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Painting “Caricature of Stanislaw Witkiewicz” by Kazimierz Sichulski

A well-known Polish proverb says that laughter is good for you. Hence, ancient theatre already knew comedies and the art of caricature. Artur Schrőder wrote that the caricature "must recreate the real, true features of the model, exaggerated and accentuated in a specific, comical way, but in a way that the audience could easily recognise. A caricaturist must be an excellent psychologist."

Soup vase with a monogram of Prince Eustachy Erazm Sanguszko

Sets of tableware were initially assembled of objects made in a different style, time, and places. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries uniformly decorated tableware, known today as services, began to appear. Until the beginning of the 19th century, there were no strict rules determining what dishes should be included in such a set; therefore, they were put together according to current fashions or the personal preference of the person ordering them...

Watch of John Paul II

The watch is one of the personal belongings of Karol Wojtyła, which found its place in the Wadowice museum collection, thanks to the Nazarene Sister, Magdalena Strzelecka CSFN, who was the first curator to take care of the collections.

Photograph “The staff of Tadeusz Pankiewicz’s The Eagle Pharmacy”

The photograph was taken either in 1942 or 1943, in the times of the Kraków ghetto in Podgórze. It presents Tadeusz Pankiewicz accompanied by his employees: Helena Krywaniuk (in the background), Aurelia Danek (in the middle) and Irena Droździkowska. Contrary to their superior, the women did not stay in the ghetto at night.

Painting “Caricature of Jacek Malczewski” by Kazimierz Sichulski

Zakopane, located at the foot of the Tatra Mountains, surrounded by a picturesque landscape, used to be a paradise for all kinds of artists. Besides inspirations they could come across at every turn, they could also experience true creative and intellectual freedom there.

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].

Pistol with circular lock

Today, most researchers believe that Leonardo da Vinci — whose drawings were developed technically and used practically in Germany at the beginning of the 16th century — was the first proponent of the idea of a wheel-lock, which led to the construction of the first wheel-lock, which, in turn, made it possible to popularize short guns, otherwise known as pistols.

Painting “Frenzy” by Władysław Podkowiński

Along with Józef Pankiewicz, Władysław Podkowiński is considered to be the precursor of impressionism in Polish art painting. His works also gave rise to Symbolism and Expressionism trends in Polish Modernism. About 1892 Podkowiński’s oeuvre began to feature visionary and phantasmagoric depictions of the issues of love, suffering and death inspired by his personal experiences, with references to achievements by Western European symbolists.

Painting “Self-portrait with wife” by Stanisław Wyspiański

Wyspiański left twelve self-portraits. Every one of them is a fascinating record of the physical change and current emotional state of the artist according to his often-repeated belief stating that “man (...) changes irretrievably; they are changed by their experiences and thoughts. A portrait is a reflection of a moment, an artistic reflection seizing things in their very essence.”

The document with the seal of hetman Jan Tarnowski

A parchment with texts in Latin, issued in Wiewiórka, a holiday residence of the Tarnowski family. Suspended on an olive coloured rope is the knight seal of Jan Tarnowski – round, made of red wax, in a wax bowl of a natural colour, with an image of the Leliwa coat of arms, which functions as a symbol of Tarnów to this today, with the legend “IOANNIS COMES IN TARNOW.”

Sculpture “Mickiewicz after an Improvisation” by Wacław Szymanowski

Swooning, exhausted by “the Improvisation”, the national poet is supported by two female figures. Mickiewicz's figure seems to emerge from an irregular mass, resembling a wave in the sea — a theme strongly favoured by Szymanowski. This somewhat theatrical manner of displaying the character of the poet is meant to emphasize the effort accompanying the creation of outstanding poetry. In Wacław Szymanowski’s interpretation, in tune with the romantic image of the poet, Mickiewicz has created poetry under the influence of the supernatural.

Painting “Meditations” (“Ash-Wednesday”), from the Cycle: "Ceremonies" — VII

Witold Wojtkiewicz occupies a special position among the Young Poland painters. His paintings, typical of the decadent fin de siècle, were described by André Gide as the “personal fusion of Naturalism, Impressionism and grotesque.” The artist created his own painting world, astonishingly expressionistic, as if from some somnambulistic vision.

Painting “Wernyhora” by Jan Matejko

Wernyhora – a Ukrainian lyricist and bard, according to some a legendary person, according to others a historical person living in the second half of the 18th century – became famous for political prophecies regarding the fate of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Ukraine. He was supposed to have foreseen the bloody Cossack rebellions, the partitioning of Poland, the unsuccessful national liberation uprisings and the revival of the Polish statehood.

Woodcut “Bright Weather after the Snow Storm in Kameyama” by Utagawa Hiroshige

Utagawa Hiroshige occupied a special place in the collection by Feliks Jasieński: the collection gathered more than 2,000 woodcut boards by this artist. The abundantly represented landscape genre helps us appreciate Hiroshige as an artist who was considered to be the master of recreating the mood created by snow, rain and fog.

Silver cup designed by Jan Matejko

The collection of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków features an interesting 19th-century goblet of unknown history. According to tradition, it was associated with the figure of Jan Matejko. The silver goblet has a lid made in a historic style, with its form and decoration resembling Gothic chalices.

Queen Jadwiga’s tombstone

Carved in a single block of marble from Carrara and covered with a slightly smaller flat block with the figure of the queen lying with head directed towards the east. It is situated in the first arcade from the west in the southern wing of the ambulatory. An austere block tomb is supported by a base decorated with highly stylised lilies, a frize of square panels filled with heraldic eagles in the top part. The longer side (southern) is divided into seven panels, with the outer ones overlapping narrower sides.

Alms pouch

A small pouch made of a long piece of fabric sewn in half, reinforced on the sides with a silk tape, with a binding in the top part and a hole for a string used to tighten and loosen the pouch. At the bottom, there are decorative elements (tassels) consisting of gold circles made of thread and long single tassels. The whole pouch is embroidered with split stitch, long and short stitch and fishbone stitch. On one side, there are four human figures among thin trees with palmate leaves resembling oak leaves. On the other side, the same young woman is being led up a hill by the old man. Although interpretation of the scenes on the alms pouch is not certain, it is most likely they depict episodes from the story of Tristan and Iseult. The tale of unhappy love of brave Tristan to beautiful Iseult, the wife of king Mark of Cornwall, was written down for the first time in the 12th century and has been reappearing since then in many countries and language versions. Scenes embroidered on the pouch, enrooted in the Arthurian tradition, depict the clash of a sophisticated world of courtly ways (young and beautiful lovers) with wild forces of nature (the old men). There are only several alms pouches with similar decorations preserved until now.

Two armchairs, the “Ład” Artists Cooperative

In 1918, the Szymanowski family lost the family manor in Tymoszówka, Russia. Karol Szymanowski lived in hotels, boarding houses, and with his family ever since. At the furnished Atma Villa rented in Zakopane, the composer lived between 1930 and 1935. Two armchairs made by the Ład Artists Cooperative are the only pieces of furniture to have ever been bought by Szymanowski to furnish the Atma Villa.

Jadwiga Sawicka, “Batman”

In Jadwiga Sawicka’s works, individual objects and phenomena appear belonging to everyday life, as well as words and phrases taken out of context, from newspapers, commercials or electronic media. Items of clothing, such as a shirt, trousers, skirt, gloves, and a jacket assume the painted form of a simplified, monochromatic image of clothing, having no particular features; they become more concrete while being photographed. In a series of photos from 1997, presenting casual clothing separately, they are captured on a uniform background of plastic foil and artificial leather: a leather coat, a colourful dress, a suit, trousers, a bathing suit.

The German Aero Club memorial plaque for the pilot Lieutenant Franciszek Żwirko

In July 1930, two outstanding aviators, Franciszek Żwirko, together with Stanisław Wigura, took part in the international 1930 Challenge tourist planes competition flying the RWD-4 aircraft. On 25 July, the pilots had to withdraw due to an engine failure after a forced landing in Spain.