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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » January 4, 2018
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January 4, 2018   
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Art of Wealthy Bourgeoisie
The Narodowe Museum in Warsaw is showing till January 7 an exhibition devoted to the art of the wealthy bourgeoisie, the Biedermeier style.

The Biedermeier style, which took shape in the German-speaking part of the world shortly after the Congress of Vienna (1815) and thrived until the Spring of Nations (1848), left a strong imprint on all of Europe.

More than 300 artefacts are featured in the exhibition - paintings, furniture, glassware, porcelain, textiles, clothing, jewellery and decorative objects - illustrating the German iteration of the style as well as its unique national varieties, with particular emphasis on the Biedermeier art of Polish lands: the Kingdom of Poland, the Grand Duchy of Poznań, Galicia and the Vilnius Region.

For that reason, visitors to the exhibition will find the work of artists like Jan Chrucki, Aleksander Gryglewski, Rafał Hadziewicz, Wincenty Kasprzycki and Marcin Zaleski alongside works by the likes of Ferdinand Waldmueller, Domenico Quaglio, Carl Spitzweg and Moritz von Schwind.

The exhibition traces some of the most important phenomena to arise in the wake of the new social order that was sweeping through Europe. The conclusion of the era’s devastating liberation wars ushered in the higher status of the wealthy bourgeoisie and their value system. The yearning for “small stabilisation” meant ever greater importance of children and the family - thus the growing popularity of family portraits.

As the art of the wealthy bourgeoisie, the Biedermeier style put a premium on comfort, translating to furniture and interior design that was functional and marked by a noble simplicity. The higher culture of everyday life brought with it a greater need for artisanal goods (glassware, silverware, porcelain and jewellery) in modern forms.

The Fashion for Cranach
The National Museum in Wrocław opens the exhibition called The Fashion for Cranach which presents the paintings of the Reformation period from Wrocław and Silesia and commemorates the 500th anniversary of the publishing of the Ninety-five Theses by Martin Luther in Wittenberg.

The art of Lucas Cranach, his circle and their influence in Silesia is the key to the presentation. Among several dozens of paintings on display, the exhibition includes iconic works by Lucas Cranach the Elder, such as Madonna under the fir tree, Salome, Adam and Eve or The ill-matched couple. The exhibition aims at showing the popularity of Cranach’s art in Silesian artistic environment of his time and later on. The curator of the exhibition is Marek Pierzchała.

A dozen of works by Cranach, being on loan at the exhibition from the National Museum in Warsaw and also from Budapest and Berlin, give an insight into the variety of biblical, mythological and secular topics undertaken by the Cranach company, however, they constitute only an attractive and necessary background. Around these works the proper story has been composed, in which the main characters are Silesian painters, authors of epitaphs (from the collection of the National Museum in Wrocław and churches of Wrocław, Nysa and Głogów) and Cranach’s woodcuts and its alterations, as their closer or more distant inspiration.

The exhibition will feature a dozen of old prints (from the collection of the Univeristy of Wrocław Library), richly illustrated with Cranach’s woodcuts. These will include such excellent and rare works as: Martin Luther’s translations of the Bible, with famous September Testamentum (1522) translated at record-breaking pace by the reformator at the Wartburg castle; illustrated postils – Luther’s sermons, constituting commentary to the Gospel. These prints formed the protestant iconography, becoming an accessible transmitter of new ideas. Among the Silesian paintings inspired by the art of the Cranachs, visitors will be able to see: put on public display for the first time the Virgin of the Apocalypse from the sacristy of Wrocław cathedral. and two paintings dating back to the turn of Middle- Ages and modern times, with clear reference not only to the art of Cranach, but also to his great peer, Albrecht Dürer. An additional unmissable feature of the exhibition is the drawings from the 16th century, which have never been exposed before. They include designs of epitaph paintings and a few dozens of portraits of Wrocław people.

The exhibition will be open until 30th December, 2017.

The Meaning of Blood in Jewish Culture
An exhibition: “Blood: Uniting & Dividing” at the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews has been inspired by the exhibition at the Jewish Museum London dedicated to the meaning of blood in Jewish culture. The Polish displays develops the threads which emerged in London, enriching them with new ideas and objects. The exhibition expands popular knowledge about the question of blood in its religious, historical and social context. Referring to both tradition and modernity, the project aims at presenting facts and challenging stereotypes, especially those related to the Christian-Jewish relations.

Visitors will have the opportunity to see works from Polish and foreign collections, some of which will be shown in Poland for the first time. One of them is the lithography „Cain and Abel” by Marc Chagall from the collection of the artist's museum in Nice, France. It illustrates the first appearance of the word "blood" in Torah and the Bible. Chagall’s work, dominated by the red color, depicts the moment of fratricide and is one of 25 Bible illustrations created by the artist in 1960.

A spectacular acrylic and steel installation „Blood Cinema” by Anish Kapoor can also be seen in the lobby of the POLIN Museum, as part of the exhibition. Kapoor is one of the most world-renowned contemporary artists, whose works are exhibited in such museums as MoMa in New York, Tate Modern in London and Pompidou Center in Paris.

Polin has also invited three Polish artists to the project: Eliza Proszczuk, Dorota Buczkowska and Bogna Burska, whose works are a contemporary commentary on selected themes of the exhibition.

Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews, 6 Anielewicza St.,
on view through Jan. 29, 2018

Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera. Polish Context in Poznań
ZAMEK Culture Centre in Poznań is one of the largest cultural institutions in the country, presenting the most interesting phenomena of contemporary culture, in which the interwoven threads of visual arts, theatre, cinema, music and literature penetrate and complement one another. Currently, ZAMEK Culture Centre boasts an exhibition of Mexican artists.

The exhibition entitled Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera. Polish context is Poland’s first and truly one-of-a-kind presentation of the oeuvre created by these outstanding Mexican performers. Here, viewers have the opportunity to see Kahlo’s iconic masterpieces, such as Self-Portrait with a Necklace, Portrait of Diego Rivera, or Self-Portrait MCMXLIW.

Two crucial elements constitute the title Polish context: Frida’s and Diego Rivera’s very close relations with Polish-born artists (photographer Bernice Kolko and painter Fanny Rabel) on the one hand, and the presence of works by Kahlo and Rivera at the Exhibition of Mexican Art held in 1955 in Poland on the other.

The exhibition feature 28 works by Frida Kahlo, 10 by Diego Rivera and 11 works of other artists, such as photographs by Nickolas Muray, courtesy of the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection in Mexico. There will also be 60 works by Frida’s student, Fanny Rabel, around 80 photographs by Bernice Kolko and 14 pieces contributed by the National Museum in Warsaw, as well as 20 other documents: reviews, posters, catalogues of the 1955 exhibition and other shows of Mexican art in Poland; in addition, artists of the meXylo group will present 40 of their works, too.

The curator of the exhibition is dr Helga Prignitz-Poda. She translated the first biographical outline of Frida’s life from Spanish into German, and has been the curator of many European exhibitions dedicated to Kahlo. She is also the author of numerous books and catalogues concerned with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, as well as a number of publications addressing Mexican art.

The exhibition is enriched by a comprehensive programme of accompanying events, created with the support from the Veolia Foundation. It includes a range of educational projects, film screenings and contextual undertakings. Schools of every level can book museum classes for their pupils and students, and those interested are welcome to take part in art, music and social workshops, as well as guided tours of the exhibition (also available in English). The exhibition will be open until 21st January, 2018.

The Charm of Dolls’ World
Over 100 historical houses, shops and rooms for dolls are on display in a new fascinating museum in Warsaw. The Dollhouse Museum (Muzeum Domków dla Lalek) features dozens of charming interiors and thousands of tiny trinkets. Visitors will see a unique collection of sacral toys as well as well as horse-drawn carriages, medical clinics, and hairdresser shops, all for dolls.

The exhibition focuses around a collection owned by Aneta Popiel-Machnicka, who seeks out old and forgotten dolls’ houses all over the world, to then restore and furnish them meticulously, working together with her children to reclaim the former glory of these wondrous artefacts.
Through years the collection could be seen at numerous temporary exhibitions in museums all over Poland, where it attracted a lot of visitors.

The museum is situated in secret rooms behind the Congress Hall,

The entrance to the museum is located in the inner courtyard of the Palace of Culture. It can be accessed either under the arcades from the side of Emilii Plater street (between the tourist information and the Congress Hall), or through the main hall of the Palace (entry from Marszałkowska street).

The Palace of Science and Culture, Warsaw, Plac Defilad 1,
open: 9am-7pm; www.muzeumdomkow.pl

Exhibition of One Painting
Three paintings from the New York-based Kościuszko Foundation, namely, “Kościuszko in West Point” by Boleslaw Jan Czedekowski, “Light Cavalry Lisowczycy” by Józef Brandt and “Gamrat and Stańczyk” by Jan Matejko are presented one after the other at the Picture Gallery of the Royal Łazienki Museum in Warsaw until mid-April 2018.

The human-size figure of Tadeusz Kościuszko is presented in the uniform of the Brigadier of the American Continental Army from the American Revolutionary War. The chest of the commander-in-chief is decorated with the order of the Society of Cincinnati, to which he belonged. In the background, one can see Fort Clinton by the Hudson River.

Czedekowski visited West Point several times to learn about the topography of the terrain and see the personal belongings of Kościuszko, which had been preserved at the location. The volute in the top left corner of the portrait contains a quote from George Washington: "Kościuszko is a man of science and merit". The painting can be viewed till December 15.

"Light Cavalry Lisowczycy" is regarded as most valuable item in the Kościuszko Foundation’s art. collection. The dynamic scene depicts the light horse cavalry riders, conscripted in the 17th century by Colonel Aleksander Lisowski, who lived off with plunder. The target of the bowman - the turban - alludes to the battles against Turks in the south-east of Poland. On display till February 15.

The painting Gamrat and Stańczyk" by Matejko, regarded the greatest Polish history painter is a dynamic composition, presenting multiple figures. It depicts a procession entering a square through a gate, at night. The procession is led by Bishop Piotr Gamrat, custodian of Queen Bona Sforza, and Stańczyk, jester of King Sigmund the Old. The painting dates from 1873-1878 and has not yet been displayed to the Polish audience before. On view till April 15.

Organized by the Royal Lazienki in cooperation with the KoŚciuszko Foundation, the exhibition is part of observances commemorating the Year of Kościuszko and the bicentenary of his death.

The Picture Gallery of the Royal Łazienki Museum in Warsaw, Pałac na Wyspie (Palace on the Isle)
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