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This mock-up is one of the most valuable objects in the collections of HMK, related to the scenographic activity of Stanisław Wyspiański. As an experienced theatre practitioner and stage director of his dramas, Wyspiański made scenography sketches, decorations, and costume designs, as well as mock-ups.

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This mock-up is one of the most valuable objects in the collections of HMKHMK, related to the scenographic activity of Stanisław Wyspiański. As an experienced theatre practitioner and stage director of his dramas, Wyspiański made scenography sketches, decorations, and costume designs, as well as mock-ups. This is the only preserved model of the first act of Legend II, made by Stanisław Wyspiański in 1904 in Lviv. It was created during the preparations for the premiere of Legend II  (directed by Ludwik Solski) which took place on 26 January 1905 at the Municipal Theatre in Lviv. During the construction of the model, a friend of Wyspiański, Stanisław Eljasz-Radzikowski, helped him. Zenon Parvi, a relative of Wyspiański, recalled this period:

“In June 1904, when I was in Lviv, I visited Wyspiański living in the European Hotel and busy building a scene from cardboard, complete in the smallest details, which was to be in the Lviv theatre for the Legend exhibition. In gluing this scene, cutting out paper decorations and paper people, Wyspiański was helped by his friend, Stanisław Eljasz-Radzikowski PhD, and Mr. Ludwik Solski, then director of the Lviv stage (Wyspiański in the eyes of contemporaries, edited by L. Płoszewski, Kraków 1971, vol. I, pp. 39–40).”

The mock-up is a three-dimensional realisation of Wyspiański's drawings, showing the set design for the first act of Legend II. It presents the Wawel wooden chamber in four plans, at the same time presenting an innovative way for Wyspiański to compose a multi-dimensional set design. The first plan — in the likeness of the framework of the stage — depicts a roof made of beams and struts, reinforced in the middle part by a second analogous structure, with oblique hurdles on the side. The second plan — the interior of the room with a window in the left wall — has a raised shutter with a bench beneath it. On the right, there is a semi-circular entrance with a rectangular door, next to a fireplace with a hearth. In the rear wall, we can see a semi-circular entrance hole with the type of portal finished with a peak. The third plan consists of an indoor porch with a carved balustrade. The fourth plan shows sections of Wawel buildings with a tower covered by a tent roof in the middle; the background — painted in watercolour — is a view of the Vistula.
Wyspiański used innovative solutions for the construction of decorations; namely, he painted the backstage and prospects on various plans, creating the effect of depth. The model is an example of Wyspiański's innovative approach to the composition of the stage space, consisting of the creation of three-dimensional architectural decorations — which marked a departure from flat painting decorations — and was then a novelty in the Polish theatre.

Elaborated by Małgorzata Palka (Historical Museum of the City of Kraków), © all rights reserved

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Photography of Wyspiański and Mehoffer

In the collection of the Museum of Ziemia Biecka in Biecz, there is a unique photo from 1889, depicting the students of the second year of thethen School of Fine Arts (today’s Academy of Fine Arts) in Kraków, during an educational trip around the regions of Sądecczyzna and Biecz under the supervision of Prof. Władysław Łuszkiewicz.

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St. Wyspiański, J. Mehoffer, Maszkowski
and Cinciel in the church in Libusza, 1889.
From Museum of Ziemia Biecka in Biecz.

In the collection of the Museum of Ziemia Biecka in Biecz, there is a unique photo from 1889, depicting the students of the second year of thethen School of Fine Arts (today’s Academy of Fine Arts) in Kraków, during an educational trip around the regions of Sądecczyzna and Biecz under the supervision of Prof. Władysław Łuszkiewicz. The photograph was taken inside the church in Libusza, located seven kilometres from Biecz. The figure staring at us, the first person from the left, is Stanisław Wyspiański. Standing next to him, sketching some element of the church’s furnishings is Józef Mehoffer.

The participants of the trip arrived at Biecz on 2 August 1889. They stayed at the monastery of the Franciscans of Primitive Observance. From there, they left for nearby towns, looking for themes on which to base their sketches. Biecz alone fascinated Wyspiański so much that, six years later, he became involved in renovation works at the local parish.

More on Stanisław Wyspiański’s links with Biecz here.

 

Elaborated by Kinga Kołodziejska (Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums), 
Licencja Creative Commons

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland.

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Michalik’s Cave with Wyspiański’s drawings?

Located close to the municipal theatre (today the Słowacki Theater) and the School (later Academy) of Fine Arts, this confectionery quickly became the favourite meeting spot for the circles of young Cracovian painters. Today, there are legends about how meticulously the owner – Jan Michalik – kept his accounts...

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Located close to the municipal theatre (today the Słowacki Theater) and the School (later Academy) of Fine Arts, this confectionery quickly became the favourite meeting spot for the circles of young Cracovian painters.
Today, there are legends about how meticulously the owner – Jan Michalik – kept his accounts. If one of his guests ordered something on credit which they could not immediately settle, the confectioner would promptly send a dunning letter. In fact, the guests paid him with something much more valuable by leaving their drawings and sketches on the walls, which are worth a fortune nowadays. Had it not been for a combination of circumstances, the Cave could boast of a more splendid decor.
An offer for painting the confectionery was submitted by Wyspiański, declaring that if only Michalik would sponsor him with paints (costing a dozen or so guilders at that time), the artist would paint the main room of that establishment overnight. “And you declined the offer?” enquired Boy-Żeleński. “Well, that wasn’t very clever of me ... I thought: a renovated confectionery, what would it look like, they would laugh at me ... and I do regret it now”[1].
The drawings were often made in such a way that the guests painted and sketched on a piece of paper, which they then handed to the owner for binding.
The presence of distinguished artists brought him fame and considerable wealth. Jan Michalik, oppressed by the  denunciations of the housekeeper, Mrs Witoszyńska, who kindly informed the Austrian authorities that the confectioner had white bread, which was not allowed at the time, wanted to get rid of the premises at some point. He only did so in 1918, selling it to Roman Madejski (formerly an employee at the Cave) and to Franciszek Trzaska.

Read more about the legend of the “Green Balloon

Don’t miss the dolls from the “Green Balloon nativity scene in the collection of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums:
Puppets from the “Zielony Balonik” (“Green Balloon”) nativity play — Jacek Malczewski
Puppets from the “Zielony Balonik” (“Green Balloon”) nativity play — Jacek Malczewski
Puppets from the “Zielony Balonik” (“Green Balloon”) nativity play — Juliusz Leo

Elaborated by: Editorial team of Małopolskas Virtual Museums,
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.


[1] T. Żeleński (Boy), About Cracow, edited by H. Markiewicz, Kraków 1974, p. 113.

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Wyspiański in Biecz

We were very close to having the opportunity to see polychromes and stained-glass panels made by Stanisław Wyspiański in the parish church in Biecz. The artist stayed in Biecz in 1889 during a scientific trip around the regions of Biecz and Sącz organized by the professor of the Kraków School of Fine Arts (today’s Academy of Fine Arts) Władysław Łuszczkiewicz...

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Stanisław Wyspiański,
cartoon for the polychromes
in the parish church in Biecz, 1895
1897,
National Museum in Warsaw.

We were very close to having the opportunity to see polychromes and stained-glass panels made by Stanisław Wyspiański in the parish church in Biecz. The artist stayed in Biecz in 1889 during a scientific trip around the regions of Biecz and Sącz organized by the professor of the Kraków School of Fine Arts (today’s Academy of Fine Arts) Władysław Łuszczkiewicz. At that time, beautiful drawings of the monuments hosted in Biecz itself, as well as in its vicinity, were made: these included, among other things, sketches of the furnishings of St. Sophia’s church and the parish church in Bobowa, small wooden churches in Wilczyska, Sękowa and Binarowa, as well as the 16th-century Gładyszów renaissance court in Szymbark.
In another renaissance manor located in the nearby Jeżów, Wyspiański even made a polychrome on one of the walls, which can be admired to this day.
Six years later, the artist returned to his fascination with Biecz, working in the years 1895–1897 on the designs of polychromes and stained-glass panels which were to be situated inside the local parish church. In a letter to Lucjan Rydel, he wrote at the time:
 “I already have a design for Biecz. It will be seemingly modest and very simple and, under this guise, rich in ornamentation. I think I will manage to smuggle it in its entirety, I just need to have the “lust” for painting. This design has transformed into a huge thing”.
Unfortunately, this “huge thing” was never implemented. Wyspiański came into conflict with the Kraków restorer and architect Sławomir Odrzywolski who supervised renovation works at that time, and, disagreeing with the limitations imposed on him, he ended the cooperation, despite the fact that he was fascinated with this undertaking. The design of one of the stained-glass panels has survived and is currently located at the National Museum in Kraków. In turn, the cardboard template for making polychromes which may be seen above, depicting mallows, is stored in the National Museum in Warsaw.
Most of the drawings made by Wyspiański during the trip around the Biecz region have not survived to the present. Reproductions of the sketches made by the artist in Biecz itself, with which the then student of painting was fascinated, are located in the collections of the Museum of Ziemia Biecka in Biecz. During the visit to the museum, it is worth asking local curators about the artist’s other connections with Biecz, including him being creatively inspired by one of the paintings on exhibition in the “Dom z basztą” (“the House with a tower”) department, namely Madonna with bird and the legend associated with it. According to the researchers of Stanisław Wyspiański’s literary work, including Professor Kazimierz Wyka, it became one of the inspirations for creating the drama from 1899, controversial for its times, entitled The Curse.

Elaborated by: Kinga Kołodziejska (Editorial team of Małopolskas Virtual Museums),
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

See also a picture of Stanisław Wyspiański from a trip around the Biecz region.

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Mock-up of decorations of act I of “Legenda II” (“Legend II”) by Stanisław Wyspiański

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