THE NATIONAL MUSEUM
Pl. Powstanców Warszawy 5
The National Museum
tel./fax: (+48 71) 343 56 43
The National Museum in Wroclaw occupies the building designed by an architect Karl Friedrich Endell and erected in 1883 - 1886.
Museum was established on 28 March 1947 as the State Museum in process of organization, on 11 July 1948 it was officially inaugurated to the public. From the 1 January 1950 Museum became a central museum of the Silesia region, as the Silesian Museum, to which museums of Wroclaw and Opole voivodeships were subordinated. It was appointed to the rank of the National Museum on 21 November 1970.
The oldest collections stem from previous German museums and certain sacral objects of Wroclaw and the Lower Silesia, as well as from Lvov collections conveyed to Poland in 1946 by the then Ukrainian authorities. Subsequently new collections were created, of the Polish contemporary art for instance; those already existing were completed too. The Museum holding encompasses over 120 thousand units of virtually all domains of art, ranging over mediaeval stone and wood sculpture, painting, drawing, prints and crafts, Silesian, Polish and foreign works of art. It houses also documents of Polish culture in Silesia from 19th and 20th century, an accumulation of books art interest and of photography as well as the collection of 20th century art.
The Museum collections are displayed on permanent exhibitions.
adult - 15 zl
reduced - 10 zl
groups - 5 zl
families - 10 zl (parent), 5 zl (child)
On Saturdays entry is free (permanent exhibitions)
The sarcophagus of Duke Henry IV Probus -the lid, Wroclaw, the Holy Cross Church, around 1300-1320
The Virgin Mary and a Child Enthroned on Lions, Skarbimierz, ca 1360
Bartholomaeus Spranger Baptism of Christ, 1603
Bartholomanus Strobel Young,
Johann Vogt portrait, 1628
Witold Wojtkiewicz, A Call 1908
Jan Lebenstein, Carpathien, 1965
New Gallery of Contemporary Art - opening September 2011
The year 2011 will be marked by an exceptional event: the opening of the new Gallery of Contemporary Art in the stunning space of the Museum’s remodelled attic. The National Museum in Wroclaw has one of the largest (over 20 thousand objects) and most representative collections of the art of the 20th and early 21st century. The new gallery, arranged in the stunning loft-like space of some 3000 square metres, will accommodate a more comprehensive selection and will doubtless feature on Poland’s cultural map as one of principal venue for presenting modern art, with the unique collection of the works by world-famous Magdalena Abakanowicz’s as its show stopping climax.
Iconography of Lower Silesia. Postcards -
10 October - 31 December 2011
Seven Autumnal Herbs and the Moon
3 September - 2 October 2011
Japan the Land of Gold
22 July - 21 November 2011
Zdzislaw Jurkiewicz. A Retrospective
27 June - 25 September
The first retrospective of Zdzislaw Jurkiewicz celebrates the artist’s 80th birthday, from his early metaphorical compositions the period from the mid-1950s, later Aggression and Invasion to geometric pieces to spatial compositions informed by Conceptual Art.
Zdzislaw Jurkiewicz - a painter, draughtsman, photographer, theorist and author of programmatic manifestos, a member of the Wroclaw Group, has emerged as one of most significant figures on the contemporary art scene in Wroclaw. Always avant-garde and inquisitive, he has invented and inspired others rather than followed mainstream trends.
The accompanying catalogue will present a comprehensive picture of the artist’s artistic and theoretic activity.
Exhibition of the Union of Polish Artists and Designers in Wroclaw
17 May - 12 June 2011
Staged to celebrate the Jubilee of the Union of Polish Artists and Designers established 100 years ago, the exhibition at the National Museum in Wroclaw will showcase the works by some forty departed members of the Union, including Eugeniusz Geppert, Alfons Mazurkiewicz, Ewa Mehl, Jerzy Boron, and Jerzy Rosolowicz. At the same time, the Raclawice Panorama will house an exhibition devoted to the activity of the Union’s section of conservation and several galleries in the city will present currently active artists. The exhibitions will be accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue.
WRO 2011 Alternative Now
10 May - 19 June 2011
Traditionally, in May and June the National Museum in Wroclaw will host one of the principal events of the WRO Media Art Biennale’s current edition titled ALTERNATIVE NOW. The presentation, staged at the Atrium, will showcase video projects, objects and installations selected from over 2000 works submitted for the juried exhibition. All have been created during recent two years and most will be shown in Poland for the first time; some will have their world premiere.
The WRO Biennale is the most important venue for new media art in Poland and Central Europe. This edition, staged under the heading of ALTERNATIVE NOW, focuses on the importance of individual approaches and artistic strategies distancing themselves from the mechanisms of institutional art and its standardised expectations.
The WRO Biennale is organised by the WRO Media Art Foundation, currently as a project under the auspices of the WRO Art Centre.
Furniture Game Parlour
4 December 2010 - 26 June 2011
The exhibition features antique game boxes and tables, playing pieces, cards and other items related to parlour games from the collection of the National Museum in Wroclaw: they come from the period of 16th-20th century.
The earliest pieces in the exhibition are 16th-century draughts decorated with images of European monarchs. The newest one is a jackpot slot machine from the 1980s. In the 17th century, game boxes were popular. Playing pieces (called checkers, draughts, stones, men, counters, pawns or chips) were stored inside and the box unfolded to provide a board for table games, like chess, draughts or backgammon. The most interesting piece featured at the exhibition is an ornate 17th-century game box decorated with relief intarsia of variegated woods characteristic of the items made in Eger (today Chleb) in Bohemia. In the 18th century, game boxes were replaced by specialised tables with drawers for storing playing pieces and tops unfolding to provide a board. Their form always reflected currently fashionable furniture styles. A Dutch card table decorated with floral motifs is a charming example. There are also game tables informed by Historicism or Art Deco. An interesting, intricately decorated board, made in Italy ca 1810-1820, was used by guests in a hotel in Kowary (Great Mountains) as late the 1950s. Worthy of attention is also a seal of the guild of woodturners with the image of a chess pawn, a 17th-century Dutch oil painting from the workshop of Dirck Hals with the Merry Company scene and an early-20th-century music cabinet with record player loaned by a private collector.
4 April - 9 June 2011
The exhibition commemorating the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the Department of Medicine and 60th anniversary of the Medical Academy in Wroclaw will feature rare and curious objects related to the history of medicine from the collections of the National Museum and Medical Academy in Wroclaw: antique pharmacy furnishings, medical equipment, anatomical models carved in ivory, and fascinating three-dimensional moulages (wax models cast from the skin of patients with dermatological conditions, like leprosy). A ceramic vessel to hold Mithridatium, the most famous poison antidote and medicine of all times, used from Antiquity through the 18th century and believed to cure all kinds of ailments, including consumption, infertility, and even melancholia, will also be on show along with a gilded “musk apple” and a wooden stethoscope.
Japanese Metalwork from the Collection of the National Museum in Wroclaw
29 March - 28 August 2011
The presentation of 19th-century Japanese metalwork will focus on objects produced for European and American markets where they enjoyed tremendous popularity: vases, incense burners, animal statuettes, food containers, decorative plates and mirrors. Their intricate decoration featuring skilfully rendered motifs inspired by nature, mythology, and history captivates with inventiveness, virtuosity of execution and a surprisingly modern expression.
POLISH ART 20TH C.
The display of selected works from the Museum's collection, counted as among the richest in Poland, is a survey of most important trends in 20thcentury art, beginning from the inter-war period (for instance works by Tadeusz Makowski, Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, Wladyslaw Strzeminski, Henryk Stazewski) to the late 20thcentury.
Amongst works that emerged in the post-war time especially representative are those which exemplify the expressive idiom influenced by great human themes. Life, death, transience are primal subjects of works by such artists as Waldemar Cwenarski, Alina Szapocznikow, Jan Lebenstein, Tadeusz Kantor, Jerzy Tchórzewski.
A trend somewhat akin to Surrealism is present in unreal landscapes by Zbigniew Makowski and pictures by Kazimierz Mikulski, as well as in canvases by Jerzy Nowosielski who was inspired by icon-painting.
Maria Jarema, Henryk Stazewski and Jerzy Rosolowicz executed works which rely for their effects on optical principles and rules of geometry. The arrangement of space in a form of environment is represented in compositions by Karol Broniatowski, Jerzy Kalina and Józef Szajna.
An outstanding place at the exhibition is held by Magdalena Abakanowicz whose output is shown in a separate room. The Museum's collection of her works counts as one of the largest in Europe.
Jan Jaromir Aleksiun, Izabella Gustowska and Natalia Lach-Lachowicz may be mentioned amongst exponents of the generation of artists whose work is a continuation of the figurative version of Expressionism.
The exhibition is supplemented by a show of ceramics and glass, a choice from the copious accumulation, providing a representative cross-section throughout seventy years or so. It allows to trace the evolution of both branches, beginning from functional forms (Julia Kotarbinska, Rudolf Krzywiec), via sculptural, spatial, made out-of-doors forms (Krystyna Cybinska, Mieczyslaw Zdanowicz), to small, decorative forms inspired by the surrounding world (Irena Lipska-Zworska, Anna Malicka).
POLISH ART 17TH-19TH C.
The exhibition comprises painting, sculpture and decorative arts arranged chronologically. It starts from the collection of portraits (17th- 18thc.) that are a very specific phenomenon in Polish Baroque art.
Works of artists from the circle of court painters to King Stanislaw August, as Marceli Bacciarelli and Bernardo Bellotto (known in Poland as Canaletto) reflect principles of Classicism, similarly to works by Jan Chrzciciel Lampi and also portraits by Jan Rustem and Kazimierz Wojniakowski.
Paintings by Franciszek Smuglewicz and Rafal Hadziewicz are characteristic of Historical painting.
Valuable and rich scale of exhibits exemplify so-called Biedermeier portraits of the second quarter of the 19thc., notably those by painters from Lvov school (Jan Kanty Maszkowski, Alojzy Rejchan, Karol Schweikart), glorifying prosperous and calm livelihood of the middle class.
Painting of the second half of the 19thc. is represented by works of Artur Grottger and Jan Matejko. Apart from Grottger's paintings his famous drawings' seriesWarsaw IandWarare shown occasionally (having regard to conservational rules). The Museum's holdings includes also, among other works by Matejko, his last, unfinished paintingThe Oath of King Jan Kazimierzand a sequence of drawingsThe Galaxy of Polish Kings and Princess. On display are works by Henryk Rodakowski, Wilhelm Leopolski, Wojciech Gerson, Józef Szermentowski, Józef Chelmonski, Aleksander Gierymski and Maurycy Gottlieb.
The survey is complemented by paintings of artists working on the turn of the 19th, like Jacek Malczewski, Olga Boznanska, Wladyslaw Slewinski, Stanislaw Debicki, Wladyslaw Podkowinski, Leon Wyczólkowski, Witold Wojtkiewicz, Stanislaw Wyspianski, Józef Pankiewicz and Wojciech Weiss.
Painting is accompanied by sculpture (for instance works by Marceli Guyski, Waclaw Szymanowski, Konstanty Laszczka) and decorative arts. To the most interesting belong: the completekontuszattire of the mid-19thc., a collection of eighteenth-century sash-belts from the most famous Polish manufactories (Sluck, Kobylka, Grodno), octagonal table clocks from the second half of the 18thc. and the first half of the 19thc., the pottery and glass units from well known eighteenth and ninetieth century Polish factories (namely faience and porcelain from Cmielów, faience from Wolff's workshop, porcelain made at Korzec and Baranówka, maiolica from Nieborow, glass from Radziwills' factory in Naliboki). Worthy of mention is also the furniture of around 1830, originally housed in a cabinet of vice-regent of Galicia, Kazimierz Badeni.
There are on display, too, examples of bookbinding and book decoration, mostly from the turn of the 19thc.
SILESIAN ART 16TH-19TH C.
The exhibition presents a precious collection of works of Silesian art from sixteenth to nineteenth century, i.e. sculpture, painting, decorative arts and printmaking. It spans a history of Silesian art from Renaissance to the beginnings of Modernism including, among other things, paintings and sculptures from epitaphs (for instanceEzechiel's Vision, 1565, by Tobias Fendt, a painting from the epitaph of Magdalen Mettel; the epitaph of Johann Hess, a pioneer of Silesian Reformation, d. 1547; figures from the tomb of the Rechenberg family in Kliczków, ca 1600), a portrait of Schaffgotsch family (1575), the pictureBaptism of Christby Bartholomaeus Spranger and paintings by a master of Silesian Baroque, Michael Willmann. There are also Baroque sculptures by Georg Schrötter, Matthias Steinl, Michael Ignatius Klahr the Older and Johann Georg Urbanski (monumental figures of the organ prospectus from St Mary Magdalen's Church in Wroclaw), by Thomas Weissfeld (figures of saints from an altarpiece originally in the collegiate Holy Cross' Church in Wroclaw), by Anthon Jörg and Franz Joseph Mangold.
The display of painting and sculpture is supplemented by guild coffin shields, jewellery of kings of Wroclaw Marksmen's Society, coins and medals, priceless gobelin with coats of arms of Brzeg rulers from the Piast dynasty (mid-16thc.) as well as the ceramic and glass articles from Silesian manufactures.
SILESIAN ART 12TH- 16TH C.
The display accumulates mainly sculptures originated as architectural decoration and funerary monuments.
Particularly noteworthy are: dated to the 12thcentury Romanesque tympanum (probably from the portal of the Benedictine Olbin Abbey) and tombs of Silesian princes from the Piast dynasty, among others one of the most precious works of Gothic art in Poland, the sarcophagus of Duke Henry IV Probus of Wroclaw (d. 1290), with preserved rich polychromy. Originally located in the collegiate Holy Cross Church in Wroclaw, during the Second World War it was removed from the city. Found in Wierzbna near Swidnica in 1946, the tomb monument was subsequently placed in the Museum.
A tombstone with the portrait of Duke Henry II Pious is dedicated to the memory of the ruler, the son of St. Hedwig. It stems from his tomb in St Vincent's Church in Wroclaw, which was erected over hundred years after the death of the sovereign that was killed near Legnica during the battle with Tartars (battle of Legnica, 1241).
It ranks with the most numerous and best collections of medieval art in Poland, encompassing sculptures in wood and paintings on wood panels, in addition to examples of decorative arts and crafts. Their subjects were mostly intended to convey a religious narrative. Chronologically arranged display reflects ideological and stylistic changes, to which Gothic art was submitted.
It includes selected sculptures connected with the circle of so-called Virgins on lions, among them the sculptureThe Virgin Mary and a Child Enthroned on Lionsfrom Skarbimierz (ca 1360), as well as a group of St Mary Magdalen and Apostles (1360 - 1370) from St Mary Magdalen's Church in Wroclaw.
Mystical approach is represented, among others, byPietáfrom St Dorothea's Church in Wroclaw (ca 1380) and a paintingSt Anne with the Virgin and the Christ Childfrom Strzegom (the late 14thc.), whereas a paintingMadonna with Child, originally housed in St John the Baptist's Cathedral in Wroclaw, is an example of the International Gothic style.
From among Late Gothic's works worthy of special mention are monumental retables from Wroclaw churches, as for instance: fragments of Wroclaw Goldsmiths Polyptych from St Mary Magdalen's Church, St Hedwig's Triptych (ca 1470 - 1480) from St Elisabeth's Church and Dormition Polyptych (1492) from the Corpus Christi Church.
Mention should be made of exhibited objects of decorative arts, namely goldsmiths' works, like herma - reliquary of St Dorothea (the early 15thc.), chalices and patens (the 15thc.) and well as Silesian guild utensils, predominantly pewter ware (the turn of the 15thc.).
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