn. These works are complemented by significant objects of Western European art including paintings, masterpieces of Augsburg goldsmithwork, and Parisian clocks. A dramatic chapter in the family’s history – the confiscation of the art collection and attempts by the communist authorities to discredit Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha, archbishop of Cracow – is presented through archival photographs.
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Edward Dwurnik - "Battles of Grunwald"

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Temporary exhibition October 29, 2010 – January 17, 2011
Opening: 28.10.2010 godz. 13:00

Edward Dwurnik is one of the few contemporary painters who take on board historic themes. History is not the sole motif in his work; it comes up, however, in no fewer than 200 paintings and in a few thousand drawings. Dwurnik is clearly addicted to history. He is aware that it was history that shaped him, deformed him, demoralised him, dignified him and did many other things to him on which he had no influence at all. Historical events and monuments (such as The Palace of Culture and Science) are for the artist signposts of memory. They also function as public signs of remorse and moral obligation. One has to remember that Dwurnik was born in the year of the Ghetto Rising and has experienced in his own life all the acts of historical violence that befell Poland from that moment onwards. All these events appear in Dwurnik’s work; each worked into a cycle, each dealt with in differently from the artistic point of view.

Maria Poprzęcka, The Polish Scene after the Battle *
Is Dwurnik's painting a caricature or pastiche of Matejko's original? Is it deconstruction, or a fashionable “intervention” in the sanctity of the museum and the nation? Neither. For the sake of amusement, we shall attempt an analytical comparison. Following in the footsteps of the first (and still the best) author of a detailed study of Matejko, Stanisław Tarnowski, we can hardly fail to note that the common element in the two paintings is the “confusion that reigns in the painting.” Tarnowski, followed by others led by Stanisław Witkiewicz Sr., regretted the lack in Matejko's Grunwald of a center of significance, an internal hierarchy, a dominant note—or rather, the fact that there were two, the death of the Grand Master and the frenetic figure of Witold. The “confusion” in Dwurnik's painting is total. The entire surface is evenly covered with tiny figures beating, grabbing, and jostling each other. “There is hardly any empty space,” Tarnowski might lament. The painting is like a design on fabric, which can be extended at will in any direction and copied to infinity. Dwurnik constructed his Diagonal City in a similar way: a network of streets without people built in blocks and rows of trees not bounded by any horizon. The only limitation was the frame around and a lack of perspective. The Battle could similarly spill over in every direction. Matejko has also been accused of a lack of breathing space and perspective. Dwurnik represents these same traits, except that no one expects correct perspective today.
On the other hand, the differences between the two Battles of Grunwald can be multiplied to infinity, beginning with size. Dwurnik's canvas, while large, is significantly smaller (“It has the dimensions of Guernica,” the artist admits modestly). Matejko thrusts the viewer into the midst of the crush of battle. Dwurnik, in line with an old battle-painting tradition, offers a bird's-eye view. Matejko's painting is strikingly colorful. Dwurnik paints his Grunwald with “tar and ink” (as Józef Czapski described his paintings under martial law). There is no delectable display of glistening armor, rich caparisons, embroidered satin, or flashing swords. There are no heroes with historical names. The anonymous, shabby figures lay into each other with clubs (and crosses). Without enumerating all the differences, we might also note some observations regarding gender. “The Battle of Grunwald is a world without women. An ideal image of a homosocial community,” writes Ewa Toniak. Dwurnik's battle is not same-sex. Several female figures wander among the brawling men. Are they camp followers? No, rather the sisters of Florence Nightingale in white smocks with big red crosses on them. In the fervor of battle, they have lost the high-heeled shoes that litter the field here and there. These nurses are not, indeed, rendering aid to anyone, but as red-and-white spots they punctuate and unify the black and dark-blue plane of the image. Additionally, they bring in the always desirable red-and-white accent. Continuing with the theme of gender, we might also suppose that the presence of women relieved the artist of the necessity of painting horses, which are eroticized in Polish culture and treated as interchangeable with women. Many other animals, however, are loitering here, and not only the mongrel dogs that always feature with Dwurnik. In the center, we see two small elephants (mascots?). Next to the condors waiting for their carrion is the profile of a disconcertingly large white dove of peace.
*fragment of a text from a publication to accompany the exhibition

Organisers: Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków and Wawel Royal Castle
Exhibition curators:
Maria Anna Potocka – Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków
Coordinators: Aneta Giebuta (Wawel Royal Castle), Delfina Piekarska (Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków)
Zoom in - Edward Dwurnik, The Battle of Grunwald, 1957
Edward Dwurnik, The Battle of Grunwald, 1957
Zoom in - Edward Dwurnik, The Prussian Homage, 2010
Edward Dwurnik, The Prussian Homage, 2010

The Token of a Magnificent Victory

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To mark the six-hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald.
15 July - 30 September 2010

Last days - free entrance on September 29, 30

930am – 5pm
last entry 1 hour before exhibitions close
The Cracow celebrations of the 600th anniversary of the triumph at Grunwald refer to a centuries-old tradition. Here, in Cracow Cathedral, at the altar of St Stanislaus, patron of the
Polish Kingdom, were hung the banners won in the war with the Order of the Knights of the Hospital of St Mary of the Teutons in Jerusalem. Here also the remains of King Ladislaus Jagiello lie in a marble sarcophagus. It was from the Wawel hill that a procession in commemoration of the great victory would set off annually on 15 July – the Feast of the Sending of the Apostles – towards the Church of St Hedvige (Jadwiga) in Stradom. And it was in Cracow that on the 500th anniversary of the battle the monumental Grunwald memorial, funded by Ignacy Jan Paderewski, was erected. An event of particular interest during the present celebrations is a display of reconstructions of all the 56 Teutonic banners and of some of the surviving trophies captured during the war against the Teutonic Knights and later given by the king to numerous churches in Poland.

ROOM I
The exhibition begins with a photograph showing a panorama of the Grunwald battlefield and with portraits of King Ladislaus Jagiello (ca. 1351-1434) and the Grand Duke Witold (ca. 1352-1430).

ROOM II
The presentation of the original Banderia Prutenorum by Jan Długosz is accompanied by a display of copies of this manuscript and its printed editions. Here also is the documentation of successive reconstructions of the Teutonic banners, undertaken between 1900 and 2009.

ROOM III
On display in the Renaissance bay window is a triptych from Pławno, recalling a special role attributed to St Stanislaus in the victory over the Teutonic Knights. Next to it can be seen the text of Bogurodzica (Mother of God) - the hymn sung by the Polish knights at Grunwald. The standards suspended under the ceiling are reconstructions of some of the Teutonic banners, including that of the Bishopric of Pomezania which was sent to Cracow with news of the victory. The presence of the figure of the Virgin Mary, patron saint of the Teutonic Knights, refers to the spiritual foundations of the Order. The centre of the room is occupied by the trophies captured during the war waged against the Order. An object of special significance is the portrait of St Bridget, who in her famous Revelations foretold the defeat of the Teutonic Knights. Fifteenthcentury manuscripts and later copies containing accounts of the battle, as well as the diploma of the First Peace of Toruń dated 1 February 1411 complement the exhibition.

ROOM IV
The objects assembled here illustrate the Grunwald tradition in the modern era until the end of the 19th century. They include a plaster cast of the sarcophagus of Ladislaus Jagiello and its Renaissance canopy, along with a reconstruction of the inscriptions which King Sigismund I (1467-1548ordered in 1524 to be placed on the grille surrounding his grandfather’s tomb in Cracow Cathedral but which have not survived. An enlarged photograph of a woodcut shows the portrait of Ladislaus Jagiello holding Teutonic banners with broken staffs. The display includes another group of reconstructed Teutonic banners. The remaining exhibits illustrate
the cultivation of the Grunwald tradition in Cracow right up until the period of the partitions of the Polish Commonwealth (1795). Here also can be seen some of the few surviving depictions of the Battle of Grunwald from the early modern era, while the screenedoff part of the room contains pictures on this subject which were painted in the period of the Partitions.

ROOM V
The diorama The Battle of Grunwald, painted by Tadeusz Popiel and Zygmunt Rozwadowski for the Cracow celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the victory over the Teutonic Knights, is an evocative pictorial vision of this great victory. The other artefacts are a reminder of the celebrations organized in Cracow in 1910. Particularly remarkable is a Paris model of the Grunwald monument by Antoni Wiwulski (1877-1919); the monument, funded by Ignacy
Jan Paderewski (1860-1941), was erected in Cracow in the same year. On display beside it is the head of Witold – a fragment of the original memorial destroyed by the Germans during World War II. The symbolic end of the exhibition is the monumental painting The Prussian Homage (1882) by Jan Matejko (1838-1893).
Zoom in - Copy of the banner of the Bishop of Pomezania, Kamila Piskozub, Cracow, 1962. Cracow, Wawel Royal Castle
Copy of the banner of the Bishop of Pomezania, Kamila Piskozub, Cracow, 1962. Cracow, Wawel Royal Castle
Zoom in - Portrait of king Ladislaus Jagiello, Kraków (?), 1520-1530 (?); Diocesan Museum, Sandomierz
Portrait of king Ladislaus Jagiello, Kraków (?), 1520-1530 (?); Diocesan Museum, Sandomierz
Zoom in - Plaque depicting the Annunciation – part of the reliquary cross, Upper Rhinish workshop, before 1343. Sandomierz Cathedral
Plaque depicting the Annunciation – part of the reliquary cross, Upper Rhinish workshop, before 1343. Sandomierz Cathedral
Zoom in - Reliquary cross, Upper Rhinish workshop, before 1343 (the cross); Cracow, ca. 1470-1480 (reliquary and base). Sandomierz Cathedral
Reliquary cross, Upper Rhinish workshop, before 1343 (the cross); Cracow, ca. 1470-1480 (reliquary and base). Sandomierz Cathedral
Zoom in - St. Stanislaus as the patron saint of the Kingdom of Poland, a leaf in Katalog arcybiskupów gnieźnieńskich (Catalogue of the Gniezno Archbishops), Jan Długosz (author), Stanisław Samostrzelnik (ill.), Cracow, 1531-1535. Warsaw, National Library
St. Stanislaus as the patron saint of the Kingdom of Poland, a leaf in Katalog arcybiskupów gnieźnieńskich (Catalogue of the Gniezno Archbishops), Jan Długosz (author), Stanisław Samostrzelnik (ill.), Cracow, 1531-1535. Warsaw, National Library
Zoom in - The Revelations of St. Bridget, Naples (?), 1375-1377. Warsaw, National Library
The Revelations of St. Bridget, Naples (?), 1375-1377. Warsaw, National Library
Zoom in - St. Bridget, Cracow, final third of 15th century (?). Lublin, Church of the Assumption of Our Lady (formerly of the Bridgettine Order)
St. Bridget, Cracow, final third of 15th century (?). Lublin, Church of the Assumption of Our Lady (formerly of the Bridgettine Order)
Zoom in - Typus fundationis Academiae Cracoviensis with a likeness of Ladislaus Jagiello holding three banners with broken staffs captured at Grunwald, Cracow, 1642. Cracow, Jagiellonian Library
Typus fundationis Academiae Cracoviensis with a likeness of Ladislaus Jagiello holding three banners with broken staffs captured at Grunwald, Cracow, 1642. Cracow, Jagiellonian Library
Zoom in - Diorama painting of The Battle of Grunwald, Tadeusz Popiel, Zygmunt Rozwadowski, Cracow, 1910. Lviv History Museum
Diorama painting of The Battle of Grunwald, Tadeusz Popiel, Zygmunt Rozwadowski, Cracow, 1910. Lviv History Museum
Zoom in - Ladislaus Jagiello and Witold praying before the Battle of Grunwald, Jan Matejko, Cracow, 1855. Warsaw, National Museum
Ladislaus Jagiello and Witold praying before the Battle of Grunwald, Jan Matejko, Cracow, 1855. Warsaw, National Museum
Zoom in - Pavilion of the diorama painting The Battle of Grunwald, Cracow, 1910. State Archive in Krakow. Photograph by S. Warcholik
Pavilion of the diorama painting The Battle of Grunwald, Cracow, 1910. State Archive in Krakow. Photograph by S. Warcholik
Zoom in - Arms of the Polish Kingdom – miniature in the Evangelistiary funded by Bishop Piotr Tomicki, Stanisław Samostrzelnik (illuminator), Cracow, 1533-1534. Archive and Library of the Cracow Cathedral Chapter House
Arms of the Polish Kingdom – miniature in the Evangelistiary funded by Bishop Piotr Tomicki, Stanisław Samostrzelnik (illuminator), Cracow, 1533-1534. Archive and Library of the Cracow Cathedral Chapter House
Zoom in - Large banner of Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen
Large banner of Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen
Zoom in - Bogurodzica. Starożytna pieśń polska (The Old Polish Hymn: Bogurodzica), Stanisław Bursa, Jan Bukowski (prints), Cracow, 1910. Warsaw, National Library, Musical Collection Unit
Bogurodzica. Starożytna pieśń polska (The Old Polish Hymn: Bogurodzica), Stanisław Bursa, Jan Bukowski (prints), Cracow, 1910. Warsaw, National Library, Musical Collection Unit
Zoom in - Sculpture of the Holy Virgin, from the workshop of the so-called Master of the Madonna from Osice, Gdańsk, end of 14th century, from the parish Church in Klonówka. Diocesan Museum, Pelplin.
Sculpture of the Holy Virgin, from the workshop of the so-called Master of the Madonna from Osice, Gdańsk, end of 14th century, from the parish Church in Klonówka. Diocesan Museum, Pelplin.

"Acquisitions 2008"

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Exhibition on view
June 6 – September 27, 2009

The exhibition Acquisitions 2008 presents a selection of the works that entered the collections of the Wawel Royal Castle last year including valuable gold and silver objects, royal portraits, 18th-century tapestries, and Meissen porcelain. Most of the objects have undergone conservation in the Castle’s conservation studios.

One of the most important acquisitions is a set of four parcel-gilt silver beakers by the Augsburg goldsmith Israel Thelott dating from 1680. The Wawel collection of Augsburg goldsmiths’ work is—next to the collection of silver held at the Pauline Monastery of Jasna Góra in Częstochowa—the most valuable in Poland.

Also of great artistic and historical value are Saturn and A Bacchante, two tapestries from the series Statues of Ancient Deities, commissioned by Michał Kazimierz Ogiński (1730–1800), grand hetman of Lithuania and a respected composer, to decorate the Hall of Goddesses, the garden pavilion on his estate in Słonim. Although not all of the original twelve hangings have survived to the 21st century, five have been reunited in the Wawel collections.

Also on view are several vessels from the Sułkowski service of Meissen porcelain. Originally numbering over 1000 pieces, it was the first service of this size ever made.

Among the objects most prized by the Wawel museum are portraits of Polish monarchs. On view in the exhibition are oil portraits of Sigismund III Vasa (1566–1632) and Eleonora Maria Josefa Wiśniowiecka (1653–1697), a mezzotint portrait of Augustus II, and an engraving depicting Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski (1732–17898). Also noteworthy are two landscapes by the Italian baroque painter Alessandro Magnasco (1667–1749).

During the interwar period, as part of the renovation of the Castle some of the plafonds and ceiling vaults were filled with paintings by such Polish artists as Zbigniew Pronaszko, Jan Cybis, Felicjan Szczęsny Kowarski, and Józef Pankiewicz, creating an unusual gallery of Polish modernism. Some of these can still be seen throughout the Castle; some, including a number by Pronaszko (1885–1958) dating from 1936–1939, were removed during conservation work carried out in 1995. Nine of these are included in the exhibition, along with two newly acquired works—preparatory studies for unrealized designs painted by Pankiewicz (1866–1940) in 1929–1930.

Other objects of note include apothecary’s mortars dating from the 15th to the 17th centuries and a rare late Gothic aspersorium or receptacle for holy water.

After the exhibition closes, most of the objects will be placed on view in permanent exhibition in the Wawel Royal Castle and the Castle of Pieskowa Skała; some, due to their fragility will only be displayed occasionally.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue. Introductory text and list of works in English; soft-cover, 144 pages, 15 zl.
Zoom in - Plate from the Sułkowski Service, Meissen, modeled by Johann Joachim Kaendler (1706–1775), ca. 1737
Plate from the Sułkowski Service, Meissen, modeled by Johann Joachim Kaendler (1706–1775), ca. 1737
Zoom in - Portrait of King Sigismund III Vasa, Southern Germany, ca. 1590
Portrait of King Sigismund III Vasa, Southern Germany, ca. 1590
Zoom in - Landscape with a Genre Scene, Genoa or Milan, Alessandro Magnasco (1667–1749) and workshop (?), 1st quarter of the 18th century
Landscape with a Genre Scene, Genoa or Milan, Alessandro Magnasco (1667–1749) and workshop (?), 1st quarter of the 18th century
Zoom in - Landscape with Washerwomen, Genoa or Milan, Alessandro Magnasco (1667–1749), 1st quarter of the 18th century
Landscape with Washerwomen, Genoa or Milan, Alessandro Magnasco (1667–1749), 1st quarter of the 18th century
Zoom in - Four beakers calendar beakers, Augsburg, Israel Thelott (Thelot) (active ca. 1654–1696), 1680
Four beakers calendar beakers, Augsburg, Israel Thelott (Thelot) (active ca. 1654–1696), 1680
Zoom in - Portrait of Queen Eleonora Maria Josefa Wiśniowiecka (1653-1697), Austria or Lorraine (?), 3rd third 17th century
Portrait of Queen Eleonora Maria Josefa Wiśniowiecka (1653-1697), Austria or Lorraine (?), 3rd third 17th century
Zoom in - Portrait of a Young Woman, Lvov, Marcin Jabłoński (1801–1876), 1846
Portrait of a Young Woman, Lvov, Marcin Jabłoński (1801–1876), 1846
Zoom in - Portrait of a Man, Lvov, Marcin Jabłoński (1801–1876), 1846 (?)
Portrait of a Man, Lvov, Marcin Jabłoński (1801–1876), 1846 (?)

"The Prussian Homage. Matejko for Wawel – Wawel for Matejko"

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Last days to see the "Prussian Homage" – exhibition closes December 12.

In 2007 the conservation of the monumental painting The Prussian Homage by Jan Matejko (1838–1893) was completed. Carried out by a team of conservators from the Wawel Royal Castle and the National Museum in Cracow, it returned the masterpiece to its former brilliance. The painting, along with its restored frame – also designed by Matejko – is on view in a special exhibition, which traces the stages of the conservation work. The exhibition has an added historical dimension: this is the first time since 1883, when a major anniversary exhibition of Matejko’s work was held here, that visitors will have the opportunity to see the Homage in the place for which the artist had intended it – the former residence of the Jagellons. After 125 years Matejko's vision has materialized.
 
Matejko began work on this, one of his most important paintings, on Christmas Eve in 1879 and completed it in 1882. During a session of the National Sejm in Lvov on October 7, 1882, he presented the painting as a gift to the nation. It was to initiate the collections of the soon-to-be-restored Wawel Castle. Since the former royal residence was still occupied by Austrian troops, it was decided that, for the time being, the painting would be exhibited in the Sukiennice (Cloth Hall). In the 1930s it was to be put on view in the restored Senators’ Hall – at the time destined to become the Infantry Hall – in the Castle. Designed by Prof. Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz, the head of the Management for the Restoration of the Wawel Castle, the room was to hold The Prussian Homage and replicas of the banners of the Teutonic Knights captured at the battle of Grunwald in 1410. The renovation of the Senators' Hall, however, was not completed before the outbreak of World War II and consequently Matejko's canvas was not brought to Wawel.

While owned by the Wawel Royal Castle, the painting is on deposit with the National Museum in Cracow and is normally exhibited in the Gallery of Nineteenth-Century Polish Art in the Sukiennice.

The subject of the painting is an important event in Poland's history – the homage paid on April 10, 1525, to Sigismund I the Old (r. 1506–1548) by Albrecht von Hohenzollern (b. 1490–d. 1568) the last Grand Master of the Order of the Teutonic Knights. Matejko depicted the participants of the ceremony, including the royal family and the highest ranking dignitaries, watched by a crowd of lesser nobles and burghers. The expansive composition has often been compared to the works of Paolo Veronese.

Numerous people, including members of the aristocracy and clergy, the intelligentsia, and artistic circles posed for the historical figures. Thus, in his painting based on historical fact, Matejko also created a group portrait of his Cracovian contemporaries. Among them are members of Matejko's closest family and his friends. The artist’s wife Teodora served as the model for Queen Bona Sforza. His daughters, Helena and Beata, posed for Zofia Mazowiecka and Hedvige Jagellon (daughter of Sigismund the Old). His son Tadeusz is the page holding a helmet; his other son, Jerzy, is the boy turned toward the viewer at the bottom center of the composition. Next to him is Matejko’s friend, private secretary, and chronicler Marian Gorzkowski. His face turned toward the little girl in his arms (daughter Lina), he points up at the main scene. Thanks to Gorzkowski’s scrupulously kept diaries we are able to identify most of the people who posed for the painting. Matejko himself appears twice: as Stańczyk, the court jester, and as the Italian Bartolomeo Berrecci, the court architect and sculptor. Matejko employed a number of props – textiles, period clothing, pieces of armor – that he either owned or borrowed from private collections. Some of the costumes – like Stańczyk’s hat and Prince Sigismund Augustus’s robe – he designed himself. Today, many of these are in the collections of the National Museum in Cracow and the Princes Czartoryski Museum.

Agnieszka Janczyk

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The renovation of the Gallery of Nineteenth-Century Polish Art in the Sukiennice in Cracow necessitated the removal of all the paintings exhibited there. The boards of directors of the Wawel Royal Castle and the National Museum in Cracow decided to take advantage of the situation to move The Prussian Homage to Wawel for a complete conservation of the canvas, stretcher, and the gilded, carved, and polychromed frame. This extraordinarily complex interdisciplinary conservation project, which engaged numerous specialists from different scientific disciplines, took nearly two years to complete.

The project was financed in equal parts by the National Museum in Cracow from a grant from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and by the Wawel Royal Castle.

The Prussian Homage had been exhibited in several European cities in the past. Each showing of this immense – 388 x 785 cm – canvas required removing it from its stretcher, rolling it, and then remounting it on the stretcher, all of which weakened the paint layer and necessitated a number of conservations.

The painting had already been restored in 1915 and again in 1938. During World War II it was briefly moved to Zamość, where it was severely damaged. After it was restored in 1945, the Homage was installed the Sukiennice gallery. It was conserved in 1974 in preparation for an exhibition of Polish painting in Moscow, and again after its return.

During this latest conservation, among other treatments, a consolidation of paint and ground layers and optimal remounting on a self-adjusting stretcher were carried out. The painting regained its original, intense color; the delicate retouching of small losses does not detract from the original brushwork. The frame, too, was structurally strengthened and the damaged or missing carved ornamentation was restored or replaced.

Through the studies carried out in conjunction with this comprehensive restoration, this masterpiece has not only been returned to its original splendor but, our knowledge of the artist’s painting process and materials has been significantly deepened.

Ewa Wiłkojć


Exhibition Curator – Ewa Wiłkojć
Exhibition Design – Triada Design: Agnieszka Cupryś, Marek Liskiewicz, Marek Suchowiak
Curatorial Adviser – Jerzy T. Petrus
Conservation of the painting
Wawel Royal Castle Conservation Staff:
Joanna Bella, Angelika Bogdanowicz, Oliwia Buchwald-Zięcina, Beata Nowak, Ewa Wiłkojć, Justyna Wyszkowska-Baścik
National Museum in Cracow Conservation Staff:
Janusz Czop, Piotr Frączek, Dominika Sarkowicz, Elżbieta Zygier
Frame: Maciej Baran, Jan Wiłkojć
Conservation Advisers – Prof. Grażyna Korpal, Prof. Małgorzata Schuster-Gawłowska
Chemical Analysis – Dr. Paweł Karaszkiewicz
Self-adjusting Stretcher – Henryk Arendarski
Deinstallation and Transport – Firma Renesans Trans


Zoom in - "The Prussian Homage" Jan Matejko
"The Prussian Homage" Jan Matejko

Wawel Royal Castle. Twenty years of renovation 1990-2009.

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Temporary exhibition, September 16th - October 30th.
Krakow's Planty Park (near Poselska street).

Since 1990, the Wawel Royal Castle complex of historic buildings has undergone  comprehensive conservation and renovation, concluding work begun in 1905, when the Castle reverted to the Polish people. The interrupted restoration effort was taken up again following World War II, but left unfinished. The passage of time and the aging process of building materials—exacerbated by environmental pollution—necessitated such a comprehensive conservation project. Other factors included the changing needs and requirements of the Wawel Royal Castle’s growing collections, as well as the rising number of visitors, which by the end of the 20th century had reached 1 million per year in the exhibitions alone.
The guidelines for the projects realized over the last 20 years were established in the conservation program created in large part by the late Dr. Andrzej Fischinger and accepted in 1990 by the Civic Committee for the Restoration of Historic Monuments in Cracow (SKOZK). The conservation work has been financed by a subsidy from the National Fund for the Restoration of Historic Monuments in Cracow (NFRZK), by the Wawel Royal Castle (primarily with revenues from ticket sales), subsidies from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, funds from corporate sponsors and foundations, and, most recently the European Union funds the Infrastructure and Environment Program. The Board for the Restoration of Historic Sites in Cracow is the substitutive investor for projects financed by the NFRZK. This exhibition presents the most important conservation projects completed between 1990 and 2009, and documents the institution’s great financial and organizational effort, which has enhanced the Wawel Hill on both the utilitarian and aesthetic levels.

Organizers:

  • Zamek Królewski na Wawelu
  • Wydział Kultury Urzędu Miasta Krakowa
  • PERI Sp. z o.o.
The conservation of the Wawel Royal Castle complex is co-financed by the Civic Committee for the Restoration of Historic Monuments in Cracow (SKOZK).

Patron:
Gazeta Wyborcza
Boards: Ars Nominem
Photos: Archiwum Fotograficzne Zamku Królewskiego na Wawelu, P. Gąsior, M. Getler, S. Michta, L. Modelski, K. Włodek, E. Rachwał, R. Rolewicz, J. Rutkowski, P. Stępień
Text: mgr inż. arch. Piotr Stępień
Zoom in - Wawel – Conservation of the Royal Castle and other Structures, 1990–2009.
Wawel – Conservation of the Royal Castle and other Structures, 1990–2009.
Zoom in - Conservation of the West Façade of the Royal Castle
Conservation of the West Façade of the Royal Castle
Zoom in - Conservation of the South Façade of the Royal Castle
Conservation of the South Façade of the Royal Castle
Zoom in - Conservation of the East Façade of the Royal Castle
Conservation of the East Façade of the Royal Castle
Zoom in - Conservation of the Arcaded Courtyard and Reconstruction of the Paved Surfach
Conservation of the Arcaded Courtyard and Reconstruction of the Paved Surfach
Zoom in - Conservation of the Renaissance Friezes in the East Wing of the Castle
Conservation of the Renaissance Friezes in the East Wing of the Castle
Zoom in - Conservation of the Rooms with Cordova Leather Wall Coverings.
Conservation of the Rooms with Cordova Leather Wall Coverings.
Zoom in - Restoration of the Royal Garden
Restoration of the Royal Garden
Zoom in - Conservation of the Lubranka Tower (Senators’ Tower)
Conservation of the Lubranka Tower (Senators’ Tower)
Zoom in - Conservation of the Sandomierska Tower
Conservation of the Sandomierska Tower
Zoom in - Conservation of the Vasa Gate
Conservation of the Vasa Gate
Zoom in - Conservation of the Outer Walls – The Gate by the Lubranka Tower
Conservation of the Outer Walls – The Gate by the Lubranka Tower
Zoom in - Conservation of the Outer Walls – The Bastion below the Kurza Stopka (Hen’s Foot Tower)
Conservation of the Outer Walls – The Bastion below the Kurza Stopka (Hen’s Foot Tower)
Zoom in - Conservation of the Outer Walls – Tenaille Fortifications
Conservation of the Outer Walls – Tenaille Fortifications
Zoom in - Restoration of the Gothic House (building no. 7)
Restoration of the Gothic House (building no. 7)
Zoom in - Preservative Renovation and Modernization of the Former Royal Kitchens and Carriage House (building no. 5)
Preservative Renovation and Modernization of the Former Royal Kitchens and Carriage House (building no. 5)
Zoom in - Renovation and Modernization of the Former Barracks (building no. 9)
Renovation and Modernization of the Former Barracks (building no. 9)

"Vilnius Cathedral Treasury"

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temporary exhibition October 16, 2008 - January 15, 2009
The exhibition is a joint project of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, the Wawel Royal Castle in Krakow and the Archdiocese of Vilnius – the owner of the collection. The priceless objects on view dating from the 15th to the 20th centuries are the historic remains of the treasures of the most important cathedral in Lithuania. Considering the diversity of their origins and significance of the objects, the collection can be compared to the treasures of Wawel or Jasna Góra. For contemporary Lithuanians it represents the most important part of the country’s greatly diminished cultural heritage. In spite of the numerous upheavals which befell all the lands of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the splendid treasures of the goldsmith’s art commissioned by distinguished lay and clerical dignitaries as well as votive offerings from the people of Vilnius have survived to the present day. Of inestimable value, the Vilnius cathedral treasures are a testament to the artistry of Western European, Lithuanian, and Polish goldsmiths, and above all evidence of the multifarious political and intellectual links between the two countries. The most meaningful symbol of that coexistence remains the Late Gothic reliquary containing part of the arm of St. Stanislaus – sent from the Wawel sanctuary of the Patron Saint of Poland as a kind of foundation stone of the Church in Lithuania.

Organizers of the exhibition: Archidiecezja Wileńska, Zamek Królewski w Warszawie, Zamek Królewski na Wawelu

Sponsors: Bank PEKAO S.A., PZU S.A., FTT Stomil Wolbrom S.A.
Media Patrons: Telewizja Polska S.A. Oddział w Krakowie, Radio Kraków S.A., Dziennik Polski
OBJECTS
Fot. Kęstutis Stoškus

Arm reliquary (1500–1503) of Saint Stanislaus, bishop of Cracow, the chief patron saint of Poland and patron saint of Vilnius Cathedral.
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Monstrance (Master GL, Vilnius, 1535).
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Zoom in - Chalice (Vilnius or Riga, 1582–1583).
Chalice (Vilnius or Riga, 1582–1583).
Zoom in - Bracelet, Vilnius (?), 1st quarter of the 17th century.
Bracelet, Vilnius (?), 1st quarter of the 17th century.
Zoom in - Chalice, Andreas I Mackensen
Chalice, Andreas I Mackensen
Zoom in - Chalice (detail), Andreas I Mackensen
Chalice (detail), Andreas I Mackensen
Zoom in - Relics of Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, (Florence, before 1684)
Relics of Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, (Florence, before 1684)
Zoom in - Relics of Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi (detail), (Florence, before 1684)
Relics of Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi (detail), (Florence, before 1684)
Register (Vilnius, 1671) of the Archfraternity of the Virgin Mary at the Vilnius Cathedral.
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Chasuble (2nd quarter of the 19th century).

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Zoom in - Monstrance, (Wolfgang Caspar Kolb, Augsburg, 1691–1695?)
Monstrance, (Wolfgang Caspar Kolb, Augsburg, 1691–1695?)
Zoom in - Monstrance, detail (Wolfgang Caspar Kolb, Augsburg, 1691–1695?)
Monstrance, detail (Wolfgang Caspar Kolb, Augsburg, 1691–1695?)
Zoom in - „Saint John the Evangelist”, Szymon Czechowicz (1689–1775), ca. 1751
„Saint John the Evangelist”, Szymon Czechowicz (1689–1775), ca. 1751

"Memories of the Relief of Vienna"

With this exhibition Wawel Royal Castle is celebrating the 325th anniversary of the battle of Vienna, which falls this year. The battle at the gates of Vienna fought in 1683 is considered to be one of the most significant events in the history of European warfare. Its consequences were important and far-reaching in both political and religious terms—it severed the progress of the Turks deeper into European territory and marked the beginning of the decline of the Ottoman Empire.

On September 12, 1683 King John III Sobieski led the Polish and allied Imperial army to victory over the Turks led by Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa. The battle quickly passed into legend. Over time this event became one of the elements which formed the Polish national character, playing a distinctive role during the period of the Partitions of Poland.

The remembrance of the glorious victory; the courageous king; the valour of the Polish knighthood; fabulous battle trophies; and respect for the valiant enemy were cherished. This all found its reflection in painting, sculpture, music, literature, even folk tales. Monuments were erected to the heroic monarch, among them the magnificent one in Łazienki Park in Warsaw (unveiled in 1788, designed by André Le Brun and sculpted by Franciszek Pinck) and in Lvov (sculpted by Tadeusz Barącz and unveiled in 1898). Presentations of trophies were organized: 1683 – Cracow, 1684 – Żółkiew, 1783 – Nieśwież. Significant anniversaries were celebrated with great ceremony. This did not only serve “to ‘raise spirits’ by depicting the nation’s great and noble qualities,” as Prof. Jerzy Szablowski, former Director of the Wawel Royal Castle aptly observed, “but also to encourage reflection on the causes of Polands tragic fate in later years.”

Cracow and Wawel played essential roles in these efforts. News of the victory was sent by the king to the royal seat in Cracow; the first battle trophies from the Viennese campaign were brought to Wawel Castle; and in Łobzów, a royal country residence, trophies were presented for the first time at the end of 1683. The centerpiece of the 200th anniversary celebrations of the battle of Vienna was a great jubilee exhibition illustrating the reign of John III Sobieski held in the Sukiennice (Cloth Hall). In 1933 the 250th anniversary of the Vienna victory was celebrated in similar style. On that occasion a the Castle held a magnificent historical exhibition, organized its curator, Stanisław Świerz-Zaleski. In 1983, Wawel Castle marked the 300th anniversary of the battle with a landmark exhibition organized by Prof. Szablowski.

The present exhibition contributes to this fine tradition from a different perspective. It examines how the memory of the victory at Vienna was preserved and celebrated over the centuries. It presents works linked with the Viennese legend from the Wawel Museum collections, dating from the end of the 17th to the end of the 20th centuries. Included are treasured works of art and significant historical mementoes; although some of them are modest, everyday objects, together they reflect the continuing presence of the victory at Vienna in the consciousness of the Polish people.


Curatorial Adviser: Jerzy T. Pestrus
Exhibition Curator: Kazimierz Kuczman
Assisted by: Dorota Gabryś, Agnieszka Janczyk
Exhibition Design: Triada Design: Agnieszka Cupryś, Marek Liskiewicz, Marek Suchowiak

Sponsors: Bank PEKAO S.A., PZU S.A., FTT Stomil Wolbrom S.A.
Media Patrons: Telewizja Polska S.A. Oddział w Krakowie, Radio Kraków S.A., Dziennik Polski

"Acquisitions 2007"

Zoom in - Pieces from the Meissen Swan Service, fot. S. Michta
Pieces from the Meissen Swan Service, fot. S. Michta
March – May 2008

This exhibition presents a selection of works acquired by the Wawel Royal Castle in 2007 and is the most recent in a series illustrating the development of the collections. Though small in number—only 45 objects—the exhibited works appreciably complement the museum’s existing holdings.

Among last year’s acquisitions is an important group of kontush sashes—the most characteristic and beautiful element of the Polish national costume—from the Sapieha collection, dispersed by the communists after World War II. Over the years, the Royal Castle has worked steadfastly to reunite this significant collection. Acquisitions related to the Lanckoroński family, important collectors and major donors to the museum, include a unique set of 19th-century seals bearing the family crest. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a group or four pieces from the Meissen Swan Service—one of the most famous porcelain dinner services ever produced—made during the years 1737–1742 for Count Heinrich Brühl, the omnipotent minister of Augustus III, king of and elector of Saxony.

Other works on view include paintings, prints, and drawings dating from the 18th to the 20th centuries; clocks, such as an 18th-century cartel-type clock by the Parisian clockmaker Jacques-Jérôme Gudin; and silverwork.

The „Collector’s Cabinet"

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The “Collector’s Cabinet,” located on the second floor of the Danish Tower is part of the permanent exhibition “State Rooms.” The intimately-sized room, situated before the entrance to a loggia in the part of the Castle rebuilt by Sigismund III Vasa, currently features a baroque-style ceiling and cordovan wall-coverings. When opened, the small window in the northern wall reveals a surprising prospect onto the adjacent royal chapel The exhibition within has been arranged in the spirit of the interiors of the Vasa period. It was to the intimate spaces in this part of the Castle that the king would retire to pursue his artistic and intellectual interests and surrender to his passion for collecting.

The spontaneous and informal arrangement of the room evokes the atmosphere of western European Kunstkammer interiors, where collectors gathered not only works of art but also rare and exotic works of nature. Such interiors were often represented in paintings by artists from the Francken family, a Flemish dynasty of painters. An excellent example is a 1626 picture depicting the collector’s cabinet of Ladislas IV Vasa (Royal Castle, Warsaw). In keeping with the spirit of such spaces, the nature of the exhibition is “permanently temporary,” that is objects can be added, exchanged, rearranged.

The cabinet includes works from various countries, dating from antiquity to the 17th century. The cut-off date is 1668 – the year of the abdication of John Casimir, which marked the end of the Vasa Dynasty. Among the nearly 50 objects exhibited in the cabinet are about 30 paintings, as well as sculptures, furniture, and metal objects. The works on view constitute an important part of the collections, but could not be accommodated in the permanent exhibition. Among the paintings are works by such celebrated Netherlandish, German, and Italian masters, or their workshops, as Ambrosius Benson, Berhel Bruyn, Joos van Cleve, Peter Stevens, Lucas Cranach the Elder, and Guercino.
Exhibition open:
January 29 – February 8, 2008 (weekdays only)
Tuesday – Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday–Monday, closed

The “Collector’s Cabinet” is part of the exhibition “State Rooms” and is included in the ticket price.

"Art More Precious Then Gold"

In two rooms of the Royal Wawel Castle’s first-floor, in the Royal Private Apartments, an exhibition Art More Precious Then Gold was opened on 23rd September 1997. It consists of the masterpieces of the Little Poland medieval art from the National Museum in Cracow collection, which was previously displayed in the Szołayski’s House at the Szczepański Square. For the time of the Szołayski’s House adaptation works, in order to house there one of the National Museum’s departments – the Stanisław Wyspiański Museum, the medieval collection has been temporarily shown at the Royal Wawel Castle.  This exhibition arranged by the curator Franciszek Stolot, PhD, was supposed to stay at the castle till the end of the renovation of the Bishop Erazm Ciołek’s House  - the medieval collection new site. Since all the adaptation works have just been terminated, the collection will be ultimately transferred from the castle to its new location. That is why 22nd April 2007 is the last day when it will be open to the public in the chambers of the Royal Wawel Castle.

Art More Precious Then Gold presents the achievements of the polish medieval art from the end of 14th till the beginnings of 16th centuries. In the first room the most important paintings are the Epitaph tablet of Wierzbięta of Branice (after 1425) and the fragments of two Mikołaj Haberschrack’s altarpieces from the St. Augustine’s and the Dominican churches (1465 and after 1468).  The beautiful Virgin and Child from Krużlowa and the well-preserved Christ on a donkey from Szydłowiec are the most noticeable among the sculpted works.

In the second room the Sending away the Apostles from Mikuszowice (ca. 1470, formerly in the Wawel Cathedral Chapel of the Holy Cross) and the Annunciation (ca.1490) attributed to Jan Wielki, the Holy Trinity from Dębno (ca. 1510-1520), as well as the

St. Anna and the Virgin and Child (1519) – the votive picture of the great chancellor Krzysztof Szydłowiecki – draw the attention.  Nevertheless, the most important masterpiece is the gothic-renaissance triptych of the Dormition of the Virgin (1521) by the court painter Michael Lancz from Kitziengen, commissioned by the Cracow bishop Jan Konarski for his chapel in the Wawel Cathedral.

"Purchases, Deposits, Gifts: 2000-2006"

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July – October 2007

The exhibition will present a selection from among the purchases and gifts that have enriched the collections of the museum over the past six years. The centerpiece of the exhibition will be the last gift of Prof. Karolina Lanckorońska – priceless Italian paintings from the late 14th and early 15th century; the Lanckoroński cameo, one of the finest examples Christian iconography of the first millennium; and antique Greek pottery. The exhibition will also encompass heirlooms associated with Polish kings, among them a cameo with the portrait of Sigismund Augustus; the Cross of the Order of St. Stanislaus, with the royal monogram, SAR (Stanislaus Augustus Rex); a halberd used by the guard of Sigismund III Vasa; and a large equestrian portrait of John Casimir, one of a group of royal portraits from the palace at Sucha Bezkidzka. Also on view will be objects associated with culture of the szlachta or gentry, among them beautiful karabela sabers, kontusz sashes, and luxurious, richly decorated silver objects.


Sponsors: PZU SA

Media Sponsorship: TVP 3, Dziennik Polski

Zoom in - Adoration of the Magi, Italy, Florentine school, end of the 14th c. Gift of Karolina Lanckorońska, 2000.
Adoration of the Magi, Italy, Florentine school, end of the 14th c. Gift of Karolina Lanckorońska, 2000.
Zoom in - Cross of the Order of St. Stanislaus (front). Purchase, Bank BPH S.A. Gift, 2006.
Cross of the Order of St. Stanislaus (front). Purchase, Bank BPH S.A. Gift, 2006.
Zoom in - Vase table clock. Augsburg, David Fronmiller, end of the 16th c. Purchase, 2003.
Vase table clock. Augsburg, David Fronmiller, end of the 16th c. Purchase, 2003.

"Amber – Myrta"

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Exhibition under the patronage of prof. Władysław Bartoszewski
June 14 – September 30, 2007
Wawel Royal Castle, Exhibition and Conference Centre

Works, astonishing in scale, variety of form and function, and above all the precise use of the full range of complicated techniques derived from the until now unsurpassed 17th century Gdansk amber workshops, are today the specialty of one workshop. It is the workshop of Lucjan Myrta in Sopot.

These words, written by Wiesław Gierłowski in the 2004 book chronicling the artist’s oeuvre, are the perfect introduction to the exhibition jointly organized this year by Lucjan Myrta and Wawel Royal Castle. From June 14 through September 16, 2007, Wawel’s Exhibition and Conference Centre will host Amber – Myrta, an exhibition showcasing the achievements of master amber artist Lucjan Myrta’s nearly forty-year career as creator and collector. For the first time his masterwork — the Amber Jewelry Cabinet, an excepctional and unique object surpassing in scale all hitherto known decorative art objects executed in amber — is exhibited publicly. The 700-kilogram jewelry box, with an interior reminiscent of the rooms of a palace, took the artist nearly twelve years to complete. In this work Myrta — drawing on his experience, employing every possible technique, and all imaginable types and colors of amber — scales the heights of artistry. The decorative cycle of the Jewelry Cabinet, executed in intaglio and relief, tells the story of the earthly life of the carpenter from Nazareth, the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The large central scene depicting the Sermon on the Mount, with the figure of Christ centrally located, is surrounded by smaller scenes illustrating his works — aiding the outcast, healing the sick, and raising the dead. More than a masterpiece of technical and artistic virtuosity, this work embodies the artist’s faith and ideals, and is a personal reflection of his deep sorrow and unrelenting grief for the loss of his beloved daughter, Ewelina. The tetragram ודדודי — Jehovah, Jahwe, who watches over His Son — is placed in a heavenly arc on the coping of the Jewelry Cabinet. This motif was inspired by a painting on the ceiling of the Great Council Room in the Gdańsk City Hall. The exhibition also comprises other works by the artist such as jewelry caskets, clocks, lamps, candle holders, vases, sculptures, inlaid amber “paintings,” and table decotrations. These works refer to the decorative arts tradition that blossomed 300-400 years ago in Poland. Exquisite objects much like these were created to fill commisions for kings and magnates.

Also on view are selections from the artist’s extensive collection, numbering in the tens of thousands of objects, including rare examples of natural unprocessed amber and single pieces weighing from 1,000 to 5,950 grams. Placed in vitrines are pieces of fossil-bearing amber, including an exceedingly rare and valuable specimen with a lizard and tick trapped inside—one of only two known to exist.

Eye-catching groupings are made up of selections from among the artist’s 3,000-piece collection of colored amber and, exhibited on pieces of driftwood, gemstones occurring in Poland. Archeological objects, plaster casts of Roman seals, and antique ivory round out the exhibiton.

Media Sponsorship: TVP 3 Kraków, Trójka PR, Radio Kraków, Rzeczpospolita, Dziennik Polski, Art & Business, Spotkania z Zabytkami, Empik


Two publications accompany the exhibition: a hand-finished, cloth-bound 300-page collectors-edition album with gilt edgings (180 zl/50 euro); and a 160-page paperback edition (30 zl/8 euro). Both books are available in Polish, English, and German versions.
Zoom in - Amber Jewelry Cabinet, fot.MarekŻak
Amber Jewelry Cabinet, fot.MarekŻak
Zoom in - Amber Jewelry Cabinet, fot. S. Michta
Amber Jewelry Cabinet, fot. S. Michta

"Imago Florae: The Meeting of Artist and Scientist"

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July – September, 2007
The Castle at Pieskowa Skała (a Department of Wawel Royal Castle)

The exhibition will present “portraits” of flowers—created from the 16th to the 19th century—in splendid, brilliantly illustrated herbals, which feature descriptions of plants, where they grow, and their usefulness to people and portfolios of flower pictures, or florilegia, that were destined for collectors and connoisseurs.


A special attraction will be the inclusion of the castle garden, which visitors can normally only view from the castle windows but not enter. Here, in the final “gallery” visitors will be able to compare the some of the plants and flowers they have seen inside with living specimens growing in the geometrically arranged beds of the Italianate garden.


The masterworks of botanical illustration presented in Imago Florae are rarely exhibited and therefore not familiar to a wider public. The creators of the works on view are regarded as the greatest artists in the field of botanical illustration. The exhibited works were executed in various techniques including etching, mezzotint, and hand-colored engraving.

All of the plants represented were the object of fascination and study for both artists and scientists, and the exhibited botanical illustrations are the fruit of their joint efforts, in which sometimes art leads the way, sometimes science.

Sponsors: PZU SA, Polan Spółka z o.o.
Media Sponsorship: TVP 3, Dziennik Polski, Gazeta Antykwaryczna, Spotkania z Zabytkami
Castle of Pieskowa Skala (012) 389 60 04
www.pieskowaskala.eu
Zoom in - "Plantae Selectae", Ch. J. Trev; fot. Stanisław Michta
"Plantae Selectae", Ch. J. Trev; fot. Stanisław Michta
Zoom in - "Plantae Selectae", Ch. J. Trev; fot. Stanisław Michta
"Plantae Selectae", Ch. J. Trev; fot. Stanisław Michta

"Oriental Carpets and Textiles from the Kulczycki Collection"

Zoom in - Verneh  soumak, South-Eastern Caucasus, late 19th century, Zakopane, Tatra Museum
Verneh soumak, South-Eastern Caucasus, late 19th century, Zakopane, Tatra Museum
July-October 2006

The collection of Oriental carpets and textiles was built up by Włodzimierz and Jerzy Kulczycki in Lvov over the first four decades of the 20th century. The first purchase confirmed by a bill of 1906 is symbolically accepted as the beginning of the assemblage. Owing to his great passion for collecting and study, as early as the period of World War I the founder of the collection Professor Włodzimierz Kulczycki (1862-1936), a veterinary surgeon and a lecturer and rector of the Academy of Veterinary Medicine in Lvov, became an eminent researcher on and connoisseur of Oriental textiles, one of the first to introduce into the Polish literature the ideas and terminology from this domain.

He accumulated an excellent collection of carpets, kilims, and hangings, numbering more than 200 items. Many of them were shown in Warsaw (1926 do 1927, 1935), Lvov (1928), and Cracow (1934) as part of retrospective exhibitions of Islamic art, of which he was one of the initiators. His interests were continued by his son, Jerzy Kulczycki (1898-1974), classical archaeologist, professor of Warsaw University. In 1946 he took to Warsaw the textiles rescued during the bombardment of Lvov in 1941. In 1964 he sold 66 objects selected as "court carpets" to the Wawel Museum. In accordance with Jerzy Kulczycki's wish, in 1977 his widow, Anna Kulczycka, donated the second part to the Tatra Museum in Zakopane (65 items). She took up the post of curator of the set there; now she is an honorary curator. A considerable proportion of the collection has remained in the family's hands.

In 2006, on the centenary of Włodzimierz Kulczycki's first acquisition, it has been decided that the collection will for the first time be exhibited temporarily in its entirety, after several decades of separation. It comprises products ranging in date from the 16th to 19th centuries and representing four main areas of the Near and Middle East - Turkey, Persia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia - that is, the regions with which Poland maintained lively contacts for centuries. This is the most important display of Oriental textiles in the history of Polish museum exhibitions, besides the permanent show of Teresa Sahakian's collection presented to the Royal Castle in Warsaw.

Room I contains the largest set of objects intended for one specific purpose - 28 Turkish prayer rugs - used by the Muslims for their religious practices. Only a few European museums can boast such a group of diverse rugs from Anatolia. They represent several centres such as Ghiordes, Ushak, Kula, Melas, Ladik, Konya, Mudjur, and others.

Outstanding among the Persian textiles (Room II) is a precious, so-called garden, carpet, giving an aerial view of silhouettes of trees and outlines of flowerbeds and a  river, in topographic arrangement. Here also are rare Persian prayer rugs, including a silk specimen inscribed with quotations from the Koran and laudatory invocations, and arcaded hangings threaded with gold and silver, decorated with floral spray motifs.

Caucasian products (Room IV) attract attention by their colours and remarkable forms of "palmette" motifs in Shirvan rugs and in those of Kazak and Talysh types.

In the group of Central Asian textiles (Room III) smaller-size saddlebags predominate; they are made in the knotted-carpet technique with exceptionally dense knotting. Their palette is dominated by saturated red with an admixture of violet, and the play of geometric figures distinguishes their ornamentation. Particularly noteworthy in this group are two carpets of Khotan type, originating from the borderland between Turkestan and China, which are covered with stylized vegetal motifs.

On display in the last room (Annexe) is the archival documentation relating to the creators of the collection and to its history.


Chef Sponsor: PZU S.A.

Sponsors: Polpharma, Stacja Narciarska "Kotelnica" w Białce Tatrzańskiej, Villa Vita - Janusz Majcher

Media Sponorship: What Where When, Dziennik Polski, Spotkania z  Zabytkami, Dobre Wnętrze, Radio Kraków


Zoom in - Hanging, Persia, late 17th or early 18th century, Cracow, Wawel Royal Castle
Hanging, Persia, late 17th or early 18th century, Cracow, Wawel Royal Castle
Zoom in - Kirman  prayer  rug, East Persia, 19th century, Cracow, Wawel Royal Castle
Kirman prayer rug, East Persia, 19th century, Cracow, Wawel Royal Castle
Zoom in - So-called  garden  carpet, North-Western Persia, Kurdistan (?), 18th century, Cracow, Wawel Royal Castle
So-called garden carpet, North-Western Persia, Kurdistan (?), 18th century, Cracow, Wawel Royal Castle
Zoom in - Shabrack (detail), Caucasus, late 19th or early 20th century, Cracow, Wawel Royal Castle
Shabrack (detail), Caucasus, late 19th or early 20th century, Cracow, Wawel Royal Castle
Zoom in - Ghiordes  prayer  rug, Turkey, West Anatolia, late 18th century, Cracow, Wawel Royal Castle
Ghiordes prayer rug, Turkey, West Anatolia, late 18th century, Cracow, Wawel Royal Castle
Zoom in - So-called garden carpet (detail), North-Western Persia, Kurdistan (?), 18th century, Cracow, Wawel Royal Castle
So-called garden carpet (detail), North-Western Persia, Kurdistan (?), 18th century, Cracow, Wawel Royal Castle

Georges de La Tour "At the Money-Lender's"

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Exhibition of the picture from the Lvov Art Gallery
23 V - 22 VI 2003
 
 A display in the royal palace at Wawel of an excellent painting by George de La Tour, "At the Money-Lender's", on loan from the Lvov Art Gallery, is the main event of the Days of Lvov in Cracow, which are being celebrated in 2003. The centuries-long political, economic, and cultural relations between the two cities, even closer in the time of Galicia's autonomy and also strong in the interwar period, are being revived in recent times after several decades of separation. Here a considerable role is played by a collaboration between the Cracow and the Lvov museums. An exhibition of the French painting at Wawel, proposed by the director of the Lvov Art Gallery, Boris Voznitsky, has been realized by the Cracow City Council - organizer of the Days of Lvov in Cracow - and the Wawel Royal Castle.
The painting, a work of the French master of chiaroscuro, a Tenebrist, an artist imbuing ordinary genre scenes poetry, was once ranked among the most precious pieces in the Dąmbski picture gallery. In 1829, according to the will of Tomasz Dąmbski, this family collection of mostly West European paintings became the property of the Lubomirski Museum in Lvov, which had been established six years earlier at the Ossoliński National Institute (Ossolineum). However, the inheritors of the donor withdrew the collection from the museum. In 1854 the Dąmbski assemblage was made over to the Society of Friends of Fine Arts in Cracow, and many years later, in 1903, deposited in Rzeszów.
Thanks to the favourable attitude of Stanisław Dąmbski, one of fourth-generation inheritors, the unclear matter of the ownership of the collection was finally decided in the court in favour of the Ossolineum. This occurred in 1929, exactly a hundred years after Tomasz Dąmbski's decision. In view of the problems of space faced by the Lubomirski Museum, part of the recovered collection was taken to Lvov; the rest remains to this day at the Regional Museum in Rzeszów. During the Second World War the Lvov pictures from the Dąmbski collection were scattered. The work of Georges de La Tour passed to the Lvov Picture Gallery (now the Lvov Art Gallery). The artistic context for the painting from Lvov is provided by its two French contemporaries shown beside it, depicting The Concert, both from the collections of the Cracow museums - the Wawel Royal Castle and the National Museum (on permanent exhibition at the Princes Czartoryski Museum).
The year 2003 marks the centenary of transportation of the Dąmbski picture gallery from Cracow. The painting of Georges de La Tour recalls the past links of the Lvov collection with Cracow.
 
Kazimierz Kuczman
 
Georges de La Tour (1598-1653) - born at Vic-sur-Seille in Lorraine. In 1617 he married the daughter of Jean le Nerf, a newly-ennobled purveyor of silverware to Henry, Duke of Lorraine. Thus the son of a baker from Vic entered the circle of the Lorraine nobility. In 1620 he settled at Lunéville, where he spent the rest of his life and where he died. It is supposed that between 1605 and 1610 he was trained in the workshop of Jacques Bellange, court painter in Nancy. The decisive impact on his artistic development was made by the contemporary Lorraine painting, in which Mannerism and Realism predominated and which was represented by such artists as Bellange, Claude Deruet, Jacques Callot, and Jean Leclerc. It is not known whether echoes of the art of Caravaggio and his followers, especially Utrecht painters, are the result of La Tour's visits to Rome and the Netherlands or whether he rather saw the works of those artists at his own place, in Lorraine. In 1639, after the devastation and pillage of Lunéville by the French troops during the Thirty Years' War, he went to Paris, perhaps in the hope that there he would attract a new clientele. The visit must have been a success, since he came back with the title of peintre ordinaire du roi, accorded to him by King Louis XIII, and with the royal privilege exempting him from some financial dues. The years 1644-1651 were a period of his prosperity - La Tour received a good number of commissions, especially from the town of Lunéville. He was a well-known and popular painter, his works being kept, among other places, in the collections of King Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu. He focused his attention on religious and genre subjects, depicting almost exclusively human figures, with no references to the world around him. Space is abstract and the composition simplified, subordinated to definite rigours. Many of his pictures are known from contemporary replicas and copies, this encouraging the supposition that the artist ran a fairly large workshop which copied the paintings enjoying great popularity and that perhaps he frequently signed these workshop pieces. After his death, he was completely forgotten. It was only in the 1920s that attempts were made to reconstruct his oeuvre, which - albeit the artist's biography is rather well known - continue to this day and still meet with considerable difficulties owing to only very few indisputable points of reference.

"AT THE MONEY-LENDER'S"
     Oil on canvas, 99 x 152 cm, signed at bottom right: De la Tour; date illegible It originates from the collection of General Charles Eugene of Lorraine, Duke of Lambesc (1754-1825), married to Anna née Cetner, by her first marriage Sanguszko and by the second Potocka (1758-1814). Probably in the early 19th century it became the property of Łukasz Dąmbski (1751-1824), and later - together with his collection - passed to the Princes Lubomirski Museum in Lvov. Since 1940 it has been kept in the then established Lvov Picture Gallery.
       First on display at the Orangery of the Tuileries Palace in Paris (Georges de La Tour, Paris 1972, cat. no. 32). In 1922 on exhibition at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nancy (L'art. En Lorraine au temps de Jacques Callot, Paris 1992, cat. no. 91). In 1996-1997 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington and at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth (Georges de La Tour and His World, Washington 1996, cat. no. 1), and from October 1997 to January 1998 at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais in Paris (Georges de La Tour, Paris 1997, cat. no. 17).
Joanna Winiewicz-Wolska
hometop