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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].

Toy “Lajkonik’s march” by Jan Oprocha (father)

A toy cart, or actually a platform on wheels with holes to thread a pulling cord through and 31 figurines arranged on it, rocking while the toy is pulled. The whole toy, including the platform and the figurines, is made of polychrome wood. The rectangular platform with its bevelled corners and wheels are painted green. The edges are coated with white, yellow and pink paint, and the spokes are marked with yellow, blue and red.

Wooden sculpture “Pensive Christ”

Small-sized wooden sculpture of the 19th century from the area of the Polish Podtarze region, depicting Pensive Christ. It cost one crown and in 1914 it was purchased in Nowy Targ by Ksawery Prauss, a collector from Zakopane. In 1920, he donated his collection to the Tatra Museum and thus the sculpture, along with 93 other ethnographic objects from Podhale, became part of the museum collection.

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.

Sculpture “Pensive Christ”

The theme of a Pensive Christ is one of the most popular ones in folk art. The figure from the Pieniny Mountains Museum collection comes from the village of Sromowce Niżne, the population of which belongs to an ethnographic group of Pieniny highlanders. It was made in 1937 by Michał Plewa, a folk artist.

Legionary plaque of the town of Kęty

This plaque, like many similar ones in Galicia, was prepared in order to raise funds to support the widows and orphans of soldiers fighting during World War I. This manner of collecting money became popular during World War I. This was related to the financial burden that fell on the Austrian government. The reason for this was mainly the costs associated with the increasing number of wounded and victims.

“Crucified Christ” from St. Jadwiga’s hospital

The sculpture depicts Christ hanged on a cross with his hands outstretched. His head is leaning a little towards his right shoulder. The plasticity of the face strikes us with the calmness with which the Redeemer accepts suffering. He is looking down and his lips are closed.

Sculpture “St. Nicholas”

Saint Nicholas lived at the turn of the 3rd and 4th centuries and was the bishop of the city of Mira (in the southern part of Asia Minor), which is why he is presented iconographically in garments and with insignia corresponding to his episcopal rank (compare with the figure of Saint Nicholas in the Triptych of Saint Mary Magdalene from Moszczenica Niżna near Stary Sącz).

Throne for a church monstrance

A Baroque architectural throne for a church monstrance. A Baroque framing decorated with an auricular style ornament as well as a radiant halo consisting of rays alternately straight or curved. At the sides are two allegorical figures, at the finial of the framing are two figures of angels.

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.

The "Christ in Gethsemane" sculpture

The sculpture Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane is a depiction of the time when Jesus prayed on the Mount of Olives, just before he was taken captive. It may have been a fragment of a non-preserved composition showing Christ praying in the company of the sleeping apostles and an angel with a cup of bitterness, heralding future suffering.

Sculpture “Jesus Christ Sitting on the Palm Sunday Donkey”

The sculpture, coming from the parish church of St. Sigismund in Szydłowiec, constitutes an extraordinary dramatic exhibit used during processions of going to church on Palm Sunday as to a symbol of Jerusalem. Christ, in a firmly upright position, is raising his right hand in a gesture of blessing.

Sculpture “Schoolgirl with a Rose Wreath” of the “Wawel Heads” series by Xawery Dunikowski

The sculpture, one of the most interesting female portraits of Dunikowski, was created as part of the plan to restore the lost heads on the ceiling of the Envoys’ Room (also called the Room under the Heads) on the second floor of the eastern wing of Wawel Royal Castle. Originally, there were 194 heads created by Sebastian Tauerbach and his team before 1540. The ceiling was devastated in the early 19th century, when the castle was turned into the barracks of the Austrian army; only 30 heads were saved by Princess Izabella Czartoryska. It was decided in 1924 that the set was to be reconstructed.

Sculpture “Men's figure” by Jan Wnęk

The sculpture Man's Figure was made from wood, on which residually preserved polychrome is visible, was made about 1850 by Jan Wnęk (1828–1869) from Odporyszów. He was a carpenter, a self-taught sculptor and a genius designer (of a flying machine, among other things).

Sculpture “Madonna and Child”

The sculpture depicts Madonna in a slight contrapposto pose, with her head tilted to her right arm, holding the Child, facing front, in her right arm. The hollowed out figure was probably intended to be attached to the niche of an altar retable.

Sculpture “Our Lady with Baby Jesus”, Kurpie region

This sculpture made of a single block of wood depicts the Virgin Mary with Child. The sculpture is unique as regards depictions of Madonna with Child in the folk art of the Kurpiowszczyzna region.

Sculpture “Crucified Christ” from 14th century

The sculpture depicts the Crucified Christ. The Saviour has dark hair falling on his shoulders, a short beard and moustache. The figure’s hands were completely destroyed.

Sculpture showing “St. Anna” from 18th century

An altar sculpture showing an unknown saint, probably saint Anna, was made by an unknown artist in the 18th century. It supposedly comes from the wooden All Saints’ Church in Kęty which was dismantled on the command of Austrian authorities. The main reason for this decision was the poor technical condition of the building. Moreover, after the great fire which broke out in 1797, there were attempts to eliminate the wooden buildings from the centre in order to reduce the danger.

Wooden sculpture “Madonna and Child” of Jan Kluś

The folk sculpture Madonna and Child was made in the 19th century by a village woodcarver Jan Kluś of Olcza (originally, Olcza was an independent settlement, now it is a district of Zakopane). It belongs to the most outstanding sculptures in the collection of the Tatra Museum.

Sculpture “Ludowika from Kęty”

It is believed that this church sculpture, probably dating from the seventeenth century, represents the saintly Ludowika from Kęty, who lived from 1563 to 1623. Ludowika was born into a family of poor townsmen, and she spent the first period of her life in Kęty. At the age of 30, she joined a group of pilgrims heading for Rome. She remained in the Eternal City, where she joined the community of the Third Order of St. Francis.