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Sculpture “Dance” by Maria Jarema

Maria Jarema — born in an artistic family, the daughter of a Lviv pianist — explored the problem of dynamics, rhythm, and the musicality of a work of art both in paintings and in sculptures throughout her whole artistically devoted life.

Hanukkah lamp

It was probably created at the turn of the 20th century. Its base rests on three lying lions. The profiled stem is finished with a figure of an eagle with outspread wings. Eight semi-circular branches are attached to the stem with clips.

Salt cellar in the shape of an elongated cup

This silver salt shaker, in the shape of an elongated bowl, which is decorated at the edge with an openwork strip of plants, is the work of a high-class goldsmith. It was made in France in pre-revolutionary times, in Paris in the years 1786–1787, by the goldsmith, Jean-Baptiste-François Chéret. The precise determination of the authorship, time, and place of the creation of this work is possible thanks to the marking, which, in the past, was to testify the occurrence of precious metal, and nowadays is the source of information about the history of the object; its interpretation, however, often requires detective work.

Horn of Salt Diggers Brotherhood of Wieliczka

The horn of Salt Diggers Brotherhood of Wieliczka is a unique Renaissance work of art commemorating the past wealth of Kraków salt mines. It is the only historical object of such preserved in Poland — the genuine horn of an aurochs (the species that became extinct in Poland in the 17th century, the ancestor of cattle), precisely framed in silver embedded in various golden ornaments.

Sculpture “Portrait of Józef Poniatowski” by Jakub Tatarkiewicz

Prince Józef Poniatowski — nephew of the last king of Poland, general commander of the army of the Duchy of Warsaw — died in the Battle of Leipzig in 1813. Death in the waters of the Elster River initiated the cult of his character, strongly associated with the legend of Napoleon. In 1817, the prince's body was placed in the St. Leonard's Crypt under Wawel Cathedral. The bust is an original copy of a study for the famous Warsaw monument of Prince Józef Poniatowski, sculpted by Bertel Thorvaldsen. Jakub Tatarkiewicz, who — like Konstanty Hegel and Paweł Maliński — was Thorvaldsen's student at the Roman Academy of St. Luke, successfully adapted the cold neoclassicism of his teacher here.

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.

Zoomorphic vessel (Chimú culture)

The vessel comes from the collection of Władysław Kluger from 1876. It has two circular bellies and two beaks: one in the shape of a bird’s head, the other one tall and straight, both conjoined with a curved handle. On the belly, there are panels with straps of...

A vessel with an anthropomorphic bust on the cast

The exhibit comes from the 1876 Peruvian collection of Władysław Kluger and was created during the period of Chimú culture. The vessel consists of two separate pieces, whose bodies were conjoined with a wide tunnel. They also feature a common handle connecting their necks.

Monstrance of the Branicki foundation

The late-Gothic monstrance – silver and gilded – goes in harmony with the style of the church in Niepołomice, whose Gothic character was enriched with Renaissance Branicki’s chapel. The Renaissance motifs – floral and geometric ornaments, figures of saints, putti or coat of arms – look good on the medieval architectural design, decorated with delicate pinnacles and finials. The Branicki family was concerned about the church accessories of the parish church in Niepołomice, that is why church utensils, canonicals and liturgical vessels funded by them.

Model of “Kraków” locomotive

The model of the “Kraków” locomotive is one of the most interesting exhibits in the collection of the Bractwo Kurkowe [Brotherhood of the Rooster]. It is a model of a steam locomotive with the 1B axis system (one rolling axis in the front and two drive connected axes—average-size wheels). Such a steam locomotive was provided by the Borsig factory in Berlin in 1847 for the Kraków–Upper Silesian Railway and was designed for cargo transport.

Naval poignard

This air dagger (Polish, m. 24) was made by the Side Arms Company of Gabriel Borowski. The metal elements (except for the blade) have been oxidised in the colour of old silver; the metal sheath is covered with black leather. It is a dagger with a nickel-plated, polished blade; the company's signature is engraved along the edge; the head at the top has the shape of a truncated pyramid. There are decorative rings on the handle and sheath with ornamentation with laurel to the right.

Wedding goblet of Marcin Mikołaj Radziwiłł of the “Trąby” coat of arms and Aleksandra née Bełchacka of the “Topór” coat of arms

The glassworks in Naliboki, in the estate of the Nieśwież line of the Radziwiłł family, was founded in 1722 by Anna née Sanguszko Radziwiłł, the widow of Karol Stanisław. The glass factory was very modern, superbly organised, and was no worse a plant than European ones.

Gothic chalice

At the beginning of 1657, the lands of southern Poland were invaded by George II Rakoczi’s army of 40 thousand soldiers. The army was supposed to give support to the Swedish headquarters in Kraków. The vicinity of Kraków was doomed by the presence of the new invaders.

Chalice

Church confraternities, which boasted about having a separate chapel or a side altar, completed the religious life of parishioners. The first confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, established in Niepołomice by Cardinal Zbigniew Oleśnicki, worked efficiently for one and a half centuries, but in 1596 a church inspector found it, as he described, in a state of “devotional and interment” activity.

Sculpture “Gladiator” by Pius Weloński

This artistic, whole-body sculpture depicts a Roman gladiator with an upraised arm. A sign is inscribed on the pedestal: Ave Caesar! Morituri, salutant [Long live Caesar! Those who are going to die greet you]. The gladiator is — judging by his props — most likely a retiarius [net-fighter]. He fought with a trident or harpoon made of tuna bones, a dagger, and a net that he threw at his opponent's head. The Polish audience paid particular attention to the Slavic physiognomy of the warrior, seeing a hidden national message in the work of Welonski. Our national consciousness enabled us to see an allegory of the situation of Poles under partition in this classical, thoroughly academic, work. This allegory was found in the fate of a Roman gladiator, whose life depended on his owner.

Atelier camera, R.A. Goldmann Company

This is an atelier camera made between 1890 and 1900 at the R.A. Goldmann company in Vienna. It has been meticulously manufactured and records photos on “dry” glass plates with a maximum format of 18 x 24 cm. It is equipped with a portrait lens, produced in 1897 by Voigtländer & Sohn from Braunschweig (Germany).

Atelier camera produced in Germany

This is an atelier camera for “dry” glass plates with a maximum format of 18 x 24 cm, produced in the 1880s by an unknown manufacturer in Germany. The lens is from a later date (an 1890–1920 Aristostigmat 7 6.5/360), produced by Meyer...

“Miroir Rouge d'Impermanence” (“Red mirror of impermanence”) — sculpture by Aliska Lahusen

Have you ever touched a beautiful object made of lacquer? Sensuality would be the best word to convey its smooth texture. The same word can be applied to the minimalist works of Aliska Lahusen, which evoke a sensual feeling. They have been created using lacquer — one of the most sophisticated Japanese materials. It was deliberately used by the artist and it gives her sculptures a mystical character.

Hussar bascinet

A Hussar bascinet was a type of helmet commonly used by the troops of the Polish Hussars, similar to the pappenheimers used in Western Europe. There were a few variants of this helmet: with a tip on the top, a high crest, or fan-like wings on the skull.

Mantelpiece clock with a figure of Apollo

An example of a clock in the shape of a figure, a popular style of mantelpiece clock in the 2nd half of the 18th century. It depicts Apollo with a lyre and a laurel wreath on his head, sitting on the top of an obelisk containing the mechanism of an anchor escapement and a mainspring.