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Bartek Materka, untitled [“Skeletons”]

Reconstruction of an open grave. By the manner of painting, the artist has emphasised the emotive quality of the represention of a post mortem.

Group AES+F, “Défilé #1”

The AES+F group shows dead bodies dressed in ballroom finery. The dramatic content is emphasised by using f life-size photographs, made all the more realistic by being displayed in lightboxes. The human fear of passing away is hidden behind obsessive adornment of the body. Death is presented in its “luxury” version which, despite all efforts, only serves to emphasize the deadness of the corpse. The series Défilé consists of 7 photographs in lightboxes. Film with the photographic prints has been glued to Plexi and placed in aluminium boxes, lit from behind.

Group AES+F, “Défilé #4”

The AES+F group shows dead bodies dressed in ballroom finery. The dramatic content is emphasised by using life-size photographs, made all the more realistic by being displayed in lightboxes. The human fear of passing away is hidden behind obsessive adornment of the body. Death is presented in its “luxury” version which, despite all efforts, only serves to emphasize the deadness of the corpse. The series Défilé consists of 7 photographs in lightboxes. Film with the photographic prints has been glued to Plexi and placed in aluminium boxes, lit from behind.

Group AES+F, “Défilé #6”

The AES+F group shows dead bodies dressed in ballroom finery. The dramatic content is emphasised by using f life-size photographs, made all the more realistic by being displayed in lightboxes. The human fear of passing away is hidden behind obsessive adornment of the body. Death is presented in its “luxury” version which, despite all efforts, only serves to emphasize the deadness of the corpse. The series Défilé consists of 7 photographs in lightboxes. Film with the photographic prints has been glued to Plexi and placed in aluminium boxes, lit from behind.

Group AES+F, “Défilé #5”

The AES+F group shows dead bodies dressed in ballroom finery. The dramatic content is emphasised by using f life-size photographs, made all the more realistic by being displayed in lightboxes. The human fear of passing away is hidden behind obsessive adornment of the body. Death is presented in its “luxury” version which, despite all efforts, only serves to emphasize the deadness of the corpse. The series Défilé consists of 7 photographs in lightboxes. Film with the photographic prints has been glued to Plexi and placed in aluminium boxes, lit from behind.

Marble plaque commemorating the burial site of queen Jadwiga

A plaque of black marble from Dębnik, situated to the north of the base of the main altar in the Wawel cathedral. The entire eastern part of the chancel is elevated above the floor level and forms a spacious platform for celebrations of liturgical ceremonies. In the middle of it and on the sides, there are three identical protrusions. In 1605, an Italian stonemason, Ambrogio Meazzi, was commissioned to dismantle the fence in front of St Erasmus altar (the ciborium was relocated to the Chapel of Our Lady) and move the tomb of Frederick Jagiellon, as well as to change the layout of stairs leading to the main altar.

Damask fabrics from the grave of St queen Jadwiga

Queen Jadwiga d’Anjou died on July 17th, 1399, several weeks after she gave birth to her daughter, Elizabeth Bonifacia (June 22nd), probably due to labour-related complications (puerperal fever). She was buried on July 19th together with the child, who had died several days earlier, in the chancel of the Wawel cathedral, to the north of the base on which the main altar is situated. The queen was buried in rich clothing of damask with sleeves trimmed with strips of thicker fabric with rhomboid pattern. Burial clothing is one of the most moving mementoes of the great saint. It is difficult to determine the original colour scheme of fabric that have undergone a permanent change as a result of 500 years spent in a dark and damp grave. Undoubtedly, they were extremely expensive and luxurious fabrics, reflecting very high standards of living at the court of Władysław Jagiełło and his wife Jadwiga in late 14th century. The first of these fabrics, clearly oriental in style, was probably made in Egypt in the 15th century. Patterns visible on the other two fabrics are closest to Spanish weaving manufactures from the 13th, 14th, and 15th century.

A tombstone with the image of a “tree of life” from the double-apse rotunda – the so-called “church B” in Wawel

This tombstone consists of two elements and was found during excavation works carried out under the guidance of Stanisław Kozieł and Mieczysław Fraś in the area of the southern wing of building 5 of Wawel in the years 1966–75. The tombstone used to cover a tomb located in the area of the western apse of the double-apse rotunda relics, called church B” by the researchers.

“The Trumpet of the Last Judgement” (“Where Are Last Year’s Snows”, 1979)

The “trumpet” was an object — a prop of the Rabbi character (played by Zbigniew Gostomski) and his Pupil (Dominika Michalczuk). The natural-sized tin trumpet was covered with a black material, a kind of casing whose end on the cup side dropped loosely falling into the metal bucket. The trumpet was hung on a metal frame structure (nearly 3.5 metres high) where a system of blocks and transmissions was installed with steel links enabling it to be raised and dropped by a crank handle.

“Young couple” (“I Shall Never Return”, 1988)

Young Couple is an object of spectacle Cricot 2 Qui non ci torno più (I Shall Never return), which was created in Kraków and Milan in 1987–1988. The premiere took place on 23 June 1988 at the Piccolo Teatro Studio in Milan. The play I Shall Never return is a summary of previous work of Tadeusz Kantor's theater.

Hearse

Exhibits like this are rarely seen in Polish museums. This beautifully ornamented, obviously black hearse dates back to the late 19th century. Its owner put it up for sale in Bęczarka, a village located 20 km from Dobczyce. One of the residents of Dobczyce bought it and donated it to the local Regional Museum.

Sculpture “Sikorski grave”

The sculpture Sikorski's Tomb was made in 1987 by Julian Stręk of Pustków-Rudki near Dębica, one of the recently discovered, leading Polish naive artists. It is a composition of many three-dimensional figures and elements made of pine wood, with oil polychrome of aquamarine dominant and with details in silver, walnut and blue colours.

Painting “Memento Mori”

The painting was purchased for the museum in 1945. It was created in the second half of the 18th century in one of the guilds in Stary Sącz. It is a very interesting and symbolic work of art which refers to the theme of death and transience so popular in Baroque art. The painting is divided into three parts: two of them are in the shape of a standing rectangle in the upper part and one is of an oblong shape in the lower part.

Coffin portrait of a young woman

The image of an unknown young woman is an example of a coffin portrait: a special genre of portraits that emerged in close relation with the funeral customs in the Baroque period.

“Peter’s Head” from the cycle “Herbarium” by Alina Szapocznikow

Body casts appeared in works by Alina Szapocznikow in 1965, when she began to present her own fingers and mouth in sculptural material. In 1971, she made of polyester the crushed Autoportret–Zielnik [Self-Portrait Herbarium], regarded as an introduction to Zielnik [Herbarium] — one of her most important works made on the basis of body casts.

Painting “Son and His Killed Mother” by Andrzej Wróblewski

The painting shows a small boy embracing a woman who is presented from her shoulders down, without her head. The woman is dead, although it seems that she is returning the caress with a numb gesture of her hand. The artist painted her in a bluish azure and dressed her in a blue dress. He painted all war victims and dead people in this way — using the symbolism of blue: the sphere of shade, immateriality, and transcendence. The form generalised and knowingly made primitive as well as nearly evenly laid colour are for the condensation of essence and expression.

Sculpture “Over a grave” by Antoni Pleszowski

This woman with a melancholic look on her face and her hair coveredh, gives the impression of being deeply immersed in her thoughts, which may reflect the passing and loss of a loved one. The manner of presenting the sitting, freely-posed figure derives from the works of Michelangelo, as well as later Roman sepulchral sculpture of the Baroque period, with which the author of the work — an artist educated in Kraków, Vienna and Rome — was very familiar.

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.

Poison cabinet

Pomalowana na czarno szafka służyła do przechowywania w aptece leków o silnym działaniu. Zwykle na takiej szafie umieszczano napis Venena (łac. veneum — trucizna) oraz malowano symbole czaszki i skrzyżowanych piszczeli. Na drzwiach prezentowanej szafki zostały wymalowane białą farbą...

Tomb stele from Ginari Tafah 2

The stele comes from the Christian necropolis in Lower Nubia (present day Egypt). It is one of the three stelae from that region presented on our website and one of seven stelae stored in Poland. The inscription placed on the stele is written in the Old Nubian language, which is indicated, for example, by the use of colons for dividing numbers.