ONNA – Beauty, Strength, Ecstasy

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

  • Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

“Greetings to everyone. I will arrive soon…” – the woman (“onna” in Japanese) in Kitagawa Utamaro’s woodcut is captured at the moment when she’s writing those words. The exhibition ONNA – Beauty, Strength, Ecstasy. Japanese Woodcuts and Paintings and from the Collection of the National Museum in Krakow celebrates female beauty as depicted by Japanese masters.

Portraits of women are one of the most important themes in Japanese art, especially popular as ukiyo-e woodcuts – one of the pillars of the culture and customs of the Edo period (1603-1868). At the time, brothels were legal in Japan and courtesans were icons of beauty and objects of desire. Portraits became a popular artform, capturing upper class ladies, poets and girls working at tearooms, as well as actors of the kabuki theatre portraying female roles.

The Main Building of the National Museum in Krakow presents around 120 portraits, mainly from the collection donated by Feliks Jasieński in 1920; authors include the godfather of colour woodcut Suzuki Harunobu, creator of refined compositions Torii Kiyonaga, and populariser of the acclaimed Utagawa school Master Toyokuni. We will also see works by Kitagawa Utamaro representing the golden period of ukiyo-e woodcuts and masters such as Utagawa Kuniyoshi and Katsushika Hokusai. The exhibition also features clothing and everyday objects. (dd)


Other: acceptable for people with disabilities

The Main Building

al. 3 Maja 1

The central phenomena of the Polish art of the 20th century, the history of Polish weaponry and uniforms, a gallery of crafts, and a dozen major temporary exhibitions each year.

The quickly expanding collection of the National Museum, set up in 1879, soon needed space that Kraków did not have at that time. That is why the idea to erect a new building that at the same time would commemorate the many years of efforts to regain Poland’s independence was born early in the 20th century. Immediately after the end of the First World War, already in free Poland, funds for the construction of an appropriate seat began to be raised. The construction of the building by the imposing Aleje Trzech Wieszczów, staked out just two decades earlier, began in 1934. Today, the National Museum in Kraków boasts several branches, with no fewer than three permanent galleries in the Main Building alone. Deposited on the ground floor are the collections of militaria: the exhibition Arms and Uniforms in Poland presents the history of the Polish military from the Middle Ages to the Second World War. The Gallery of Decorative Arts boasts collections of fabrics, goldsmithry, glass, ceramics, furniture, musical instruments, and Judaica that let the visitor trace changes in style from the early Middle Ages to the 20th century. The Gallery of 20th-Century Polish Art presents the chronology and key tendencies in painting, sculpture, printmaking, and photography as created by the Polish artists of the previous century (gallery closed until further notice). The largest temporary exhibitions of the National Museum in Kraków are organised in specially designed halls.

Tickets to permanent galleries: normal PLN 10, concessions PLN 5, family PLN 20, admission free to permanent exhibitions on Sunday

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