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The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art at Sukiennice

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My dear sweet friends,

Where would we be without ART? Is it not ART, in its multiple forms, that sets our hearts beating faster, that makes us laugh and makes us cry? It is true, some people like museums - some don't, some consider them boring - others may like to spend their whole day there. Art is part of the core of each person, and sometimes Art makes us better beings. Have you ever surprised yourself smiling when looking at a very beautiful painting? I have to admit I have, and not just once. Maybe this is why I like museums that much - they allow oneself to be free and wonder of past life and what people thought or what did they feel when they did a certain thing / used a certain object exposed.
Ever since I was small I used to love playing make believe. My mum even now recalls how she would be able to leave me alone in the room and I would make up games / songs / stories for myselfs, to keep me company. What better friend one could have, then himself? :) Maybe that is also why I can totally understand the line played by Daniel Day Lewis - song "Guido's Song" in the movie "Nine" -
"I would like to have another me to
Travel along with myself.
I would even like to be able to sing a
Duet with myself."
Even that sounds a bit narcissistic, I still think it is brilliant and I would find that doing this would be uplifting and fascinating at the same time :) I know museums are "a tough burden to bare" for some people, but I delight in them. I wish I could go each week to the museum, yet I would most of the time wish I had someone with me. I have already visited at least 90% of the museums in Krakow with Marek (some of them twice, and some more than a dozen times!) but each time I revisit a museum I find something new!
One of my personal favourite museums in Krakow - a division of the National Museum of Krakow, Poland - is "The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art at Sukiennice", or roughly called "The Sukiennice Museum". Located on the second floor of the wonderful Sukiennice, you can get either the stairs or the elevator. Here is what In Your Pocket has to say about it: "This magnificent and historic exhibition inside the Cloth Hall covers Polish art from in and around the 19th century, and its major trends of portraiture and epic historical painting.
Apparently touching the toe brings good luck, else why would everyone do that?!
Comprising four rooms, the collection is refreshingly small, giving proper attention to each piece, some of which are enormous and all of which are gorgeously framed. Almost everything by Jan Matejko here is rightly considered a national treasure, and the collection also includes works by Jacek Malczewski, Józef Chełmoński and Stanisław Witkiewicz, as well as Władysław Podkowiński's famous 'Frenzy' from 1894. Like a small slice of the Louvre in Kraków, but without the crowds, one of the perks of a visit is access to the magnificent balcony overlooking the market square."
The Gallery holds the largest permanent exhibit of the 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture, in four grand rooms. The majority of today’s collection at Sukiennice comprises gifts from collectors, artists and their families. The National Museum in Kraków was founded on October 7, 1879 by the decree of Kraków City Council following two-year-long renovations of the Sukiennice Cloth Hall under the direction of Mayor Mikołaj Zyblikiewicz. 
At a ceremonial ball of October 3, 1879 it was announced that artist Henryk Siemiradzki offered his monumental painting called the Nero’s Torches (Pochodnie Nerona) as gift to the city, with the intention of creating a brand new national gallery in the building. The new Museum elected Władysław Łuszczkiewicz, Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts as its first director. It was a major cultural venue from the moment it opened. The collection grew rapidly under the foreign partitions, with spontaneous donations pouring in from local gentry, as well as artists themselves.
Ladies details from paintings I love to watch, in the 19th Century Polish Art Gallery :)
By the late 1930s, the collections consisted of almost 300,000 items. The list of major benefactors grew exponentially bigger including many noble families. In 1920, the Museum acquired over 15,000 objects donated by a single collector, Feliks Manggha Jasieński, Dołęga coat-of arms. The construction of the Museum's contemporary New Main Building located at 3 Maja Street, started in 1934. All holdings ranging from antiquity to modern times were moved there.
The Gallery was closed to visitors from October 2006 till 2009 for major renovations; the bulk of the gallery's collections moved to Niepołomice Castle for temporary display. The Gallery re-opened in 2010 with new technical equipment, storerooms, service spaces as well as improved thematic layout of the display, providing a broader view of Polish art of the time.
The gallery's arrangement resembles that of a 19th-century salon. Each of the four large exhibition halls is defined by historical period and the theme usually revolving around the one central painting extending into an entire artistic epoch. But there are not only paintings inside the Gallery, but also a few lovely sculptures. Sculptures include Pius Weloński’s "Gladiator", Walery Gadomski’s "Salome", Piotr Wójtowicz’s "Perseus With the Head of Medusa", Teodor Rygier’s "Bacchante"he is the author of Adam Mickiewicz Monument adorning the entrance to the Museum on the east side of Kraków Main Square; Antoni Pleszowski’s "Sadness", Piotr Michałowski’s "Napoleon on Horseback" and Stanisław Lewandowski’s "A Slav Breaking Chains". Among the collection of portrait sculptures are, Piotr Michałowski’s self-portraits, Antoni Kurzawa’s "Mickiewicz Awaking the Genius of Poetry", Antoni Madeyski’s "Portrait of Aleksander Gierymski", Wiktor Brodzki’s "Instigations of Love", Piotr Wójtowicz’s "After a Bath" and Antoni Madeyski’s "Greyhound".
Details from paintings I love :)
Prices:
- Admission 14/8zł for a normal/reduced ticket;
- Family ticket 26zł; 
- Kids 7-16 and students under 26 (with valid ID) 1zł;
- Kids under 7 free;
- Sundays the entrance is FREE- read more here about FREE DAYS for Krakow Museums ;)
Have you ever visited Kraków's Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art before? Which of these fine paitings do you remember seing? Which one did you like best? :) Tell me your story! Or if you never been to it before, tell me, would you like to try it out one day? I could be your guide ;) It is open between 10:00 - 18:00, each day; but it closes each Monday.

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves to help travellers out there :)
Come to Kraków! It's a wonderfully magical place!