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Little sceptre of the Kraków's mayors

The sceptre was a symbol of the mayors of Kraków. The form of a sceptre symbolizes power, and this refers to royal sceptres or those of university rectors. It was made of silver, and some of the elements were gilded. The lower part of the handle has a hexagonal cross section, the upper part is round, separated by convex rings. The bead of the head is topped with a disc and finished with an openwork frieze of lilies.

Confirmation of the statute of the Grand Guild in Koszyce issued by Stefan Batory

The document is the confirmation of the statute of the Grand Guild of Koszyce by the king, issued a year earlier by the city council, which is also presented on our website.

The foundation act of King Casimir the Great

At the request of the king, on 12 June 1350, Bodzanta, the Bishop of Kraków, established a parish in the royal village of Niepołomice, thus reorganizing the rural areas adjacent to the parish.

Painting “Portrait of Sigismund I the Old”

The Portrait of Sigismund I the Old is one of the very few preserved painted portraits of the ruler. The researchers suppose that it was a prototype of the portrait hanging above the entrance to Sigismund's Chapel, attributed to Andrzej, the painter unknown by his surname.

Throne of Zanzibar

The throne, a decorative armchair (attribute of power and dignity) of ebony, consisting of 6 parts joined with pegs. The seat, backrest elements and footrest were made of cord woven from palm leaves. The decorations topping the backrest were made with the technique of inlaying with ivory. The outer edges of the backrest and footrest are decorated with wooden carvings in the form of spheres.

Court rostrum from St. Michael’s prison in Kraków

The “Pomorska Street” branch of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków deals with the post-war history of Poland until 1956. This was a time of struggle between communist forces and former soldiers of the Home Army, civilian employees of the Polish Underground State, and the WiN Association.

Ring of the Kraków’s mayors

The date of creation was engraved inside the golden hoop of the ring: 1532. The octagonal sapphire stone of the ring is decorated with Kraków’s coat of arms made in a concave relief. The ring was the symbol of the mayor’s power, and also served as a city seal. The stone needed to be made from a hard, abrasion-resistant material.

Renaissance plate

This plate was originally located above the entrance gate to the city of Biecz. It belonged to Mikołaj Ligęza from Bobrek (c. 1530–1603) who obtained the position of starosta (district governor) of Biecz in 1561, through his marriage to Elżbieta née Jordan, and in 1575 the position of the governor of Biecz Province from Jan Tarło.

Byzantine solidus

Solidus (Lat. solidus, i.e. solid) was a Roman gold coin introduced by Constantine the Great at the beginning of the 4th century and used as the main Byzantine trade coin. Coins with images of emperors were minted during their reign.

Tapestry with the Monogram of Sigismund Augustus in Cartouche

This tapestry of a group of monogram grotesques with the initials of King Sigismund II Augustus placed under a crown in a decorative cartouche belongs to a series of seven drapes (door curtains). In four of them, the cartouche is accompanied by satyrs playing instruments while the other three depict nymphs sitting on thrones. The composition is a representative example of ornamentation called Netherlandish grotesque. It was modelled on a print of ca. 1546 by Cornelis Bos, one of the founders and pioneers of this type of decoration. The painted design for the tapestry was modified, but the set of motifs and the general outline remained unchanged.

Manuscript “The privilege of Stanisław Koniecpolski for Jews from Tarnów” with a seal

Jewish settlements in Poland began during the period of the Piast dynasty and increased in the 14th-16th centuries. At first, Jews settled in larger towns, in search of better living conditions. The first Jews arrived in Tarnów in the mid-15th century. The proof of this is the mention of Kafel, a Jew, which can be found in the court files of Lviv from 1445.

Photograph “Sheaves of corn against the steelworks plant” by Henryk Hermanowicz

The photograph taken by Henryk Hermanowicz (1912—1992) gives a perfect example of the then propaganda, in which those who were smarter could see the criticism of the authorities who decided to build industrial facilities on perfectly arable soil. It is also a kind of document of how our approach to the environment has changed. It should be remembered that until the 1970s there was no environmental awareness, even in the West.

“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;}

“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.

A royal crown – a prop from the School of Fine Arts

A children’s crown, open-work, closed by two yokes, on the junction of which there is a sphere with a trace of a broken-off cross. The ring is decorated with eight fleurons: four with palmetto-ribbon patterns at the base of the yokes, and four leaf-like ones. The crown, on the other hand, is decorated with colourful glass imitations of gemstones of a cabochon cut and various faceted cuts. 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;}

Jagiellonian tapestry “Paradise Bliss” of the “History of the First Parents” series

The Jagiellonian tapestry Paradise Bliss is the first fabric of the History of the First Parents series, commissioned by Sigismund II Augustus and created in Brussels during the years 1550–1560. It depicts events of the beginning of the Biblical Book of Genesis (Gen 2.8.–3.20).

Wojciech Doroszuk, “Reisefieber”

A project by Wojciech Doroszuk called Reisefieber concerns the problem of economic migration. During his stay in Berlin, the artist played the role of a newcomer from the East and was employed in the service sectors which are usually entrusted to emigrants. Based on his experience, five films and photography have been created, that form a multi-layered story of everyday, ordinary life in a foreign country, including both paid work and leisure activities, for example, participation in mass events organized in the city space. In each situation, the hero is shown as a stereotypical stranger, deprived of the will and the possibility of joining indigenous members of the community.

Janek Simon, “Ryugyong Hotel”

Janek Simon’s interests include theories and models as well as scientific disciplines, such as geography and economics, which are subject to evolution along with civilizational changes. His works have an experimental and anarchic character, reflecting the clash of scientific theories with the reality of everyday life. His works are prototypes, models, and complicated electronic systems, created according to the principle Do It Yourself by the artists himself. He incessantly seeks extra-systemic solutions, which allow him to break away from contemporary art of a capitalist character.

Barbara Bańda, “Daily news”

The cycle Everyday news is a visual record of press cuttings, processed by the artist. Basia Bańda was inspired by the headlines from local, internet news portals of Lesser Poland (Kraków.wyborcza.pl, gazeta.pl), which became titles of thirty collages. Tragic events prevail amongst them: unfortunate accidents (The passenger lost her leg under the wheels of the train), acts of violence (A man from the coast beat a woman in Nowy Targ), disappearances (She disappeared around Wielka Krokwia), murders (Murder on Budryk Street. The police are looking for the stabber), incidents of devastation (He damaged 36 cars. Prosecutor: prison and damage repair). People’s dramas intertwine with equally catastrophic information from the world of nature (Dead fish in the Biała river – investigation discontinued). Most misfortunes chosen by the artist and described in the press concern individuals, and their impact on the life of the local community is negligible.

Anna Senkara, “Nobleman”

A film Szlachcic [Nobleman], is a record of the artist’s conversation with Roman Szlachcic, son of Franciszek, a high dignitary of the Communist Poland (PRL) government. This nostalgic tale exposes personal attempts to interpret history, points to the political motives of a bygone era, and touches upon the topic of delicate family relationships. In the eyes of his son, Franciszek Szlachcic was an outstanding personality. He started his career as a worker, went through almost all levels of partisan activity, became a high-ranking public security officer, Minister of Interior in 1971, Edward Gierek’s deputy and, for two years, until 1976, deputy prime minister. After this period, Franciszek Szlachcic’s good fortune came to an end. He was removed from politics overnight and lost all his previous influence and privileges. The only symbol of his lost prestige was a larch wood villa built a few years earlier in Magdalenka near Warsaw, where his son still lives today.