It can be boldly stated that the famous “Z. village” has always been known as a place where the human species known as artists are present in unprecedented density. The majority of respondents to the question: “Who do you associate Zakopane with?” would reply “Witkacy”.
In 1918, the Szymanowski family lost the family manor in Tymoszówka, Russia. Karol Szymanowski lived in hotels, boarding houses, and with his family ever since. At the furnished “Atma” Villa rented in Zakopane, the composer lived between 1930 and 1935. Two armchairs made by the Ład Artists Cooperative are the only pieces of furniture to have ever been bought by Szymanowski to furnish the “Atma” Villa.
The first signs of interest in the culture of the highlanders emerged before Stanisław Witkiewicz’s arrival in Zakopane. The first Woodcarving School had functioned in this town since 1876. It was later renamed, the Imperial and Royal Professional School for Wood Industry (k.k. Fachschule für Holzbearbeitung in Zakopane), in which professional craftsmen were trained. The school operated under the rule of the Austrian occupier, and its curriculum propagated Tirol styles. Despite this, it was this school's pupils who created the first works inspired by the art of Podhale.
The beginnings of tourism in the Tatra Mountains date back to the 2nd half of the 19th century. In 1873, Galicyjskie Towarzystwo Tatrzańskie [The Tatra Society in Galicia] was established with its aim of marking out routes, building mountain shelters, doing ethnographic research and describing the uniqueness of the area (maps were created and meteorological phenomena were observed). All this brought tourists to the mountain trails.
The Tatra Mountains have always fascinated, delighted and bewildered everyone with their power. They have threatened us with their volatility and have punished daredevils severely who have given up their caution. Ultimately, they have been a real artistic challenge for all those who wished to tame them and include all that has always fallen outside any frames on a flat piece of cloth or paper.
Zakopane style in miniature The wooden mock-up of the Pod Jedlami House is definitely one of the favourite exhibits of visitors to the Museum of Zakopane Style in the Koliba villa. Why is it so popular? It is definitely due to the artistry of completion and how it fires up the viewers’ imagination.
Wojciech Brzega was a designer of furniture which can be found in the collection of the Pieniny Museum, and which was made in the Zakopane style at the request of Jan Wiktor, a writer. The most impressive exhibit is an oak sideboard. It is one of the elements of a full set of furniture in the Zakopane style which can be found in the Pieniny Museum.
Apart from paintings and sculptures, the collection of the Art Department of the Tatra Museum also includes a rich set of furniture. The visitors are particularly attracted to the Zakopane-style furniture. A desk and a chair designed by Wojciech Brzega can be seen, among other things, on permanent display at the Museum of the Zakopane Style at the Koliba Villa.
A well-known Polish proverb says that laughter is good for you. Hence, ancient theatre already knew comedies and the art of caricature. Artur Schrőder wrote that the caricature "must recreate the real, true features of the model, exaggerated and accentuated in a specific, comical way, but in a way that the audience could easily recognise. A caricaturist must be an excellent psychologist."
Zakopane, located at the foot of the Tatra Mountains, surrounded by a picturesque landscape, used to be a paradise for all kinds of artists. Besides inspirations they could come across at every turn, they could also experience true creative and intellectual freedom there.
Highlanders kept tobacco (habryka) in leather pouches, the so-called miechóry, which were made of cat skin, sheepskin or rabbit skin. They also kept tobacco in pouches made from specially prepared pigs’ bladders, the so-called maharzyny, which were tied up with a leather strap. The tobacco stored in them did not lose its natural moisture and did not get mouldy.
What is the difference between bagpipes and kobza pipes?
People often think these two instruments are the same but, in fact, they differ in practically all aspects. For one thing, they belong to two separate groups. Bagpipes, also popular in Poland, are wind instruments made of leather and wooden/osseous elements (read more...
On utility and artistic national duty... Apart from paintings and sculptures, the collections of the Art Division at the Tatra Museum also include a rich collection of furniture. Visitors pay the greatest attention to the ones in the Zakopane style. The permanent exhibition at the Museum of Zakopane Style in the Koliba villa features, among others, a desk and a chair designed by Wojciech Brzega.
Small is beautiful... Museums are usually associated with large cool rooms with beautiful paintings hanging on the walls and accompanied by remarkable sculptures. In this totally undisturbed silence the works arouse universal respect and admiration. Are museums just about paintings and sculptures?
Everyday companions We buy, receive and collect... items of so-called everyday use that are faithful companions of our reality. We try to surround ourselves with objects that bring us pleasure, that cause our hearts to beat faster and that we take a liking to at the first glance. The space that surrounds us is important. We run away from “ordinariness” and “mediocrity.” We always try to decorate it somehow. The same applies to the past. In the second half of the 19th century in England, artists who were dissatisfied with mass machine production started the Arts and Crafts Movement. They wanted to re-create what was beautiful and noble in everyday-use objects. This initiative reverberated throughout the whole of Europe, including also Poland of that time.
The photograph shows a big group of highlanders standing by a new parish church at Krupówki (the Church of Sacred Family). It is 1901. The picture can give you some idea about highlanders’ dress and customs, and shows a fragmentary view of the new church back then. A part of an album from a Kraków family of Pusłowscy, the picture is a great example of amateur toned black and white photography.
Although bagpipes are usually associated with Scotland, one must not forget that they were one of the most popular folk instruments used in old Poland! They were also known in Podhale, where nearly every village had its piper who earned his living by playing this instrument...
Pipers usually made their own instruments, but sometimes they bought elements that were harder to make (e.g., drone or head) from the Slovakian Liptov. Bagpipes could also be ordered from specialised manufacturers. These instruments were made of easily accessible materials. The bellows were usually made of uncut ram or goat skin in full that was not tanned, but only...
Intimate conversation One of the major institutions in Zakopane was the School of Wood Industry. It was founded upon the initiative of the Tatra Society in 1876 as a wood carving school “to support the poor highland population and local industry”, over time it became an important point on the cultural map of Zakopane because it educated many artists who made great contributions to its art.