The present plaster cast is a copy of an ancient Greek statue stored in the Louvre. The sculpture was discovered in 1875 on the sacred road leading to the heraion (temple of the goddess Hera) on the island of Samos. In 1881, the statue was appropriated and taken to the Louvre, where it is still currently stored (Inventory No. Ma 686). The plaster cast from the collections of the Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts was made in the Louvre, as evidenced by a metal plate with the inscription “Musée du Louvre” on the back of the plaster figure.
The collection of King Zygmunt’s tapestries, since its first presentation in the chambers of Wawel castle, has aroused admiration. The ideological and artistic wealth of the tapestry has provided intellectual stimulus for its contemporary audience. It has also had an impact literary works such as Panegyric by Stanisław Orzechowski. Jan Kochanowski, who had been inspired by the sight of a satyr on one of the royal fabrics (see: Tapestry with the monogram of Zygmunt August on a cartouche held by satyrs),e made the forest god the main hero of his political satire: Satyr or Wild man (1563, published in 1564).
The base of the scales is a wooden box with three drawers, covered with a marble top. The arms of the scales are made of coloured metal and hung on a zinc-aluminium statue of the god of medicine, Asclepius.
On a wooden box with three drawers covered with a top made of white marble stands a zinc-aluminium alloy statuette. It depicts the goddess Hygeia with a snake wrapped around her hand, dressed in an antique gown.
The scene shows the goddess Aphrodite leaning her head towards a winged Cupid to listen to what he wants to say to her. The goddess’s enigmatic smile suggests the frivolous character of the conversation. The artistic virtuosity: flawlessly smooth moulding and details rendered carefully are the typical features of Wiktor Brodzki’s sculptures.
Travel clocks, also called carriage clocks, were produced in many European watchmaker workshops from the 2nd half of the 17th century. Around the year 1700, Friedberg became the most important centre of their production, and they were mainly intended for export to Paris and London.
The sculpture was purchased by Artur Potocki in 1829 from Thorvaldsen’s atelier in Rome. In 1830, it was located in the palace in Krzeszowice, and since 1945 it has been in the National Museum in Kraków. Along with Antonio Canova of Italy, Bertel Thorvaldsen of Denmark was the most outstanding Neoclassical sculptors. The subject of this work was drawn from the Metamorphoses by Ovid (book I ).
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.
The Centaur sculpture is a copy of one of two marble sculptures found in Rome in 1736, during excavation works in Hadrian's Villa, but substantially reduced in size. At present, the Furietti Centaurs, named after their discoverer, Giuseppe Alessandro Furietti, can be found in the Capitoline Museums in Rome.
The artist took the theme from the dialogue of the gods, placed in Virtus, a work of Leon Battista Alberti. Virtue wants to complain about Fortune and the plight of the humans, but Jupiter does not listen to her, as he does not want to enter into a dispute with Fortune. The painting, which is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and interesting paintings, also in terms of iconography, was painted for Alfonso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara.
The original Greek statue was found in 1820 on the Cycladic island of Milos (ancient Greek: Μῆλος, pronounced: Mêlos modern Greek: Μήλος, pronounced: Mýlos) and purchased by Marquis de Rivière, who, back then, was the ambassador of France in Istanbul. He gave the sculpture to Louis XVIII, who, in the following year, handed it over to the Louvre, where it remains to this day. The Aphrodite of Milos became part of the French national collection of antiques, which was to compete with the collections of the British Museum, slightly earlier enriched with the Elgin Marbles: sculptures and reliefs imported from the Acropolis in Athens by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin.
Among the medicinal plants preserved on the stained glass, which can be seen in the Museum of Pharmacy of the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, there is an aconite specimen with a blue inflorescence, which, according to Greek mythology, grew out of the saliva of Cerberus guarding the gates of Hades. What does another exhibit in the collection of WMM – Herbarium by Szymon Syreniusz – say about it?
The decoration engraved on the bowl depicts the mythological scene presenting Orpheus sitting under a tree and playing the lyre, surrounded by animals. On the other side the inscription, “Orpheus playing assumedly with a tree and animals”, with spelling mistakes, which allows for attributing this exhibit to Saxon engravers from the Hein family working at that time in the Radziwiłł glassworks in Naliboki.
The tapestry is part of a group of twelve textiles with the coats of arms of Poland and Lithuania against a background of ornamentation called Netherlandish grotesque. It belongs to a subgroup in which the coats of arms of both parts of the Commonwealth are entrusted to the care of the Roman goddess Ceres – a patron of peace, abundance and prosperity. The slender female figure in robes, modelled on clothing of ancient statues, holds a sickle and cornucopia, and stands in the middle on a marble podium. The sickle in her hand and a wreath of grain ears on her head bring associations with summer – the season of harvest, while the cornucopia symbolises prosperity.
The object presented here comes from Carnuntum, the Roman army camp and city situated on the Danube between Vienna and Bratislava. The bas-relief depicts a scene of a bull being killed by Mithra. The deity, dressed in a Roman tunica and wearing a Phrygian cap, is kneeling and supporting the animal with his left knee.
With over two thousand years mummy comes from the excavations carried out in 1907 in el-Gamhud by the first Polish Egyptologist, Tadeusz Smoleński. The goddess Isis – Aset-iri-khet-es – lies in a sarcophagus with an impressive lid. Through research conducted in 1996 it found that it was a young woman who died approx. two thousand 300 years ago as a result of blood loss caused by arterial puncture fractured leg. Specialists able to determine, among others, the genetic code of the deceased and her blood type. It is the largest in terms of the size of the object from the collection of Egyptology in Poland and is best examined by specialists.
The object was purchased from Mohareb Zaaki by soldiers of the Polish Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade during WW II. The mummy has a gilded wax mask. The sarcophagus with the head of Horus and a striated wig on the breast bear the necklace composed of a chapel with Ibis inside.
“Pseudo-mummy”, formed of Nile silt mixed with resin and germinating seeds, molded and then wrapped in linen bandages. Silver mask with traces of gilding in the place of the face. Eyes marked with drawn out corners, eyebrows painted brown, small nose and prominent ears. The crown of Upper Egypt on its head and a hole for the beard in the chin. Silver masks, unlike the waxen ones, are extremely rare in this kind of objects.
The shroud was purchased from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo by soldiers of the Polish Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade during WW II and granted to the Archaeological Museum. The right side of the shroud represents the deceased person as Osiris. The head in a wig is decorated with a crown of ostrich feathers with a solar disk placed on the horns with uraei on the sides.
The representation on the bandages illustrates a fragment of chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead, the scene of “weighing hearts”. The Book is a set of formulas and spells, which are supposed to help the deceased to achieve eternal life in another world and to put down the demons of darkness, but foremost to be favourably judged of Osiris. The figures shown on the bandages, usually 42 of them, picture the Egyptian nomes, which functioned simultaneously as religious centers. The judges of the Tribunal of Two Justices are the same time the guardians of the sinners.