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Puppets from the “Zielony Balonik” (“Green Balloon”) nativity play — Jacek Malczewski

A funny puppet representing Jacek Malczewski in a caricatural character of Jacek Symbolewski was purchased for the collection of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków in 1962. It makes a valuable reminder related with the Young Poland cabaret called Zielony Balonik [Green Balloon] operating in the period from 1905 to 1912 on Floriańska Street in Kraków in the Cukiernia Lwowska [Lviv Confectionery] opened by Jan Apolinary Michalik and hence called Jama Michalika [Michalik’s Den].

“A Bust of Lenin” by Xawery Dunikowski

Xawery Dunikowski (1875–1964) is one of the greatest Polish sculptors of the 20th century. The present bust of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin comes from the post-war period in the artist’s work. After the WWII, the ideas of social realism carried Dunikowski away. However, ideological activities did not translate into the form of his works: he remained faithful to the expressive, simplified form he developed in the interwar period.

“Portrait of a model” by Wanda Ślędzińska

Wanda Ślędzińska (1906–1999), a sculptor and a pedagogue associated with the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków for many decades. She started working at the academy as an assistant at Xawery Dunikowski’s studio. Ślędzińska was the first woman to become the head of the Faculty of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. She held this post until she retired in 1970.

“Child”, a sculpture by Wanda Ślędzińska

Wanda Ślędzińska (1906–1999), a sculptor and a pedagogue associated with the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków for many decades. She started working at the academy as an assistant at Xawery Dunikowski’s studio. Ślędzińska was the first woman to become the head of the Faculty of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. She held this post until she retired in 1970. Normal 0 21 false false false PL X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:Standardowy; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"; border:none;}

Maurycy Gomulicki, “Beast”

In traditional culture, serpents represent a threatening and powerful symbol of the primal cosmic forces; they are representatives of chaos and death. They were often also the object of worship: for ancient Egyptians they symbolized the power of wielding life and death, decorating the crown of the pharaohs; the Greeks considered them to be the embodiment of the chthonic gods, and because of their annual skin moulting, they added them as an attribute to Asclepios, as a symbol of life, health, and rebirth. The Romans bred snakes in their homes, seeing them as the guardians of their home and family; The Aztecs made a feathered serpent — Quetzalcoatl — a co-creator of the world, the god of wind and earth. The primal cult of serpents also flourished in regions closer to us: for example, in the Krakowiak tribe from the right bank of the Wisła. The Judeo-Christian culture judged serpents rather negatively: in the story of Adam and Eve, they became cursed creatures; the Old Testament God sent them as a punishment to the Israelites, and then, through Moses, sent a serpent to their rescue, but one made of copper.

“Gudea” – a plaster cast of an antique sculpture

In the Louvre’s department of Oriental collections, there are more than twenty sculptures considered to be images of Gudea (in total, over thirty images of the ruler have been preserved). Some of the statues present the ruler in a sitting position, some in a standing position. The present plaster copy belongs to the second group. There are five such statues in the Louvre. They all come from Telo: an archaeological site situated at the location of the ancient city of Girsu in present-day Iraq. All five standing statues of Gudea are devoid of heads. The statues from Telo were found during excavations conducted by the French between 1877 and 1933. The cast in the collection of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków was made in accordance with the so-called E Statue (reference number AO 6), which was discovered in 1881 by Ernest Choquin de Serzec, who led the excavations at Telo between 1877 and 1900. Normal 0 21 false false false PL X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:Standardowy; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"; border:none;}

Bas relief “Fallen Angels” by Stanisław Wyspiański

In 1895, Stanisław Wyspiański made a polychrome project for the presbytery of a Franciscan church. The composition consists of three elements: the titular fallen angels, at which the group of archers aims, and the figure of Archangel Michael, who guards the gates of paradise. A perfect accompaniment to this work is the polychrome located on the opposite side of the presbytery: Madonna and the Child and Caritas. The artist, in a visible way, juxtaposed two attitudes to life and showed their possible consequences.

Aset-iri-khet-es sarcophagus

The sarcophagus made of sycamore wood was found during the excavations conducted in 1907 in el-Gamhud by the first Polish Egyptologist, Tadeusz Smoleński. It is a “belly coffin” type of sarcophagus; an anthropoid one, with a flat bottom and a convex lid. The head of the coffin is covered with a blue wig. The breasts are decorated with a semi-circular necklace finished with falcon heads, topped with solar disks.

Sculpture “In the Theatre Box” by Luna Amalia Drexler

The sculpture represents a figure of a sitting woman depicted from the waist upwards. The woman is holding binoculars and slightly leaning out of the theatre box, assumedly to take a better look of the details of the artistic event in which she is participating. There is a satisfaction, or even reverie visible on her face. Is it because of the play?

Sculpture “Circus” by Alina Ślesińska

The late 1950s and the early 1960s was the heyday of the Polish modern sculpture which, after the ignoble period of the socialist realism rule, renewed its relations with current tendencies present in international art. It was a period of creative activity of many distinguished sculptresses.

“Bust of Jan Matejko” by Jan Tombiński

The present portrait of Jan Matejko – the director of the School of Fine Arts in Kraków – is a plaster model for the bust of Jan Matejko made in 1894. This bust adorns the portal of the main entrance to the building of Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, located at the Matejko Square in Kraków.

“Hera of Samos” – a plaster cast of an antique sculpture

The present plaster cast is a copy of an ancient Greek statue stored in the Louvre. The sculpture was discovered in 1875 on the sacred road leading to the heraion (temple of the goddess Hera) on the island of Samos. In 1881, the statue was appropriated and taken to the Louvre, where it is still currently stored (Inventory No. Ma 686). The plaster cast from the collections of the Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts was made in the Louvre, as evidenced by a metal plate with the inscription “Musée du Louvre” on the back of the plaster figure.

“Germanicus” – a plaster cast of an antique sculpture

The present plaster cast of an antique statue is a copy of the original marble statue kept in the Louvre (Musée de Louvre, Department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities, Inventory No. MR 315 (Ma 1207). In the seventeenth century, the statue was placed in the gardens of Pope Sixtus V in Rome, and then in Villa Montalto-Negroni. The statue was then deemed to be a likeness of Germanicus (Gaius Claudius Drusus Caesar Germanicus, 15 BC–19 AD). In 1685, through the agency of the painter Nicolas Poussin in Rome, it was purchased by the king of France, Louis XIV. Then it was restored by François Girardon (1628–1715) and placed in the Palace of Versailles, in the Hall of Mirrors.

“A tondo representing three personifications of arts” by Stanisław Popławski

Normal 0 21 false false false PL X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:Standardowy; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"; border:none;}The present plaque in the form of tondo is sometimes mistakenly described as a representation of The Three Graces. In reality, the relief depicts three personifications of art: painting (the woman on the left, holding a palette), architecture (the woman in the middle, holding a model of a building) and sculpture (the man holding the head of a statue). Inspired by ancient art, Poplawski used a characteristic composition typical of the depiction of the Graces, and the characters are represented as idealized nude figures.

“The head of Doryphoros” – a plaster cast of an antique sculpture

A statue of a young man carrying a spear (gr. Δορυφόρος, Doryphoros) was found in Pompeii in front of the entrance to the so-called Samnite Palaestra in 1797. The statue is made of Carrara marble and originally stood on a pedestal made of volcanic tuff. It dates back to the 2nd or 1st century BC and is a copy of a lost bronze original made by Polykleitos in the 5th century BC. The statue from Pompeii in Naples (Museo Nazionale, inv. No. 6011) is considered the most complete copy of the classic sculpture. Normal 0 21 false false false PL X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:Standardowy; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"; border:none;}

“Doryphoros” – a plaster cast of an antique sculpture

A statue of a young man carrying a spear (gr. Δορυφόρος, Doryphoros) was found in Pompeii in front of the entrance to the so-called Samnite Palaestra in 1797. The statue is made of Carrara marble and originally stood on a pedestal made of volcanic tuff. It dates back to the 2nd or 1st century BC and is a copy of a lost bronze original made by Polykleitos in the 5th century BC. The statue from Pompeii in Naples (Museo Nazionale, inv. No. 6011) is considered the most complete copy of the classic sculpture.

Fayum portrait

The portrait was purchased in Cairo by soldiers of the Polish Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade during WW II. The face of the man is oval-shaped, with almond-like eyes with marked pupils, lashes and bushy eyebrows. He has a long moustache and a black beard encircling his face.

Karol Szymanowski's posthumous mask

Few mementoes and works of art directly associated with Karol Szymanowski have been preserved to this day. Therefore, the posthumous mask makes for quite a unique document. Suffering from tuberculosis, Szymanowski died in Le Signal hospital in Lausanne. The mask was made right after his death by a Swiss sculptor, Lucien Jules Delerse.

“Saint George slaying the dragon” – a plaster cast of a medieval sculpture

The bronze original is located in the National Gallery in Prague. Once, it was in the third courtyard of the Prague Castle, where a bronze copy is now located. The original was probably created in 1373 and was funded by the Bohemian King and Roman Emperor Charles IV of Luxembourg, who was at the peak of his power at the time. Normal 0 21 false false false PL X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:Standardowy; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"; border:none;}

“Charioteer of Delphi” – a plaster cast of an antique figure

The original bronze statue of the Charioteer was found in 1896 under the sacred road in the area of the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi. It shows a charioteer. Next to the statue, there were also excavated fragments of the draft animals and a dedicatory inscription certifying that the statue had been part of a sculptural group funded by the Sicilian ruler Polyzalos.