Decorating walls with precious textiles added grandeur and significance to modest interiors. It is known from preserved descriptions and inventories that European rulers highly valued this artwork and loved being surrounded with tapestries since they added splendour to their owners. Tapestries were ordered for specific chambers of a ruler's residence as they performed relevant functions in a given space, expressed through the subject matter of their presentations. A special place in the entire collection of Sigismund II Augustus was occupied by monogram and heraldic tapestries, commissioned probably after 1553 (around 1555). Their subject matter and set of motifs expressed a precisely defined agenda directly related to the person of the ruler and his country.
“Show trials” were political processes used in totalitarian states, aimed at discrediting the opposition by conducting a public trial based on trumped-up charges. They were also meant to intimidate society. During the pre-trial investigation, the defendants...
Along with the towns founded under the Magdeburg law, fortifications were also built (over time, both the construction and defence of individual fragments of the walls...
Kazimierz Stronczyński, who was for some time in possession of the valuable Włocławek reliquary (Kruszwica reliquary) presented on the website, was a distinguished cataloguer of historical items, a creator of numismatics and an inestimable expert and researcher of seals...
This is the “Zadora” coat of arms, used by the founders of Gorlice, the Karwacjanie. According to Marcin Kromer, the city was founded in 1355, with the consent of Casimir the Great, by Dziersław I Karwacjan...
The night chair in the 18th century was the privilege of rulers and noble men from wealthy families. It was advertised as “an armchair for going outside in a room”. The first bathrooms inside houses appeared very late. Even in the 1960s, public baths were commonly used by both tourists and the locals.
In the panegyric of Stanisław Orzechowski (Panagyricus nuptiarum Sigismundi Augusti Poloniae Regis), describing events of the wedding ceremony of Sigismund Augustus and Catherine of Austria, an ekphrasis was preserved which illustrates the tapestries of biblical themes, including Paradise Bliss from the series The History of the First Parents. This text is valuable inasmuch as it includes the first information that ever appeared on the tapestries, helpful in dating the commissioned series. It is also, or perhaps above all, a record of impressions and reactions of the contemporary audience, constituting in some way a commentary of their worldview.
A treasure of four gold Roman coins from the 5th century AD was found in Witów. It contains three solidi of Emperor Theodosius II (402–450) and one solidus of Emperor Valentinian II (424–455). The first group of coins presents a bust in an armour on the obverse. The name of the emperor is inscribed on the rim — DN THEODOSI-VS P.F. AVG.
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.
Despite the fact that in the picture from 17 September 1989, the seven-ton bronze-cast monument of Lenin stands solidly on the ground, less than three months later (10 December1989) it had disappeared from the landscape of Kraków’s Nowa Huta. Aleja Róż [Rose Avenue], with its monumental architecture, had been the decoration for the statue for 16 years (the monument was erected in 1973)...
Sigismund Augustus probably ordered some of these fabrics around the year 1548. According to Wychwalnik weselny [Wedding praiser] by Stanisław Orzechowski (Panagyricus Nuptiarum Sigimundi Augusti Poloniae Regis, ed. 1553), the three series of tapestries: the History of the First Parents, the Story of Moses and the Story of Noah already adorned the interiors of Wawel Castle on 30 July 1553, for the wedding celebrations of Sigismund Augustus and Catherine of Austria. It is assumed that after this year the king ordered further fabrics, and that around 1560, the entire collection was already in his possession.
For centuries, precious stones have been desired not only because of their beauty. It was believed that, if properly selected, they could cure a variety of ailments and diseases. Some of them became direct components of healing potions. Powdered pearls, which were believed to be created from God’s tears...
The representative room of the Bishop Erazm Ciołek Palace, known as the Room of Virtues, houses the gallery of old Polish portrait paintings that were common in the old Poland. For the nobility, their own images and depictions of their relatives and ancestors formed a vital factor for building family and social ties and documenting genealogy and affiliations.
Historians define the privilege as a document issued by the monarch to a particular group, state or — like in the case of Gródek and Kąclowa — a concrete place. It was enforced only on a particular land which was mentioned in the document of the privilege.
The picture depicts Prince Władysław Sigismund Vasa, later Władysław IV Vasa, the King of Poland. It was painted by an unknown artist of Rubens' circle, and it repeats the pattern established by Rubens in other similarly composed equestrian portraits he painted (i.a. the portrait of Giancarlo Doria, 1602, Florence, the Palazzo Vecchio; the portrait of Duke of Lerma, 1603, Madrid, the Museo del Prado).
The presented mace was the symbol of the head of the Zwierzyniec Borough. The borough was founded in 1810, which we know thanks to the date stamped on its head. Around it, there is also the inscription: Państwo Zwierzyniec + Wieś Zwierzyniec [Zwierzyniec Country + Zwierzyniec Village].
Donatives (from Latin donum — gift) are a special category of numismatic item, with the characteristics of both coins (multiples of a ducat) and medals (a high artistic standard). They were a gift given to monarchs or prominent dignitaries, in order to gain their favour, at the same time proving the power and magnificence of the issuers. In the Commonwealth, they were minted at the request of rich cities, such as Gdańsk and Toruń.
The head is a fragment of the ruler's statue, it is covered with nemes [scarf] with a wide head-band over the forehead, decorated with the insignia of the Pharaonic power uraeus [cobra]. It is a face with faded features; the eyes are shown without detail; it has a wide nose with distended nostrils.
Features of style, like treatment of the eyes, uraeus form and the soft outline of the nemes permit attribution to Ptolemaic times. Based on similarities with the head of a sphinx of 150 BC, it is possible to assume that our head had once belonged to a sphinx set up at Saqqara, if the place of discovery is anything to go by.
The portrait presents Jan Sobieski (1629–1696) of the ”Janina” coat of arms, the son of the Kraków castellan and Teofilia née Daniłowicz. It is one of the rare images of Sobieski, the Grand Hetman of the Crown (1688) before his election for the King of Poland in 1674. Jan Sobieski, the hero of Chocim and Vienna, was born in the castle in Olesko, near Podhorce. He was the descendant of the famous hetman, Stanisław Żółkiewski.