The Warsaw Voice » Stage & Screen » Monthly - July 6, 2018
Exhibitions
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Royal Treat to Ancient Art
   
Ancient pottery and Egyptian artifacts from the collection of Aleksandra and Stanisław Kostka Potockis and their descendants, can be viewed in the newly opened Rooms of Antiquities at the The Museum of King John III's Palace at Warsaw-Wilanów.

Kostka Potocki was an outstanding collector and expert on the history of art, an enlightened politician and reformer of education. In 1805, he made his collections available to the public at the Wilanów Palace, thus creating the museum in the historic royal residence. A magnificent miscellanea of antique vases, paintings, sculptures, engravings and books formed the basis of various collections of ancient art offered later to the general public.

The collections, ripped apart in the twentieth century, return systematically to the palace in Wilanów, where they are integrated and supplemented with publications of source texts to bring back the great Polish tradition of collecting Greek and Latin antiquities.

During the Enlightenment era, experts valued ancient works of art as an expression of humanistic values and classical harmony. Kostka Potocki started buying ancient vases while traveling to Italy (1785-1786) with the intention of completing new furnishings for the Wilanów Palace’s interiors. The current presentation of the collection allows the audience to see the items as planned by the Wilanów Museum’s creator – in carefully restored cabinets in the historical interiors of the palace.

Visitors to the Rooms of Antiquities will be able to see the head of Osiris, a fragment of Egyptian sculpture from 595-570 BC, two alabastrons - vessels with images of gods and animals among orientalising ornaments from about 600 BC, a red-figure amphora from Greece with a moving scene showing a warrior saying goodbye to his wife and father from around 440 BC and a bell crater - a black dish adorned with the image of the god Dionysus in a laurel wreath and with a tyrse in the hand from 400-380 BC.