Red beads were one of the basic elements of traditional folk costumes. However, not all beads adorning our great-grandmothers' necks had noble origins. Genuine coral beads could be so expensive that many girls could only dream of them. With a bit of dexterity and ingenuity, this obstacle was successfully overcome.
In the 2nd quarter of the 14th century in Paris, the manufacture of luxury items, which were decorated with depictions carved in ivory related to courtly culture and secular literature, flourished. A set of caskets (preserved in whole or in fragments), decorated with compilations of scenes from medieval romances, is particularly interesting. Among them, there is also an artefact from the treasury of the Cracovian cathedral, which is exhibited today at The Wawel’s Cathedral Museum. Other items with a very similar decorative pattern can be found at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham, at The British Museum in London, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, at the Musée de Cluny (Musée national du Moyen Âge ) in Paris, at the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence, at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Some researchers also include the so-called the Lord Gort Casket, stored today at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, in this group.
The ivory casket from the treasury of the Cracovian cathedral belongs to the group of artefacts made in Paris in the 2nd quarter of the 14th century – these objects are decorated with scenes from medieval romances (see the text Medieval femme fatales). The sets of individual episodes complement each other according to the principle of contrast: for example, stories about pure love were contrasted with legends about adultery. However, the snag is that many medieval romances are structured so that instead of condemning sinful lovers, we all root for their immoral relationship.
A round box with a cover; it was probably used as a powder box, in the colour of milk, decorated with medallions and a blue floral painted pattern. The glass inside the powder box was painted with cobalt, hence the blue colour.
The creative position of women in the 19th century was subject to numerous conditions and threats. Conditions primarily originated in the professionalization and institutionalization of artistic life, which — at least for women of this generation — were a hindrance to an artistic career. Difficulties arose from the limited access to institutions, from customary conventions, but also from a life full of personal tragedies and financial dependency. The women of Olga Boznańska’s generation constituted the first distinct group practicing art professionally, unlike their predecessors, who, with few exceptions, were amateurish, often talented and artistically educated.
Maria Sobańska (1887–1948) belonged to the noble, influential Skrzyński family, who, in the 19th century, became the owner of the nearby village of Zagórzany in Gorlice. She was the sister of Aleksander Józef Skrzyński, a diplomat and politician known before the war, the Prime Minister of the Second Polish Republic in 1925–1926 ...
Beautiful women of the oiran offered an attractive subject for artists dealing with Japanese wood engravings; it peaked in the Edo epoch (1603–1868). Elusiveness and passing, so strongly featured in the philosophy of this period, made people seize the current moment and celebrate the joy stemming from watching flowers or admiring the Moon.
During the mid-18th century it was popular to set the table on the occasion of the most important ceremonies with porcelain statuettes forming rich iconographic stories. Along the entire length of the table, next to the silverware and the china, sat an arrangement of many statuettes in the form of garden paths, streets or castle arcades, placed on a mirror sheet or coloured sand.
The pride of the palace in Slavuta was a small pastel portrait which presented a charming teenage girl. It depicts Teresa née Czartoryska, the daughter of Józef Klemens, the founder of the china manufacturing plant in Korets. The girl’s mother was duchess Dorota née Jabłonowska, who was famous for her beauty. The author of the portrait was one of the most outstanding French painters, Elisabeth Louise Vigee-Lebrun /1755–1842/.
Portraits of the members of the Sanguszko family, one of the wealthiest and most influential families in the former Commonwealth, as well as of their closest relatives make a large group in the collection of the Museum in Tarnów. They were a part of the furnishing and decoration of palace interiors in numerous ducal mansions. The portrait presented here comes from Slavuta situated on the Horyn, one of the main rivers of Volhynia (Ukraine).
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.
The artist plays the image off against the text. He juxtaposes images of people with information about their job and the situational context. By these means he creates multidimensional portraits of well-known media individuals.
The portrait shows Teresa Karolina Radziwiłłowa, the daughter of the Grand Hetman of the Crown, Wacław Rzewuski and Anna née Lubomirska. From 1764 she was married to Karol Stanisław Radziwiłł, the voivode of Vilnius, popularly known as My Dear Sir [Panie Kochanku]. Divorced in 1781, she remarried Feliks Chobrzyński.
The bust of Maria, née Skrzyńska Sobańska, made in the Art Nouveau style, was carved out of Carrara marble. The object—acquired after the liquidation of a mansion—was transferred to the Regional Museum in Gorlice. Maria Sobańska came from the influential Skrzyński noble family, which had the title of “Count” .
A young woman, clearly amused, seems to be walking towards the viewer with a dance-like step. Her shapely figure has been captured in a lively pose, and the body is covered only with a fabric carelessly wrapped around the hips. The girl is raising a goblet with a vigorous gesture of her right hand. The Dionysian character of sculpture, marked in the title, is emphasized by a vine twig gripped in the left hand.
The situation for actresses of the city theatre at the beginning of the 20th century was not easy. Work conditions were difficult; contracts obliged actors to, for example, learn two sheets of prose or one sheet of poetry within twenty four hours (up to 100 new titles and revivals were played...
Seductive Salome, as a symbol of a femme fatale, became a character of numerous paintings, sculptures, literary and musical works. She excited the imagination of artists, especially in the decadent period of fin de siècle, when possessive and lethal femininity constituted one of the most important motifs in art.
The sculpture In the Theatre Box invites us to the world created by its author, to her contemporaneous “here and now”; it arouses our curiosity. We want to know what the portrayed woman is involved in, what makes her look so dreamy, who she is looking at, and why she has put down her opera glasses. Who is she? Where is she? In the theatre, in the opera? We shall never know. The sculpture probably dates from 1909, and was created by Luna Amalia Drexler, whose background is not covered by contemporary studies.