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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » December 30, 2016
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Paupers’ Bible
December 30, 2016   
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Religious art meant to bring hope to underprivileged people is at the center of a new exhibition at the State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw.

Entitled Biblia Pauperum: The Art of the Poor and Excluded, the exhibition focuses on Christian depictions of God in folk art, especially pictures illustrating biblical stories from the Creation to the resurrection of Christ and the Apocalypse.

Transforming God’s word into images is a common concept to Christianity and folk traditions where biblical accounts freely mix with legends of God, the devil and saints, passed on from generation to generation. In the exhibition, scenes from the Bible are combined with folk tales through which common people tried to find answers to questions such as the origins of the world and humanity or the reasons behind all the evil and poverty. Such tales also shed light on the social standing of people whose unorthodox appearance and lifestyles set them apart from the rest of their communities.

Visitors to the museum can explore the relations between folk and unprofessional art on the one hand and the many levels of biblical traditions on the other. The 150 or so items on show provide an insight into ordinary people’s ideas of the sacred and the supernatural. Reaching to the source of common beliefs, the exhibition shows how biblical stories were passed on between people. Visitors can hear songs performed by vagabond singers and see prints, prayer books and cheap, mass-produced pictures sold at church fairs.

Until Dec. 31
State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw; 1 Kredytowa St.
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