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This painting represents the Zalipie culture which is closely connected with the Dąbrowa district. The fact that it was painted by Felicja Curyłowa, one of the most talented artists from Zalipie, makes this exhibit even more valuable. Enjoying great authority and endowed with organisational skills, being conscious of the value of local decorative traditions, Curyłowa made Powiśle famous not only in Poland but also outside the borders of the country.

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This painting represents the Zalipie culture which is closely connected with the Dąbrowa district. The fact that it was painted by Felicja Curyłowa, one of the most talented artists from Zalipie, makes this exhibit even more valuable. Enjoying great authority and endowed with organisational skills, being conscious of the value of local decorative traditions, Curyłowa made Powiśle famous not only in Poland but also outside the borders of the country. Over the course of her life, her farm was often visited by groups and individual Polish and foreign artists. It was an exemplary painted house that also served as a “live” museum. All her life, the painter tried to maintain the traditional appearance of the house, willingly resigning from civilisational improvements. After her death, the house was purchased by Cepelia and it was later passed on to the District Museum in Tarnów.
The presented image shows a colourful bouquet of flowers painted against a black background, according to a pattern typical of Zalipie. In the lower right-hand corner, there is a hand-written inscription with yellow paint: “Curyłowa Felicja. Zalipie 1969”.

Elaborated by the Cultural Meeting Centre in Dąbrowa Tarnowska, © all rights reserved

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The “Painted village” and Felicja Curyłowa

The cultural showcase of Dąbrowa District, the most recognizable sign and brand of Powiśle, is the only “painted village” in the world: Zalipie. 

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Artist from Zalipie: Stefania Łączyńska, 1976,
source: Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe

The cultural showcase of Dąbrowa District, the most recognizable sign and brand of Powiśle, is the only “painted village” in the world: Zalipie. The roots of this extraordinarily colourful tradition are somewhat “greyish-colourless-mundane” and date back to the 2nd half of the 19th century. Village houses from this period did not have stoves with chimneys, so smoke from the furnaces settled in the interiors of cottages. Smoked walls, ceilings, and stoves were gradually decorated with simple patterns (usually circular patches, called packi), which, at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, were turned into colourful patterns. Paintings came to cover the facades of buildings, wells, and even dog kennels over time. In this way, the decorative tradition of Zalipie was born. And, although the custom of decorating houses with paintings is known in other regions of Poland, nowhere else has this type of creativity developed on such a scale as in the area of Powiśle Dąbrowskie and Zalipie.
A special place in Zalipie, whence the worldwide fame of this picturesque location began, is Felicja Curyłowa’s farmstead.
Felicja Curyłowa was the most famous painter of this region, who spent almost her entire life in Zalipie.
In addition to artistic activity, she was involved in popularizing this place and its traditions throughout Poland, and even outside the country. As befits a propagator of decorative art, Curyłowa’s house was decorated with polychrome paintings, mostly undertaken by the painter herself. The artist deliberately tried to maintain the folk character of the farm, often involving a conscious withdrawal from modern technological technology. Thanks to this, on her farm, in addition to traditional ornaments, one can see furniture, equipment, and agricultural tools once used in the countryside. After the owner’s death, the farm was purchased by Cepelia and then handed over to the District Museum in Tarnów, which made it available to tourists arriving in Zalipie. The creation of the Female Painters’ House was the fulfillment of Felicja Curyłowa’s dream. Currently, you can participate in the workshop of painting traditional flowers, witness authentic painters at work, and participate regularly in June each year in one of the most important cultural events of Dąbrowa District: the regional competition “Painted Cottage”. This is definitely worth seeing at the weekend after the holiday of Corpus Christi: this is when that the “Painted Cottage” event is held in Zalipie, as it has been for several decades. The participants of the competition (usually local artists, children, and teenagers) decorate their farms with fancy patterns, discover new motifs, and improve well-known ones. Thanks to the competition, the custom of painting cottages is still supported, and tourists coming to Zalipie can still admire this unusual art.

Elaborated by the Cultural Meeting Centre in Dąbrowa Tarnowska, Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, © all rights reserved

See: Painting “Bouquet” by Felicja Curyłowa

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Painting “Bouquet” by Felicja Curyłowa

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